Service Improvements on the Major TEN-T Road Axes in Europe
URSA MAJOR 2 (UM2) is an initiative focussing on freight traffic on the TEN-T road network in a corridor linking North-Sea ports with the Ruhr / Rhine area and metropolitan areas in southern Germany, Northern Italy and the Mediterranean, across the freight sensitive Alps crossings in Austria and Switzerland. UM2 members are the relevant road operators from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Switzerland and Austria are included in their capacity as transit countries.
The UM2 corridor represents one of the major TEN-T road axes in Europe. With a total network length of 8700 km it has an average traffic load (average daily traffic – ADT) of 56000 vehicles of which on an ordinary working day 22% (12300) are goods vehicles. According to projections produced for the German motorway scheme the freight traffic volume is expected to grow by 55 % between 2007 and 2025. In total approx. Today, 27 Billion ton kilometres are transported over the corridor.
Improving services for international freight traffic along the mentioned corridors is the main European Added Value of UM2. International freight between EU Member States is one of the main pillars for a Single Europe.
ITS deployments covered by UM2 address at least one of the following topics:
- Enhancement of truck parking services
- Support for truck navigation services
- Remove bottlenecks and congestion
- Safety improvements for freight transport on the TENT-T road
Services in the Spotlight
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are a cost-effective way of reducing traffic problems (typical benefit to cost ratio of 5 or better). UM2 deploys ITS services to reduce major obstacles for international freight traffic. Road operators and road authorities in UM2 join forces to:
- Implement the “Intelligent Truck Parking” core service for safe and secure parking places according to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 885/2013 and the and the corresponding ITS Deployment Guideline
- Provide the basis for enhanced truck navigation services with valuable and reliable information on travel conditions on the UM2 corridor network (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 886/2013 and No 962/2015)
- Increase the level of ITS services’ support for freight traffic by filling traffic management gaps in the network
UM2 provides direct user benefits to international truck drivers and hauliers (better truck parking, better navigation, less delays and less uncertainties). It also strengthens the European economy through faster and more reliable transport of goods through Europe.
Effective ITS Deployments
Regarding ITS Deployments, the project partners cooperate to deploy ITS services on their TEN-T roads that specifically support international freight traffic. The investments include roadside equipment as well as improvements of traffic centre components and services. In particular, the UM partner Switzerland also deploys UM related ITS services and participates in and contributes significantly to the dissemination and harmonisation activities of URSA MAJOR.
Wide-spread Dissemination of Results
Freight related ITS deployments made in URSA MAJOR are often the first examples of their kind, with many more expected in the (near) future. Hence, UM2 aims in promoting project results especially outside the project community. UM2 reports on each of its deployment activities (experiences included) providing a large amount of best practice input to be used in and outside for example to the EU EIP monitoring and dissemination activity.
A special focus is the contact and the cooperation with the freight transport sector. The contacts established in UM1 will be strengthened and identified working items further elaborated. This enables UM2 road operators to better tailor the ITS Services to the needs of the freight transport sector. The successful UM2 Stakeholder Cooperation Workshop on 28th April 2016 is a very good example. During the Action, URSA MAJOR Partners, in conjunction with the EU ITS Platform, will participate at other international events where the results of EU ITS Platform or Deployment Corridor projects will be presented and exchanged. Furthermore they are interested to learn from other road operator experiences and to foster cooperation toward harmonisation of ITS in Europe. UM2 partners are sharing gathered knowledge and experience amongst the cooperating partners.
URSA MAJOR also contributes to the European wide dissemination of such knowledge, experiences and the evaluation results by making the technical reports publicly available and easily accessible in a digital form. Main communication tool of the action is the well-established URSA MAJOR Website.
From the view of data coding, the most current version of DATEX II, version 2.3 (from Dec. 2014) is covering Truck Parking information now (to become CEN/TS 19157-6 shortly), which allows UM2 to get fully compliant with this standard. Continuing the work of UM1, the need for possible further DATEX II profiles is currently being analysed. Existing profiles are checked regarding their acceptance and relevance to finally obtain a mature set of DATEX II profiles.
Based on the advice of URSA MAJOR on where extra Traffic Management Plans (TMP) could have an added value, the work to develop and operate such TMPs has been started. One concrete TMP that has been developed is a rerouting TMP between the South of Germany and Switzerland, with a possible extension to Italy. Another one will be a specific freight transport TMP, which – in case of temporary road or tunnel closures or national cross border holidays – will recommend to truck drivers to wait at specific truck storage areas until the disturbance is resolved. The underlying template that has been developed is now published on the UM website, ready to use by all EU road operators. To increase the chance that truck drivers actually follow the advice given in the TMP for long distance freight transport, contacts with the freight industry will be extended to gain more insight in their decision-making processes and the best ways to address the truck drivers.
Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) services gain importance especially for freight traffic by informing the truck driver early in time on incidents on their (original) route. Choosing a long-range alternative route often does not require additional time and fuel resources if the information is available early enough in time.
Providing RTTI strengthens the relevance of traffic related services for end users. UM2 analyses the type and extent of RTTI interfaces to navigation services and gives recommendations on their technical design, for example by providing DATEX II profiles. The range of information covers incidents, travel times, congestion information and (re-)routing information.
UM2 will evaluate UM1 and UM2 projects by using KPI recommended by EU EIP. The focus will be on the impact on mobility as e.g. reduced congestion, improved safety and user acceptance. Additionally UM2 intends to analyse and evaluate corridor wide Floating Car Data from commercial data providers as a complement measure. This data allows estimating the current congestion situation for the entire corridor and its daily and seasonal variability and helps prioritising conflicting traffic management measures. Since this data is organised section wise, the processing will be supported by a GIS-based tool. This new approach will deliver indicators for the whole corridor on a harmonised database and will lead to new insights into the potential of wide area and long distance approaches. It will have a pilot function and also help assessing the benefits coming from purchasing data instead of producing it through road operators own systems.
Interesting Events & Facts
To exploit the UM2 harmonisation results and at the same time promote best practice, the following series of dedicated workshops were and will be conducted:
- April 2016 Stakeholder Workshop (results available)
- May 2017 DATEX II Stakeholder Workshop
- December 2017 UM2 Capitalisation workshop
Deployment-wise UM2 has planned to reach the following deployment indicators:
- 1150 parking spaces equipped with ITP-Services until end of 2016
- 79 VMS installed until the end of 2016
- 120 parking spaces equipped with ITP-Services in 2017
- 310 detection units installed until the end of 2017
- 261 VMS installed in 2017