Transport Standards – the road to tomorrow

ETSI Headquarters, Sophia Antipolis, France - 11 October 2010

ETSI's 2010 innovation-focused conference confirmed the massive opportunities for using Information and Communication Technologies in transport systems, their implementation and the criteria for making them a timely commercial success.

ETSI's 2010 innovation-focused conference confirmed the massive opportunities for using Information and Communication Technologies in transport systems, their implementation and the criteria for making them a timely commercial success.

At the ETSI Business Innovation Summit in London last week, the theme of Transportation was addressed by transport experts from the road, rail, sea and air sectors. Delegates at the conference ('ICT – revolutionising the world of transport') heard how transport is a huge business, accounting for 7% of the total GDP of the European Union.
Maximillian Strotmann, Membre du Cabinet of the European Commissions' Transport Directorate, said that communities are faced with choices about how to deal with the current transport challenges. He observed that the growth in mobility of people and goods impacts on the environment, on travel congestion and personal safety. However, it is clear that less transport is not an option.
He suggested that it is vital to spread travel needs more efficiently to reduce the burden. To this end, the Commission is now encouraging initiatives that allow rail, road, sea and air users to co-operate through Intelligent Transport Systems to find optimum methods and routings, and to eliminate the present inflexibility between the various modes of transport.
To help to harness the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to launch world-wide Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), a European Directive has been created by the European Commission. This Directive gives the Commission the right to adopt specifications and mandate standards for ITS.
Mr Strotmann stressed that the Commission favours interoperability of existing systems and a light-weight ‘minimum harmonised' approach to mandating standards.   Regarding standardisation, he pointed to the huge global success of GSM and 3G mobile communications and the underlying standards activity that had been led by ETSI: he stated that a similar approach was necessary for ICT to be successfully applied to the transport sector. He said that the ETSI work on GSM and 3G standards had ensured that "the same standards can be applied all over the world, with clear and open processes for changes and constant progress on new innovation."  He concluded, "If ITS is to become a large-scale reality, standardisation is a prerequisite."

A recurring theme at the conference was the need for all the relevant players (network operators, vehicle manufacturers, specialized service providers, regulators etc) to collaborate fully in the development of ICT solutions, including in the standards process.

ETSI and Transport

Chairing Day One of the conference, Walter Weigel, ETSI's Director General, introduced the ETSI mission in the field of transport, highlighting the achievements and co-operative approach of its ITS Technical Committee. He said that the committee had been successful in its work on wireless communications for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle to roadside communications, with key standards on communication protocols, identity management and security, data management and conformance test specifications. Whilst current work focused on road transport, it offers great potential for complementary standards for rail, water and air transport systems, to be created through co-operation with the transport industry, and with European projects and initiatives.

LTE and Transport Systems

The summit considered what changes are needed in ICT networks – particularly mobile networks – to deliver the necessary coverage and performance for ITS. The wireless technology LTE, being standardised globally as the basis of future mobile communication systems as an evolution of those we use today, was seen as having a major contributory role.

Takehiro Nakamura of NTT Docomo suggested that 3G and 4G networks are already meeting the some of the needs of the transport sector. The latest  Release 10 specifications from 3GPP, the global standardisation activity of which ETSI is a founding partner and which is developing the LTE standards, will also include work on Machine Type Communications, which promise to be a major element in ITS. The immediate priority for 3GPP is to provide early specifications for security, overload control (managing congestion situations in the various network components), addressing, identification and subscription control.

Mike Short of Telefonica Europe O2 told the conference that telecommunication operators are looking closely at the opportunities in connected cars and connected street furniture, anticipating many applications for use in and by the car. The term "Internet on wheels" has been coined and goes part of the way to describe the possibilities.

Dr. Short called for ITS participants to be more present in 3GPP, so that ITS functionality is embodied in the communication standards as early as possible. He called for better co-ordination between standards, telecommunication operators and the transport sector.

Following the event, Dr Weigel remarked, 'The ETSI Business Innovation Summit has again become the venue for bringing together high level speakers and delegates from all over the world. I was delighted with the high quality of the presentations and discussions and encouraged by the feedback during the event, which will certainly be taken into account in the work of ETSI and, I trust, the other involved parties. I am already looking forward to next year's event that will take place on 4-5 October 2011 and will focus on Future Wireless Networks.'

- ENDS –

About ETSI
ETSI produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies and is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization. ETSI is a not-for-profit organization whose 766 ETSI member organizations benefit from direct participation and are drawn from 63 countries across 5 continents worldwide.
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About ETSI's 2010 Business Innovation Summit
ETSI's 2010 Business Innovation Summit – 'ICT revolutionizing the world of transport' – was produced by Informa Telecoms and Media in collaboration with ETSI and took place at the Hilton London Paddington from 5 to 6 October 2010. The presentations from the conference are available from Informa.

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3GPP™ is a trademark of ETSI registered for the benefit of its Members and of the 3GPP Organisational Partners.

For more information about ETSI's Business Innovation Summit:
Jørgen Friis, Vice President,
Standards Enabling Services
Tel: +33 4 92944211
For general ETSI press enquiries:
Paul Reid
Events & Communications
Tel: +33 4 92944219