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Telematics: deployment of road telematics

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Telematics: deployment of road telematics

This communication aims to define a strategy, framework and initial action for the increased use of telematics on the highways of Europe.


Communication from the Commission, of 20 May 1997, concerning a community strategy and a framework for the deployment of road telematics in Europe together with initial proposals for action [COM (97) 223 final - Not published in the Official Journal].


Road telematics (RT), which is part of a rapidly growing information society, is to expand as part of a Common Transport Policy.

The Communication lists the advantages of RT, which:

  • makes driving safer;
  • gives logistical support to transport-service providers;
  • enables traffic to be managed efficiently;
  • offers policy makers an alternative to building new roads by making infrastructure use more efficient;
  • has a positive impact on the environment;
  • helps to provide new niches for industry and the providers of "added-value" services.

The Commission's RT aims are as follows:

  • providing a background for the development of RT services and systems to meet both local and community needs;
  • being open to all technologies;
  • encouraging the authorities to incorporate RT into projects at the transport-infrastructure planning stage;
  • taking advantage of the trans-European network projects and of the corresponding financial support;
  • encouraging involvement by the private sector;
  • providing stable conditions for the small and medium-sized businesses using RT services;
  • guaranteeing that interworking between infrastructures and services possible in order to provide users with the best possible service.

The Communication sets out the division of RT responsibilities among the European Union, the Member States, the regions and local authorities, European standardisation bodies, providers of commercial services, the motor industry, equipment manufacturers, systems designers and suppliers.

The Commission is drawing up a list of the areas needing priority action.

The aim pursued by the European Union as regards driver information, which is based on the RDS-TMC (Radio Data System / Traffic Message Channel), is to guarantee cross-frontier interworking and make it easier to create a European market for such products and services. Both technical harmonisation and political coordination are needed for that purpose. The Commission will give particular support to the provision of a common framework ("memoranda of understanding") whereby the parties concerned will undertake to provide the service and apply the standards on the TERN.

The aim concerning electronic-payment systems is likewise to achieve an adequate level of interworking. This requires not only the development of a convergence strategy for all electronic payment systems but also a solution to the problems concerning the classification of vehicles, non-equipped users, and the legal and institutional aspects. Technical harmonisation will have to take account of the multi-lane environment and the introduction of other telematic services using the same technology, such as reservation and payment systems. The work should be completed by at the latest the year 2000.

Close cooperation between countries and regions will be necessary with regard to the exchange of transport data and information management. The Commission will make it easier for the parties concerned (highway authorities, service providers) to provide a common vector for applying data exchange standards on the TERN.

The man/machine interface is characterised by two main types of device that alter the driver's task: the display of the information needed to help drivers to take decisions while driving and vehicle-control devices such as self-contained intelligent speed regulators and collision-prevention systems. The Commission advocates the application of codes of good practice to the interface between human beings and the information equipment.

The architecture of the intelligent transport systems must enable various concepts and technologies to be used and to incorporate factors such as public transport and integral payment.

These priority activities could be funded, as required, by part of the trans-European network budget or the use of specific programmes such as that on the exchange of data between administrations.

In addition to the priority applications listed above, other activities have been covered by proposals with a view to their subsequent implementation. These are:

  • the supply of information and vehicle guidance before and during the journey;
  • improvements to the management, monitoring and regulation of both urban and interurban traffic;
  • the large-scale application of high-performance telematics to electronic payment and reservations;
  • the development of public transport applications, more particularly for ticketing services, vehicle positioning systems, operational support systems covering bus timetabling or maintenance, real-time customer information services (public terminals, electronic guides);
  • the introduction on the market of advanced safety and vehicle control systems such as stand-alone speed regulators or the automation of intermittent traffic;
  • improving the safety and efficiency of commercial vehicles by monitoring and locating goods consignments electronically and making greater use of electronic recording systems, such as electronic tachometers, smart driving licences and continuous customs clearance.


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on telematics applications for transport in Europe [COM (94) 469 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Resolution on the Commission communication on a Community strategy and framework for the deployment of road transport telematics in Europe and proposals for initial actions [COM(97) 0223 final - Official Journal C328 of 26.10.1998].

Council Resolution of 17 June 1997 on the development of telematics in road transport, in particular with respect to electronic fee collection [Official Journal C 194 of 25.06.1997].

Last updated: 19.07.2006