Within the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Priority, Field Operational Tests (FOT) were the subject of one of the first calls in Challenge 6: ICT for Mobility, Environmental Sustainability and Energy. The FOTs comprised of a comprehensive programme of research to assess the impacts of ICT systems on driver behaviour, both in terms of individual (safety) benefits and larger scale socio-economic benefits.
The objectives of FESTA were:
- To validate the effectiveness of ICT based systems and functions for safer, cleaner and more efficient transport in a real environment.
- To analyse driver behaviour and user acceptance of the systems.
- To analyse and assess the impact of intelligent safety and efficiency functions using real data.
- To improve awareness on the potential of intelligent transport systems and create socio economic acceptance.
- To obtain technical data for system design and product development.
- To ensure the transferability of the FOT results to the overall European and global conditions.
The FESTA Support Action was a vital step in the realisation of scientifically robust and efficiently run Field Operational Tests which aimed to evaluate key ICT functions. A consortium of European experts with a wide range of skills was formed to allow the development of a 'best-practice' handbook which set out to guide the design and implementation of an FOT. The consortium involved the participation of academic institutes and national research laboratories, vehicle manufacturers and system providers, along with representatives of national road authorities.
This allowed the dovetailing of scientific integrity and practical considerations. This Support Action considered the whole lifecycle of an FOT, from the analysis of stakeholders' needs, the choice of behavioural and other (performance and individual) indicators, the methods by which they are measured (data acquisition), and analysed, reported and integrated and legal, ethical and procedural considerations. In addition, a whole range of ICT functions were considered, ranging from vehicle systems (e.g. collision warning systems), cooperative systems (e.g. traffic management systems) and nomadic devices such as driver information systems.
Running alongside the standard management functions, was the development of two key workshops to involve wider participation of stakeholders. They provided the opportunity to undertake needs analyses and dissemination activities. The potential for exploitation of the results and outputs of the FESTA Support Action were high, given the specific EC call for FOTs in the near future.
FESTA developed a best practice handbook. The handbook provides applicants to subsequent Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) calls, practical guidance to allow them to develop compelling Field Operational Tests (FOT) projects that address the Commission’s desire for an integrated and coordinated programme of research. The handbook covers issues concerning all aspects of the time-line and administration of an FOT, such that advice is provided regarding aspects from needs analysis at the commencement of an FOT all the way through to the integration of the acquired data and estimation of socio-economic benefits at the end.
- An efficient and integrated mobility system
- Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour
The handbook is ready for implementation.