Towards a common framework for urban ITS: report from the OPTICITIES tutorial session

  • knowledge society
  • mobility

The first OPTICITIES tutorial session presented the mid term results of the project, with a particular focus on the open intelligent transport systems (ITS) and standardisation processes. The session took place on 4 October alongside the ITS World Congress in Bordeaux.

Yanying Li from ERTICO moderated the session, which was opened by Patrick Mercier-Handisyde of European Commission DG RESEARCH. He stressed the ambitious character and strategic importance of OPTICITIES for the deployment of a common European framework for urban ITS.

After introducing the project scope, objectives and partnership, project coordinator Jean Coldefy from Grand Lyon, presented the main challenges related to urban data access policies and contractual arrangements. He explained how cities can create favourable conditions for start-ups and SMEs that want to build multimodal information services based on a sustainable business case. Since the ITS market is currently dominated by major international internet companies and railway operators, one of the conclusions was that there is a need for national and European legislation that allows for fair competition.

Jorge Alfonso Kurano from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid introduced the conceptual framework of the OPTICITIES multimodal dataset. Collecting and combining multimodal data at urban level and making these available via a common architecture and interface sounds fairly straightforward, but when looking at the practical details there are still many obstacles to overcome. Not only are there a wide range of transport operators, service providers, data types and contractual arrangements at local level, we also have to take into account that each city has its own unique ITS ecosystem. OPTICITIES therefore set out by identifying complementary datasets linked to relevant use cases and transport services in its six partner cities. It then grouped these into a data categorisation proposal, which will form the basis of a common multimodal urban mobility database model.

Christophe Duquesne from AURIGE explained in more detail how, thanks to a well organised project team and collaboration with ISO and CEN, OPTICITIES directly contributes to the ITS standardisation process at European and international level. This will eventually result in an extension of the GDF (Geographic Data Files) standard connecting public transport services with road infrastructure, and the adoption of TRANSMODEL (European Reference Data Model for Public Transport Information) at ISO level. In addition, OPTICITIES has been formally selected as a CEN reference project in the field of urban ITS.

To conclude the first OPTICITIES tutorial session, Jean-Laurent Franchineau from VEDECOM introduced an API (application programming interface) that was recently developed within the scope of the project. This enables fully integrated service continuity between in-car GPS and multimodal travel apps. As demonstrated in the video on the OPTICITIES YouTube channel, it allows car navigation systems to automatically synchronise their destination with the smartphone destination, receive messages from the smartphone as pop-ups, and return the instructions of the user. The development of the API and the proposed specifications for future cars could be of huge importance for the car industry and for the promotion of multimodal travel in general, as it is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can seamlessly replace the original car navigation system and allows for full integration of multimodal journey information inside the car navigation app.

You can view the presentations from the first OPTICITIES tutorial session by registering for the Online Stakeholder Forum, where you can also download, consult and comment on the detailed technical reports related to the project’s activities. The next tutorial sessions, combined with site visits, will be take place in 2016 in Lyon (March), Madrid (April), Gothenburg (May), and Birmingham (June, connected to European ITS Conference in Glasgow).

More information:

PICTURE: OPTICITIES presentation team at the Tutorial Session in Bordeaux - From left to right: Jorge Alfonso Kurano (UPM), Christophe Duquesne (AURIGE), Patrick Mercier Handisyde (EC - DG RESEARCH), Jean Coldefy (Grand Lyon), Yanying Li (ERTICO), Peter Staelens (EUROCITIES), Jean-Laurent Franchineau (VEDECOM)

EUROCITIES staff contact

Peter Staelens