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SOCRATES2.0: Smart traffic information and navigation services


SOCRATES2.0 implements new “Intermediary” role in pilots with traffic information and navigation services

The public and private partners in the European project SOCRATES2.0 develop and test various smart traffic information and navigation services for road users, such as optimized navigation advice at major events and road works. The challenge is not only the technical realization of the services, but also lies in the cooperation. In order to shape the cooperation, six cooperation models have been developed, in which the role of the so-called “Intermediary” as a completely new function is implemented.

Based on a shared vision, the partners in SOCRATES2.0 have already developed a theoretical “Framework for public-private cooperation in traffic management”. In this phase of the project the partners covered the tactical level of cooperation by specifying the framework for the four SOCRATES2.0 pilots. The framework describes various cooperation models, from simple to very complex. The more complex the cooperation, the more intermediary roles have to be implemented.

The so-called Intermediary consists of a maximum of 4 clusters of tasks:

  1. The Strategy Table:
    The Strategy Table provides the frameworks and preconditions and the “toolbox” to be used for interactive traffic management in the form of a network vision, associated KPIs and traffic management and information services to be applied. The table is provided as a consultation structure, where the actual staffing consists of representatives of public and private partners.
  2. The Network Monitor:
    On the basis of all available data, the network monitor develops the best picture of the current traffic situation (current common truth) and a short-term traffic forecast (predicted common truth). For this purpose, data is collected, tested for quality, fused and completed. The best picture of the current and expected traffic situation is used to determine the set of measures proposed by the Network Manager (see below) to road authorities and service providers (so-called service requests).
  3. The Network Manager:
    The task of the Network Manager is – with input from the Network Monitor and according to the agreements made in the Strategy Table – to determine the most suitable services at that time and to make service requests for this to both the traffic centers and the service providers. It is foreseen that the tasks of the Network Manager are automated as much as possible, with regular monitoring of the functioning.
  4. The Assessor:
    The Assessor monitors whether the service requests have actually been converted into actual deployment of the requested services by the parties and assesses the impact of these measures. In case of cooperation based on an impact driven earnings model, the Assessor also determines the valuation of the impact.

The complexity of the cooperation is determined by the level of detail of the information that is shared, the level of commonality in interpreting the data and the degree of coordination in giving traffic information and navigation advice.

For example, sharing information on the location and validity of environmental zones is easier to access than sharing tactical and strategic information about, for example, unwanted diversion routes or (for private parties) the number of users of a navigation service in a certain area at a given time. The cooperation becomes more complex when information is jointly interpreted and traffic information and navigation advice are implemented in a coordinated manner.

Tiffany Vlemmings (project leader): “With the Framework we present a coordinated and structured approach, which should lead to a successful public-private partnership in the implementation of interactive traffic management. Not only in the SOCRATES2.0 pilots, but as a basis for TM2.0, the next step in traffic management. In the four different SOCRATES2.0 pilots (Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen and Munich) experiments are being set-up with different cooperation models and intermediary roles, in order to gain as much experience as possible and learn from the effects of different options. The results are used to improve the Framework if necessary.”

In the coming months, the adjustments to both systems (in traffic management centers and back offices of technical service providers) and products (apps and on board navigation) will be prepared. In the run-up to the summer, users will be recruited to participate in the pilots. The first pilots are expected to start in the summer.

Download: The full report “Setting the stage for the deployment of Interactive Traffic management”

This report describes, amongst others:

  • The different Cooperation Models and Intermediary roles
  • The sub-steps to take when it comes to preparing pilot deployments in similar traffic management projects.

The  European project SOCRATES2.0 carries out tests in the regions of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen and Munich. Different traffic information and navigation services are tested by at least 9,000 users. The test in Amsterdam is the biggest test with 6000 test subjects. The trials are expected to start in mid-2019 and have a duration of one year.

In SOCRATES2.0, eleven public and private organizations have been challenged to try out different ways of working together, thereby realizing smarter traffic and navigation services. The most important learning objectives are to gain insight into how to organize the cooperation between public and private parties and whether this cooperation actually leads to better and smarter traffic information and navigation services for the road user. SOCRATES2.0 provides the essential building blocks for preparing Europe for the future of self-driving cars by anticipating the integration of traffic information and navigation services in self-driving cars.

Preparations for the pilots have already started in 2018 with the definition of a common vision on traffic information and traffic management. In this vision, new services must lead to a win-win-win situation for governments, service providers and the road user: more business opportunities for the private service providers, a more cost-effective traffic management for the government (road operator) and a better service to road users. The vision formed the basis for cooperation at a strategic level.

The cooperation has now been further elaborated on a tactical level, by specifying the Framework for the four intended pilots in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen and Munich. This resulted in detailed descriptions, or blueprints, of the pilots to be able to take the next step: the technical design and the implementation of the services to be developed. The pilot designs include organizational, functional and technical aspects that are related to the roles of the consortium partners and their products and services, as well as the interfaces between them. In the coming months, the necessary adjustments to both central systems and adjustments to (navigation) services will be prepared. The services are offered both in-car (BMW) and via apps (such as Flitsmeister and TomTom).

Related articles:
Sweco: Many European cities undergoing a transport revolution (4. Dezember 2018)