Traffic information systems, in conjunction with traffic management systems, can assist in reducing several negative aspects of road transport such as accidents, congestion and pollution by providing information and guidance for safer, more efficient and more environmental friendly use of the road transport infrastructure. In general, such applications permit a higher level of traffic intensity and decrease average travel times. Environmental impacts, in the form of emissions and fuel consumption are subsequently reduced by avoiding unnecessary driving. Moreover, the provision of accurate and timely information can significantly improve traffic safety, preventing drivers to be involved in hazardous situations.
An increasing number of information and communication technologies have provided the means for numerous applications of pre-trip and on-trip traveller and driver information, allowing a growing flow of information addressed at the driver and the traveller. However, the driver's exposition to increasing amounts of traffic information can often result in an information overload and, since not all information is necessarily useful, may distract the driver’s attention and can even become a safety hazard. In addition, since most traffic information systems are planned taking into account almost exclusively local user requirements, the needs of other travellers, and especially foreigners, are not dealt with sufficiently (e.g. messages in local language).
It is apparent that the design and implementation of traffic information systems should follow a more uniform process at a European level, especially in the context of the Trans-European Networks. Thus there is a need for an assessment of user needs at this level, aiming at the formulation of guidelines that will facilitate the development of efficient systems that will meet the needs of a wider range of users, including foreign, elderly & disabled and professional drivers. Such guidelines can only be developed at a European level, in order for European standards to be created and relevant EU policies in the context of the Common Transport Policy
The main objectives of TRAVEL-GUIDE were, to:
- Develop guidelines for traffic related information provision by in car and infrastructure based systems.
- Assess the information needs of the end-users with respect to:
o Content and presentation
o Availability and reliability
o Timing and priority
- Test new information provision methods.
Main innovative aspects of the project are the following:
- Assessment of the information needs of drivers, taking into account particular driver groups (especially travellers that are not familiar with the environment such as foreigners).
- Development of guidelines concerning the content, presentation, timing and priority of traffic information.
- Development and testing of new information provision methods that will attribute different interaction elements to different types of information to the driver, taking into account the overall processing capacities of the driver at any given time.
- Development of guidelines for road operators, authorities, information providers and system manufacturers on information provision to the driver for a wide range of driver aids.
- Improvement of the validity and reliability of traffic information and development of methods for the drivers/ users to provide feedback to the information provider.
- Investigation of measures of encouragement for the development of relevant market applications through the co-operation of road operators & authorities, information providers and system manufacturers.
Initially a review of existing and prospective: traffic information systems and services, traffic management systems, schemes of co-operation between the previous two families of systems and human – machine interfaces concerning the provision of information, has been performed. Issues such as, foreign drivers and inter-border travel, the reliability of TI systems the integration of data exchange among traffic centres, safety related services, the financing problem of the investments have been also examined.
Next an identification of gaps and priorities for future research and development was made for the above issues. An evaluation methodology tailored to the TRAVEL-GUIDE pilots and not as a description of an evaluation framework applicable to the evaluation of TIS in general, has been produced, although some aspects can certainly be considered universal.
The evaluation criteria outlined are useful for evaluation methodologies of other projects as long as the same impact area, is of interest. Concerning the development of new methods for integrated driver information provision, as the number of gaps and inefficiencies identified is rather large, priorities for further research have been selected, and investigated in next steps of the project.
• 8 pilot studies in total have been performed by the TRAVEL-GUIDE partners. Investigating different issues and problems. The pilots have taken the form of design guidelines and their descriptions are presented in Annex I. These are the main results of the project and are not repeated in this section due to their extensive number and text size.
• Each guideline is presented in a format containing specific fields such as:
- target groups,
- short title,
- problem identified,
- testing verifications,
- suggestions for further research and remarks.
In total 63 guidelines have been produced. The full descriptions of guidelines as well as the other data field are presented in D7.
Pre-trip information systems?
Most web-based route recommendations are still static. Integration of real-time traffic information for web-based dynamic pre-trip information provision has to be extended. The on-line route builder se
Funding of generally cost-intensive traffic management systems is a crucial issue. For making investments feasible partnerships and alternative ways of funding are important. Alliances between private and public operators have to bring alternative financial resources for the implementation and maintenance of traffic management systems to the traffic sector.
As a consequence there is a need for a general policy framework-facilitating co-operation between traffic information and traffic management systems as well as the co-operation between all actors involved. As the preconditions in different countries and areas vary they should be taken into consideration.
The TI/TM Market is still not very well established and rather new; therefore specific client cohorts (i.e. E&D) have not yet received extra support. However, tests (i.e. performed in the Netherlands by RUG) have proved that elderly drivers seem to appreciate traffic info and route guidance much more than young ones. From the discussion also it became evident that although some work has been performed on information layout that is appropriate for all, there is no particular information content for any driver cohort yet. There is a clear need for dynamically updated systems, that are able to follow the user throughout his/her travel and update all relevant info. One possible such system may come from NOKIA PTA evolution. Relevant efforts have also been made in the German national project MOTIV and the new project MOBIN.
As the driver can’t use his/her PTA while driving, this system should be connected to in-vehicle devices (i.e. navigation or route guidance system). Such an interface does not exist in the Market yet, thus PTA’s are mainly used by travellers and not by drivers. Few inter-border TI systems exit (i.e. between Cologne and the Netherlands). However some TM centres seem to reject the aim of total information coverage by TI systems and even further inter-border emphasis.
The reasoning behind it is that VMS’es are needed to cover critical spots and not the whole network (true also for other TI systems). And critical spots are not necessarily around country borders. Instead some critical corridors, including the relevant country borders, should be considered. INFOTEN has worked on the issue of inter-border information exchange in such corridors and TRIDENT establi