In the past few years, road safety has gradually increased in the EU, with this trend likely to continue in the future. Despite improvements however, the number of deaths and injuries remains unacceptably high. In the EU 25, every year more than 40 000 people die and many more are injured in 1.4 million accidents , with an annual cost of €200 billion - 2% of EU GDP. These issues, when compounded, call for drastic road safety measures.
The 2001 White Paper 'European Transport Policy for 2010: Time to Decide' set out the ambitious target of halving the number of road fatalities by 2010. This required a rapid increase in the efforts of all safety stakeholders. To coordinate these efforts and aim toward this target, the European Commission officially launched the eSafety initiative in April 2002.
eSafety brought together the European Commission, industry and other stakeholders to accelerate the development, deployment and use of Intelligent Integrated Safety Systems that use information and communication technologies, in order to increase road safety and reduce the number of accidents on Europe's roads.
The key eSafety Stakeholders involved, were:
- European Commission
- Member States
- Road and safety authorities
- Automotive industry
- Telecommunications industry
- Service providers
- User organisations
- Insurance industry
- Technology providers
- Research organisations
- Road operators.
The eScope project was a Specific Support Action that supported the eSafety initiative by establishing an 'eSafety Observatory'. The project intended to monitor and stimulate eSafety Initiative progress and aimed at being an easily accessible and up-to-date source of information about priority eSafety topics.
The eSafety project comprised three main activities aimed at mobilising the commitment of the eSafety community:
- Monitoring progress on implementation of the 28 eSafety priority recommendations and of the eSafety Road Maps that were agreed upon;
- Overview of European results on eSafety priority topics;
- Awareness and dissemination.
The aim of eScope was to collect information from the large number of ongoing eSafety activities and to provide the support for a thorough dissemination of this material. eScope also monitored the progress towards implementation of the 28 priority recommendations of the eSafety initiative, and verified achievements related to the Road Maps. eScope actively contributed to the implementation of the actions determined by the eSafety Forum, by ensuring that the appropriate people were informed at the right time and by monitoring that necessary follow-up actions took place. eScope promoted and facilitated the dissemination, transfer, assessment and exploitation of eSafety Forum results. eScope assisted in indicating areas that may need future research and technical development (RTD) activities or collaboration opportunities, in coordination with the eSafety working groups.
One key task in the project was to track and demonstrate progress against targets, benchmarks or milestones set by the Forum. The aim was to encourage progress in achieving results.
The activities monitored by eScope were:
- The eSafety Forum
- Plenary Meetings
- High Level Meetings
- Steering Group Meetings
- Working Group Meetings
- European R&D
- National programmes and activities
- Industry activities
- European Commission activities
- eSafety experts
eScope mainly focussed on eCall as this constituted the main policy priority from the eSafety Forum in 2005. The eSafety Observatory was used by the main stakeholders as one of the key providers of eSafety 'state-of-the-art' information, background documents, links, and contacts. It also acted as the main dissemination tool of eSafety policy initiatives and was present with eSafety information at stands during major eSafety events throughout the year. The Observatory acted on requests from the users in relation to uploading of information to the website and towards providing cross-references between Forum activities in cooperation with the European Commission. Close contact between eScope an the Working Group chairs, projects and Member States resulted in quick access to information about national and European activities which was updated to the website and used to track the progress of the 28 Recommendations.
The guidelines for the work in 2005 were established by the eScope Advisory Group, the eScope Observers and the European Commission. No fixed frame was created concerning the activities of the Observatory. The strategy was to provide a flexible tool that reacted to the changing needs of the eSafety stakeholders of the Forum.
The Observatory maintained a full independence from any sectors or any political interests. This was the main priority in the strategy for the project, in order to obtain strong objectivity in the information flow and to maintain the support of all players.
The aim of the Accident Causation Data Working Group (WG) helped establish more effective, homogenous European information on the causes of accidents. It published its final report, including recommendations for further actions, in December 2004.
The Human Machine Interaction WG identified the HMI-related concerns relevant to the introduction of invehicle eSafety systems. Its starting point was the European Statement of Principles (ESoP) on human-machine interface for safe and efficient in-vehicle information and communication systems issued in 2000. One of HMI's major concerns was the introduction of nomadic devices in vehicles, whose use greatly increased since the ESoP's release. In February 2005, the WG finalised a detailed document on HMI, describing the responsibilities between stakeholders and identifying the differences between principles on installation, information presentation, design of interaction, and systems behaviour. A new draft version of the ESoP was also published in 2005 and the
eScope strengthened the critical link to national, regional and sectoral activities contributing to the eSafety initiative as well as to EC funded projects.