ITS: A European perspective

ITS: A European perspective
Smart city is a growingly popular concept across the globe. Throughout the world cities are making themselves smarter to enrich the quality of life of residents. Needless to say, a critical element of any smart city is transportation, and this is where intelligent transportation system (ITS) initiatives and solutions play an important part. Increasingly, Europe is making progress in this regard as municipal administrators seek to reduce road congestion, increase safety and reduce pollution.
 
Globally, the smart city concept is taking hold more and more each day, amid rapid urbanization across the world. Benefits of smart cities are manifold. Internally, smart city projects make lives easier for residents as they wait for buses, park or pay energy bills. Externally, cities that are smart can better promote themselves internationally and attract international tourists.
 
A recent report by MarketsandMarkets corroborates the popularity of the smart city trend. The study forecasted the smart city market size is expected to grow from US$424.7 billion in 2017 to $1.2 trillion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of 23.1, citing growing demography and hyper-urbanization, as well as rapid connectivity and fast telecommunication provision, as the main growth drivers. “Successful implementation of smart city projects heavily depends on the technologies – data communications, cloud, mobility, and sensors that altogether form the IoT ecosystem. These technologies lay the foundation for smart city projects,” the report said. “Fast developments in these areas, in recent years, have enabled better connectivity of objects resulting into the complete development of smarter ecosystems.”
 

Intelligent transportation systems

 
A critical element of any smart city initiative is smart transportation, which helps resolve the common and painful transportation issues that residents face every day, including highway/roadway congestion, difficulty in finding parking spaces and not knowing when the next train or bus will come. In this regard, city administrators can be greatly helped by intelligent transportation systems (ITS), which leverage information communication technologies to enhance traffic management, making roads and streets safer and easier to use.
 
“By 2020, it’s estimated that 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities and as such, ‘urban metabolism’ has to improve; infrastructure needs to be smarter. And when it comes to urban services, few are more vital than transport. Enabling smarter transport networks, where disparate modes of transport and management systems are connected and converged, is essential to meeting smart city objectives,” wrote Synectics in a recent whitepaper titled “Smart Transport Networks: Integration, Interoperability, and IoT.” “For cities that offer smart transport networks, they benefit by getting a boost in tourism and employment, while seeing their cities become greener and cleaner due to lower energy use and emissions.”
 
Growth in the ITS sector is not to be ignored, either. According to a report by Research and Markets, the ITS market is estimated to witness a growth at a CAGR of 7.9 percent over the period of 2017 to 2022. “The overall demand for intelligent transportation systems is increasing significantly owing to factors such as growing demand for vehicles and rising urbanization leading to space congestion within the city limits. This has led to the requirement of more sophisticated infrastructure and advanced systems to manage traffic and space scarcity,” it said.
 

A European perspective

 
When it comes to ITS, Europe has made significant strides, using IoT and data generated by connected devices to solve some of the problems affecting residents, including congestion and pollution. Examples are numerous, for example dynamic speed limits enforced on highways and roadways based on the traffic flow at the time, as well as using real-time data collected by sensors to help operators reroute traffic or do related planning. “Transportation is a key factor for the economic growth of European Union, and solutions for safer highways and roadways minimize the cost of transportations and maximize safety,” said Evangelos Mitsakis, Senior Researcher for Transportation at the Center for Research and Technology Hellas. “Moreover, ITS can support the supply chain and also other sectors of market, for example tourism, agricultural production and product exports. ITS technologies also enable better route planning and mileage savings, with the optimal utilization of the fleet of vehicles, through collaborative schedules and updates on traffic conditions.”
 
In fact, ITS has gained such importance in Europe that the European Commission is playing a direct role. “Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are vital to increase safety and tackle Europe's growing emission and congestion problems. They can make transport safer, more efficient and more sustainable by applying various information and communication technologies to all modes of passenger and freight transport,” the commission said on its website. “The European Commission is working with Member States, industry and public authorities to find common solutions to the various bottlenecks for deployment. Through financial instruments the European Commission supports innovative projects in ITS and through legislative instruments it ensures that ITS are rolled out consistently.”
 
According to EC, in the coming years, the digitalization of transport in general and ITS in particular are expected to take a leap forwards. “As part of the Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission aims to make more use of ITS solutions to achieve a more efficient management of the transport network for passengers and business,” it said. “ITS will be used to improve journeys and operations on specific and combined modes of transport. The European Commission also works to set the ground for the next generation of ITS solutions, through the deployment of Cooperative-ITS, paving the way for automation in the transport sector. C-ITS are systems that allow effective data exchange through wireless technologies so that vehicles can connect with each other, with the road infrastructure and with other road users.”
 
By country, a report by KBV Research said Germany is expected to generate revenue of $4.2 billion by 2022, while Italy is expected to register a CAGR of 9.9 percent from 2016 to 2022, by which time its ITS market value will be $978 million. UK and France, meanwhile, will see CAGR of 6.6 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively, during that timeframe, the report said.


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