Informal Transport Council
Optimising use of transport data
By Isabelle Smets | Wednesday 18 July 2012
Meeting for an informal Transport and Telecommunications Council in Nicosia, on 17 July, the member states acknowledged the need to make it easier to access and re-use transport data to develop innovative products and services, such as multimodal travel planners. The day before the meeting, Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas stressed the usefulness of “ensuring the availability, accessibility and exchange of all relevant information, such as schedules, capacity and routes” to make the best use of different modes of transport. Without adopting any concrete decisions – which is not the role of informal Councils – the ministers nevertheless expressed political will, as evidenced by the conclusions adopted at the outcome of the Nicosia meeting
The conclusions invite the European Commission to explore ways of improving access to and re-use of transport data. One of the major obstacles to multimodal planners is the insufficient availability of and difficult access to data held by transport operators. As an illustration of what can be done, in May 2011, the Commission adopted a technical regulation that imposes the standardisation of data on timetables and prices of rail travel in order to render interoperable the key elements of information needed for booking and ticketing. This was the first step towards developing multimodal journey planners. The states expressed support for this strategy at the informal Council.
Access to transport data must also ensure that passengers and carriers can obtain the information and services needed to optimise their journeys in real time, taking account of real traffic conditions or unforeseen events (eg a cloud of volcanic ash). All this makes up what is referred to as intelligent transport systems (ITS).
In Nicosia, the Commission announced its intention to present a schedule to support implementation of multimodal transport planning and information services and a road map for the deployment of ITS on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and in European cities. The ministers acknowledged that the lack of financing is an obstacle to developing ITS and highlighted the need to provide sufficient resources for their deployment on the TEN-T via the future Connecting Europe Facility. Given member states’ unequal advances on ITS, the Commission was asked to promote exchanges of experience and best practice.
The informal Council conclusions will be presented to the ITS World Congress, to be held in Vienna, Austria, next October.(1) The document is available at
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