The North European Cross-border ITS – NEXT-ITS – corridor covers the Northern part of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean CEF corridor from Oslo and the Finnish-Russian border in the north via Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Bremen to Hanover in Germany. The NEXT-ITS project aims at improving the performance, in terms of efficiency, reliability, environmental impact, safety and security, through coordinated deployment of Core European Traffic Information Services in response to the Priority Actions b) and c) of the ITS Directive.
During the last 10-15 years the traffic load has increased considerably on the corridor and in particular the presence of Heavy Goods Vehicles, caused by the opening of the market (increasing trade) and the economic growth in the region and in its neighbouring regions. This increased traffic load and extensive presence of HGVs, makes the corridor vulnerable to disturbances. The road network of the sparsely populated areas of Northern Europe offer limited possibilities to alternative routes and large parts of the network is subject to recurring hard weather conditions in particular wintertime. All together, the current and expected situation call for intense work on the establishment of an integrated road transport information and management system based on the provision of ITS services that will provide road users with a reliable network.
The aim of the NEXT-ITS project is to establish the organizational and technical framework required for this and to carry out actions that will put seamless, harmonized and interoperable ITS services in operation on the defined corridor in order to ensure a seamless and sustainable transport network that connects with other European regions.
NEXT-ITS carries out the actions that together provide the best value in terms of filling the gaps between today´s situation and the identified needs in relation to the Priority Actions b) and c) of the ITS Directive. The Services covered in NEXT-ITS are:
- Safety related information service
- Temporary slippery road
- Animal/people/obstacles/debris on the road
- Unprotected accident area
- Short term road works
- Reduced visibility
- Unmanaged blockage of a road
- Exceptional weather conditions
- Real-time traffic information
- Traffic condition information
- Travel time information
- Weather information
The project is in itself aimed at deployment in support of service provision and the NEXT-ITS partners have identified actions that:
Improve the quality of services through higher quality of data
This is achieved through improved data management in Traffic Centres and adding new and innovative ways to acquire additional and complementary data.
Extend the coverage of services along the corridor – Filling gaps in service provision
As can be seen in the current status description, the availability to services meeting the Minimum Level of Service requirements differs a lot along the corridor. Attention is given to extending the service to cover sections with particular needs; critical spot, urban interfaces etc.
Extend the network of sensors along the corridor
Within the NEXT-ITS region, and with focus on corridor reliability and efficiency, much attention is given to upgrade and extension of the road weather monitoring facilities along the corridor.
Provide additional channels to deliver services to users
The Scandinavian – Mediterranean CEF corridor is already fairly well covered by services in its Northern sections, but as users behaviour change new means to deliver services are needed which means that e.g. app-based and extended internet services to include mobile users have to be developed. On certain urban sections of the corridor efforts are also required to improve road-side information channels, e.g. through the use of VMS panels, to provide timely information in accordance with the requirements from the ITS Directive.
The actions included in NEXT-ITS, defined as measures, will fill gaps concerning coverage, accessibility, dissemination, quality and content of ITS Core Services on the corridor, and thereby contribute with efforts to build an European integrated road transport system. The project also contribute to knowledge development and actively engage in the work in EIP and EIP+ aiming at European harmonization and knowledge building, e.g. through project impact evaluations and experiences from the use of EasyWay Deployment Guidelines.