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1.4 Road Transportation

Among the challenges facing the transportation sector today, the following are the most important ones that pertain to road transportation:

• High congestion levels already seriously affect road transportation in several Member States, while by 2030 it is expected to obstruct the inter-urban network as well.

• The share of CO2 emissions from EU transportation as a proportion of all EU emissions continues increasing and road transportation accounts for 82 % of the energy consumption of the transportation sector.

• Whilst road fatalities are in regression their number is still unacceptably high.

A number of initiatives have been taken by the EC to address them. The deployment of ITS, the revision of the maximum authorised dimensions and weights for HDVs and the recently adopted strategy for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are the most interesting among them.

1.4.1 Deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems

ICT systems play a key role in the development and evolution of transportation operations, as they identify and alleviate bottlenecks and release latent demand and supply for transportation services exploiting in full the capacity of infrastructure, vehicles and equipment. In this respect, they improve the efficiency of using the transportation infrastructure and equipment, reduce transportation costs, improve the quality of transportation services, and enhance the environmental sustainability of the sector through improved traffic management, reduced congestion and emissions, optimised operations, lower externalities etc.

In 2008, the EC adopted its Action plan for the deployment of Intelligent

Transport Systems in Europe to create the momentum necessary to speed up market penetration of rather mature ITS applications and services in Europe. It was prepared on the basis of input provided by a wide consultation of stakeholders. Traffic management, congestion relief on freight corridors and in cities, promotion of co-modality, in-vehicle safety systems, real time traffic and travel information and an open in-vehicle platform to integrate applications were among the priority issues identified.

The Action Plan outlined the following six priority areas for action:

Action Area 1. Optimal use of road, traffic and travel data

Action Area 2. Continuity of traffic and freight management ITS services on European transport corridors and in conurbations

Action Area 3. Road safety and security

Action Area 4. Integration of the vehicle into the transportation infrastructure Action Area 5. Data security and protection, and liability issues

Action Area 6. European ITS cooperation and coordination.

As a result of this Action Plan, Directive 2010/40/EU establishing a framework for the deployment of ITS in the field of road transportation (the 'ITS Directive') was adopted on 7 July 2010 to accelerate the deployment of these innovative applications across Europe (EP&C, 2010b). Aiming to establish interoperable and seamless ITS services while leaving Member States the freedom to decide which systems to invest in, it is an important instrument for the coordinated implementation of ITS in Europe.

Under the ITS Directive, the EC has to adopt within 7 years specifications

(i.e. functional, technical, organizational or services provisions) to address the compatibility, interoperability and continuity of ITS solutions across the EU. The first priorities are traffic and travel information, the e-Call emergency system and intelligent truck parking.

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