It has been estimated that transport telematics infrastructure developments could, over a ten year period, create a potential market of €1 billion to equip 20.000 km of European motorways; €1 billion to equip 85 European cities; and the market for in-vehicle equipment could reach €6 billion a year
For all modes of transport, Europe has started implementing an overall strategic programme for the deployment of telematics infrastructure.
Major decisions or resolutions approved by the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament have been of great significance for the future on subjects including the Trans-European Networks, the Global Navigation Satellite System, Road Transport Telematics and the European Integrated Services Digital Networks.
Already real systems are operational in Europe, for example, in the Paris metropolitan region, there are over 375 real-time traffic information display panels operational covering 500 km of motorways, 70 km of Ring Road and 300 km of main city arterials, providing information to thousands of users every day.
When it comes to telematics sales, however, Europe is lagging behind compared to the US and Japan. Even though the introduction of telematics took place at roughly the same time, mid to late 1990s, vehicle manufacturers in Europe only achieve about a one per cent annual fitment rate for telematics, whereas the rate for the US exceedes 15 per cent and the figure for Japan is nearly ten per cent.
The European Community is only one of the parties involved in the implementation of transport telematics. The private sector, operators, consumer and industry groups, academia, and regional and local governments are important players in the implementation.
National, regional and local authorities
Traditionally the authorities' role has been to invest in capital infrastructure for transportation (highways, railways, ports and airports) and set the regulatory framework within which transport operations can take place safely and efficiently. Member States today are encouraged to explore the role of the private sector in providing services in areas that were previously in the public domain, investigate ways to encourage greater private provision of services, and identify undesirable and unnecessary government constraints on private sector participation.
The authorities will, however, continue to exert their influence on the transport sector, and the speed of take up of the new technologies will depend in part on whether they can be convinced of its potential. In addition, they may have to continue support for projects in areas socially desirable but not offering an appropriate return on investment. The technology is there to support transport operations and to give effect to policies that will promote economic efficiency, not as an end in itself.
Building on a stable regulatory framework, Member States, regional and local authorities will remain responsible for the main decisions concerning deployment of telematics. It has been usual for the authorities to be responsible for specifying and procuring appropriate traffic control systems. As technology is developing rapidly contracts for telematics systems will increasingly be let on a ‘design, build and operate’ basis. Self-certification and other existing quality control procedures may therefore need strengthening to ensure satisfactory service standards and generally to safeguard the public interest. However, these safeguards must be non-discriminatory and give an equal chance for tenderers from different parts of the community.
New mechanisms have to be explored for promoting greater co-ordination among the many communities and agencies that will continue to provide transportation services. At the same time, there is a need to strengthen the technical resources of the local governments to deploy and operate new systems. The introduction of new technologies will require new and more complex skills, as well as new organisational missions.
Although the public sector may retain the final responsibility for a number of transportation services, the provision of many may be contracted out to the private sector. In some cases, private companies will provide these services as a franchised public utility; in other cases they will do so without any special permission from the government concerned.
In future, partnerships in the fields of planning, deployment, organisation, investment, and operation of telematics applications will play a key part in the successful implementation of customer oriented services for the benefit of the users of the transport sector, by sharing the risks and reducing innovation times.
To achieve this the public sector needs to create an environment where the private sector can develop new products and services. It may also involve the authorities in innovative procurement that can serve both public and private sector objectives.