Collaborative Approach for Better Mobility Solutions

The TEAM project (Tomorrow’s Elastic Adaptive Mobility, 2012-2016), co-funded by the European Commission, created building blocks for connected and collaborative mobility. Eleven applications were developed for travellers and traffic management professionals to enable better mobility solutions. The focus was on technological development, but still a versatile evaluation of the potential effects was carried out.

Applications were tested at five locations

Eleven applications were developed for travellers, drivers and local authorities. They provide support for social and environmentally friendly mobility and help traffic management centres with controlling a traffic system which can adapt dynamically to the requirements of the road users. Collaboration was a key aspect in TEAM – the applications not only take into account the needs of individual traffic participants but also the needs of the entire city and its traffic management. They support travellers during the entire trip, from planning to searching for a parking space.

Woman uses her mobile phone

Eleven applications were developed for travellers and traffic management professionals. Phto: Thinkstock

The aim of the evaluation was to provide insight into potential benefits of the TEAM applications for the decision makers on different levels of the society. To study user acceptance and mobility impacts of the TEAM applications a set of user tests and demonstration events was organised at several locations across Europe. These test sites were in Tampere (Finland), Gothenburg (Sweden), Berlin (Germany), Turin and Trento (Italy) and Athens and Trikala (Greece). The user groups included car, motorcycle and truck drivers and applications were tested as travellers in real traffic or with help of presentations. The test sites complemented each other and together showed a versatile set of applications and users. Feedback for Mobility and User Acceptance Evaluations was collected with questionnaires. In total, 172 individual users participated in the tests and contributed in the user data for impacts and acceptance of the applications.

The applications were well accepted by travellers

The user acceptance evaluation targeted specifically at the acceptance of collaborative aspects of TEAM applications. One of the most important indicators for user acceptance is the intention to use the applications. The overall conclusion from the user acceptance evaluation is that the TEAM applications were quite well accepted. The most important condition for further exploitation was shown to be there: the users indicated high willingness to use the applications. All applications were rated positively in this respect even if some differences existed in intended usage between the applications as perhaps as indication of different maturity of the systems.

Enhanced mobility

Overall, the users indicated that mobility would be substantially improved when TEAM applications are in use. Especially those applications directed to support drivers in their whole trip, were assessed to have positive impacts on journey quality (such as feeling of stress and comfort) and quite positive impacts on travel patterns (such as mode and route choice).

TEAM applications showed positive impacts on traffic flow and CO2

Impacts on traffic flow and the environment were studied with traffic microsimulations. The results show that the applications can have a positive effect on traffic flow. By helping the driver act in different situations the driving task can be made easier. Vehicle speeds can be harmonised and variation of speeds decreased causing less delays and smoother traffic flow. Better traffic flow also leads to reductions in CO2 emissions, as the number of decelerations and accelerations decreases. Mobility impacts can affect emissions positively or negatively depending on the direction.

The stakeholders assessed collaborative paradigm having future potential

In addition to the test users, also stakeholders were asked about their views on the potential of the applications. Overall the results showed that TEAM applications supported the collaborative transport paradigm and were assessed to have future potential. Road authority experts interviewed welcomed the applications and expected benefits for proactive traffic management.

The impact assessment in TEAM was in large extent an ex ante evaluation. Therefore the results should be considered as tentative and the findings should be verified in ex-post analysis, e.g. in large scale field tests. However, the initial estimates made early enough are important in intention to avoid unnecessary investments and to make well-reasoned decisions regarding further development and deployment.

More information on the project can be found from the project website:

Elina AittoniemiContact:
Elina Aittoniemi
VTT, Finland

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