Bridging boundaries – ITS Austria and the Austrian activities on cross-border cooperation

Posted: 24 October 2014 | Martin Russ – General Secretary of ITS Austria

New and innovative mobility solutions enabled by intelligent transport systems (ITS) need foresightful political commitment. The national ITS Austria Platform is all set for strengthening the position of Austria as a key player in ITS development and deployment. To further develop the strong network and exchange between the ministry and the national industry is a main goal of the national platform. All activities of ITS Austria are based on the four priorities for the use of intelligent transport systems: to increase road safety; to improve the efficiency of existing infrastructure; to enhance the overall quality of the traffic network; and to reduce the environmental impact. Mobility must include open data, open services and open platforms. This kind of mobility as-a-service must be in-line with other European priorities and activities, for example like what the ITS Europe Congress 2014 in Helsinki showed. Martin Russ – General Secretary of ITS Austria, explains further…

Openness as a strategic instrument

Subjects such as the ITS Directive and open data or urban mobility have gained importance over last few years, not just for the Platform. The national ITS Action Plan and its strategic measures were first published in 2011. As 80% of all defined measures have been successfully reached, in September 2014 the new and adapted catalogue of measures was released. The Austrian vision was made more concrete, and the strategy refreshed. Stimulated by the public authorities, these issues shall make a contribution to continue the positive developments in ITS. The focus lies on broad and multi-modal travel service information by stimulating innovative mobility concepts. Therefore, Austrian stakeholders concentrate on an overall approach. Projects such as VAO, the traffic information platform Austria, GIP, the national integration platform or SMILE, a national multi-modal booking and ticketing system try to prevent isolated applications.

National and international cooperation

Nevertheless, transnational activities are crucial as well. Even if the world doesn’t revolve around Austria, its central geographical position in Europe and its pioneering tasks in the field of ITS make it necessary to focus on establishing cross-border services and solutions. The Danube Region strategy is the strategic ITS paper for Central Eastern Europe. One challenge addressed in the strategy is to improve mobility and intermodality – rail, road and air. With the aforementioned activities in avoiding isolated solutions, it is even more important that the exchange of information and knowledge doesn’t stop at borders – neither geographical nor institutional ones. Interoperability and European-wide standards as well as the issue of open data and services are the key elements of cross-border solutions. Together with our neighbours, we have to create trust between public and private actors and also towards the users. 

Making first steps

To make a step forward, ITS Austria together with the Danube Region initiated a workshop at the ITS Austria Conference in September 2014. This workshop aimed to develop a commonly agreed roadmap for cooperation in the domain of ITS within the Danube Region together with members of the Steering Group and stakeholders as well as high-level representatives in the ITS domain. One objective of the workshop was to identify the key ITS projects relevant for the Danube Region and to formulate a set of common research priorities.

Activities like this will guarantee that ITS deployment will live up to its role as a measure to make mobility safer, environmentally friendlier, more efficient and achievable for all users – passengers and freight transport.

We will continue our efforts in bridging boundaries within the Danube Region to foster mobility as a service deployment in Europe.

ITS Austria Platform description and Mission

National – and regional – ITS associations have been established in many countries in order to support the increasingly rapid deployment of intelligent transport systems and services (ITS). The ITS Austria Platform connects the Austrian players in the fields of traffic, transport and logistics, with a view towards a sustainable structure in the Austrian mobility system. Using the Austrian ITS Action Plan as a starting point, players from areas such as the public sector, the economy, industry and research, all work together with the common target of a strong representation of Austrian competences in intelligent transport systems on an international level. The ITS Austria Platform should aid the special processes for agreement, coordination and monitoring required for new and existing tools, such as the European ITS Directive or the national ITS law.