C-ITS services offering real-time traffic information are estimated to have a large potential to improve road safety, traffic flow, and energy efficiency. For freight traffic, these improvements could result in cost-benefits.
NordicWay 2 and 3 (www.nordicway.net) projects develop and pilot C-ITS services. The services aim to enhance traffic safety and fluency and make transportation more sustainable e.g., by reducing CO2 emissions. The perceived usefulness of services is an important determinant for their adoption. Previous studies have investigated the perceived usefulness of C-ITS services among passenger car drivers, but the views of professional drivers have not been extensively investigated.
Currently limited usage of C-ITS services
As a part of NordicWay 3, the current study focused on the views of professional drivers and logistics planners on real-time traffic information services. A total of 79 drivers from different freight traffic sectors responded to the survey, and professionals working as logistic planners or managers were interviewed. In addition, three representatives of the real-time traffic information service companies were interviewed.
Based on the surveys, professional drivers in freight traffic already have real-time information services at their disposal. The most common services include, among others, information about road works, current speed limit and service stations. In addition, information on the weight, width and height limits of the route was used. However, the currently used services may not yet fully qualify as C-ITS, because the road users rarely contributed to the production of the information. Some services took advantage of crowdsourced data collection, but the vehicles rarely automatically transmitted the information. The cooperative dimension of currently used information services is thus limited.
Transport industry generally positive about C-ITS services
Attitudes towards the introduction of services and the sharing of traffic information were mainly positive. Services were considered useful and the drivers were prepared to use them. The interviewees did not experience a problem with paying for the services, given that the benefits the services bring to the company are verifiable. Both the interviewed transport company representatives and drivers had similar views on the importance of hazard and weather-related information and the information regarding the route (e.g., road works, congestion, usage limitations). Furthermore, respondents recognized that the services could have a positive impact on safety. The views of service providers supported the perceived need for real-time warnings and weather information. Finally, there was a high demand for information regarding route limitations (width, height and mass restrictions). This information is already available, but not always up to date.
In summary, C-ITS have the potential to deliver the promises of improved safety, efficiency, and environmental benefits. Before their widespread adoption, there are still challenges to be solved regarding the availability and production of data for the services as well as the business models of the service provides. The study was ordered by Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and performed by VTT.
Lauhkonen, Arttu & Lehtonen, Esko (2021): Acceptance and need of real-time traffic information services in the transport industry. (In Finnish, with an abstract in English).