Consortium is working on innovative solutions to increase traffic safety and avoid congestion through Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems
A consortium of Belgian businesses and Flemish authorities is working on solutions to make the transport network safer and more sustainable in the next three years, for a project worth €1,8 Million, with the support for half from the European Commission. This will be achieved by maximum use of available (big) data in order to inform road users proactively, in real-time. In time, CITRUS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport System for Trucks) should have to increase road safety on Belgian motorways and roads, reduce CO2 emission and improve overall mobility. Additionally, a Companion App will aim at distributing safety warnings. Moreover, solutions for the further optimisation of intelligent control of traffic lights and road-based goods transport are being looked into.
Flanders and Europe are heading these developments together
Efficient road management is vitally important. Currently, congestion costs € 10.58 per vehicle per hour, causes a high amount of CO2 emission, a lot of stress and often unsafe situations.
By the end of 2015, the European Commission launched a CEF call (Connecting Europe Facility) that allowed businesses the opportunity to submit subsidy files that contribute to a more efficient use of the transport network through more intelligent and more sustainable transport systems. To this end, the European Commission freed up 70 million euro for projects that work on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) on the roads, of which €1,8 Million for CITRUS.
A consortium of Belgian businesses and government authorities submitted a project proposal with the working title CITRUS: “Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems for Trucks”. This focuses on the interaction between the (freight) vehicle, the supply chain and traffic management infrastructure using existing telecommunication networks. At a local level, the consortium wants to, in time, increase road safety on Belgian motorways and roads, reduce CO2 emission and improve mobility.
Together taking the road towards intelligent transport systems
For this project, the Flemish government and Belgian private companies have been working together since October 2016 to build on a safer, more efficient and more sustainable traffic network. Be-Mobile (expert regarding smart mobility) and the Flemish Government (together with the Department for Mobility and Public Works and the Roads and Traffic Agency) work together collecting (traffic) data and subsequently using it in an efficient way.
Consultancy agency Transport & Mobility Leuven (TML) provides monitoring and evaluation support for this test project. The rest of the consortium is made up of businesses that will test the applications in practice. This concerns on the one hand Colruyt Group and on the other hand the Port of Zeebrugge and Havenbedrijf Antwerpen, which will encourage the use of the different solutions amongst the concerned companies located at the harbour.
A safer, more sustainable and faster mobility for freight transport through ‘Companion App’
CITRUS aims to make the transport network safer and more sustainable by means of fast, efficient and effective sharing of traffic information. To this end, among other things, the development of a ‘Companion App’ is on-going. This application will send alerts to truck drivers who are approaching an incident (congestion, roadworks, disabled vehicle, etc.) in order to, for example, prevent rear-end collisions and road service area collisions and will also inform the driver of any works being done on the road. It goes without saying that the drivers need to be able to operate the ‘Companion App’ safely. This is why focus lies completely on creating a user-friendly interface and decent training. The development of this application will be completed by the end of this year.
The intelligent control of traffic lights based on real-time traffic information (green wave principle) is also part of the options. Approaching drivers are informed of the optimum speed they need to drive in order to get green lights. Moreover, traffic lights could be controlled dynamically based on the real-time traffic flows. The traffic lights on the N203a in Halle (connecting the R0 and E429) will be used as a pilot together with Colruyt Group.
Congestion-avoiding planning of deliveries is also looked into for which dispatching deliveries of Colruyt Group trucks is further optimised based on real-time traffic information and on more efficient communication with drivers.
The first tests for the three applications (app, green waves and real-time dispatching) will take place by the end of this year and the first results are expected in 2018. If these results are successful, then recommendations can be made to Europe and national/regional government authorities for the purpose of larger-scale implementation.