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Network and traffic management systems (NTM)

Network and traffic management (NTM) systems are used for the optimisation and management of transport networks’ operation. Bottlenecks across air, rail, road and water can result in system wide capacity constraints, traffic jams and increased pollutant emissions and environmental impacts.

NTM Banner
NTM image, a rail traffic light

The transition towards an advanced multimodal transport system requires better coordinated and organised traffic flows to optimise the entire transport network.

This involves devices to detect real traffic conditions, traffic information sharing, optimisation processes and the distribution of control actions via end user devices.

Digital technologies and the emergence of the connected traveller can influence real time demand by encouraging off peak travel and use of alternative routes through intelligent applications and user information services.

Integrated urban traffic management and mobility information systems can therefore contribute to optimising transport flows both through cities and in rural regions.

The Strategic Transport Research and Innovation Agenda (STRIA) Roadmap for Network and traffic management systems aims to develop an advanced multimodal transport system by effectively optimising the entire transport network across new areas.

Current developments
Mode of Transport icon: road

ROAD.  Investments in cooperative intelligent transport systems and connected driving technologies to improve the flow of road traffic on urban roads requires making progress in the movement of goods and people. This includes better vehicle management (i.e. from conventional to autonomous vehicles), vehicle fuel technologies (i.e. from fossil to alternative fuels), bicycle and vehicle sharing, public transport, walking and cycling, especially in large urban areas.

On extra-urban roads, the requirements are to achieve a safe, efficient and sustainable road transport in order to offer connected mobility, less congestion, fewer accidents, less pollution, improved levels of European wide multimodal travel information services.

Mode of Transport icon: airborne

AIRBORNE. The aviation sector aims to achieve a Single European Sky to improve EU air traffic management.

The sector suffers bottlenecks in hub capacity, management operations and en route coordination of traffic flows between/outside European hubs. There is a need to modernise, harmonise and coordinate air traffic management systems (e.g. better aircraft trajectory and route planning).

Mode of Transport icon: rail

RAIL. The increase of different international and local railway traffic flows requires an improvement in planning and management.

These include improving cross border sections (especially when using different signalling and train operating systems), rail terminals connecting rail with other transport modes (e.g. advanced rail-rail trans shipment yards) and complex and heavily used conventional railway stations for passenger trains in urban areas (e.g. hosting local/high speed/international/freight traffic).

Mode of Transport icon: waterborne

WATERBORNE. Large scale intelligent and interoperable water traffic management and information systems will improve existing and future infrastructure to optimise traffic flows with different vehicles.

Mode of Transport icon: multimodal

MULTIMODAL. Common cross-modal key themes are access to data, streamlining administrative boundaries, flexibility, resilience, and ability to recover from disruptions.

Key research and innovation pathways

The roadmap focuses on ten action areas that will contribute to the optimisation of the European transport network that will help decarbonise the transport sector and meet European Union’s energy and climate targets. The ten priorities will be implemented in three key phases:

NTM icon: design
1 - DESIGN:In the short term, four research and innovation themes will be undertaken by the EU/industry:
  1. Architecture and concept of operations for an efficient, resilient and adaptable multimodal NTM system
  2. Development of multi actor organisational and business models with shared responsibilities
  3. Research and validation of next generation multimodal NTM systems (including intra modal optimisation and development of interfaces)
  4. Integration of infrastructures, vehicles, systems and services into a truly multimodal network
NTM icon: optimisation
2 - OPTIMISATIONIn the medium term, three research and innovation themes will be undertaken by the EU, Member States and industry:
  1. Demand capacity balancing for efficient journey management (passenger and freight)
  2. Calibration of arbitration models for complex NTM scenarios and multi actor settings optimising multiple performance targets and user versus network needs
  3. Traffic optimisation of conventional (semi-)automated and unmanned vehicles within a multi modal NTM system
NTM icon: implementation
3 - IMPLEMENTATION:In the long term, three innovation themes will be undertaken by the EU, Member States and cities and regions:
  1. Large scale demonstration of fully multi modal NTM capability in any operating environment (urban and non-urban)
  2. Resource and asset management optimisation for advanced NTM systems
  3. Research and validation of next generation multimodal NTM systems (including intra modal optimisation and development of interfaces)
  4. Piloting an efficient multimodal NTM system across European hubs/nodes (including the integration of non-EU traffic)

European technology platforms

Large-scale intelligent and interoperable traffic management and information systems are key to maximising the capacity of existing and future infrastructure and optimising traffic flows with different vehicles. The following platforms allow opportunities to improve transport systems:

SESAR The Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research is the collaborative decision-making and system-wide information management proposed for air traffic management.

ERTMS The advanced signalling and Rail Traffic Management System.

SafeSeaNet The Safe and Secure Maritime Traffic Monitoring and Information System.

RIS The Real-Time River Traffic Information System.

C-ITS The Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems.

Galileo The European Global NavigationSatellite System.

Data at-a-glance

TRIMIS Data at-a-glance presents the main transport research and innovation indicators based on TRIMIS data. Find out more about the geographical distribution of European Union transport research and innovation funding, discover the organisations involved in transport research activities and the evolution of funding. Discover the TRIMIS overview for overall data and the seven STRIA Roadmaps.

Further details are available in the full TRIMIS Dashboard.

Number of projects

EU contribution

Distribution of EU contribution

Transport-Related reserach and innovation funding