Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Data Integration Requirements of European Cities for Transport

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

Transport problems in cities are being tackled in the short term through traffic management techniques such as traffic signal control and real-time travel information. They are also being addressed by longer-term transport planning and infrastructure investment. To maximise the cost-effectiveness of these strategies, data needs to be transferred - both between traffic management systems and from these systems to the planning models. At present, little integration exists. This results in inflated data collection costs and planning based on inadequate historic data


The aim of the DIRECT project was to develop a Transport Data Sharing Structure (TDSS), providing software tools and a procedural framework to permit the exchange of information between organisations. This was to provide a first step towards the definition of possible European standards.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


DIRECT made recommendations on the technological, institutional, legal and financial aspects of operating a TDSS, based on case study investigations in Turin, Southampton, Brussels and Rotterdam. These recommendations were then tested on prototype systems in Barcelona (sharing information on park-and-ride facilities between potential users, bus operators, the parking operator and planning authorities) and in Lille (providing interfaces to various existing databases through a 'Mobility Observatory').

The project found that the most cost-effective solution for a TDSS to support transport planning involves providing common access to a set of databases linked through a local network. In contrast, for traffic management applications, the TDSS has to manage connections between distant databases on the Internet.

Non-technical recommendations for setting up and running a TDSS included the need to:

  • create a framework establishing a common goal between the partners, specific responsibilities and a clear leader;
  • establish contracts to ensure that all partners adhere to their promises;
  • establish the position on data liability, data privacy, copyright and the ownership of data in public databases such as traffic information;
  • explore opportunities for funding through Private Public Partnerships and from income gained through sales of data;
  • establish a maintenance plan for the data, as well as clear structures and procedures for operating the TDSS.

Policy implications

At the start of the project, it was envisaged that different stakeholders would co-operate to pool their data in a central database with common access. However, DIRECT subsequently concluded that recent developments in information technology favours distributed architectures that enable each stakeholder to remain in control of their own data. Nevertheless, the sharing and commercial exploitation of public and private data will remain a policy issue that has to be resolved in each application.

The project found that tools and standards for data sharing are best developed for road-based traffic management. The benefits of real-time data sharing will not be fully realised until other modes can be integrated. This is likely to require the development of new standards for data elements, which may emerge particularly from work on web-based applications.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!