European data-exchange project wins Transport Achievement Award

A project to establish a transnational data-exchange infrastructure to avoid breakdown of cross-border traffic across Europe has won the 2016 Transport Achievement Award in the freight category.

Nicknamed ‘Crocodile’, the project was launched in 2013 in order to collect and exchange data that may help improve traffic flows across Europe – including dynamic traffic safety information or information on parking space availability for truck drivers.

The Crocodile consortium consists of partners representing the entire value chain, from raw data to end user services. It involves national ministries and their agencies, road operators and service providers from 13 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia).

The prize was awarded to the consortium by the International Transport Forum (ITF) – a Paris-based intergovernmental organisation and policy think tank with 57 member countries – today as part of the 2016 Summit of transport ministers in Leipzig, Germany.

“Crocodile addresses congestion and traffic gridlocks in border areas of Central and Eastern Europe that are caused by co-ordination gaps among road operators in a region that comprises several small countries with different languages and has high levels of cross-border traffic from three main trans-European road transport corridors,” ITF said in a media statement.

“Within the project, partners agreed on a harmonised data exchange specification, installed sensors and cameras on thousands of kilometres of roads, upgraded truck parking facilities, improved traffic management centres, developed and improved several applications and, not least, brought together officials in a move to establish national access points for traffic data exchange.”

With Crocodile completed at the end of 2015, ITF said Crocodile 2 is now underway to continue and enlarge past activities.

The award jury reportedly saw “a significant achievement in harmonisation of national ITS-related activities in the field of road transport” in the first project and praised it for its “good results regarding institutional collaboration in a context posing significant challenges”.

Martin Böhm of AustriaTech, the Austrian government agency that co-ordinated Crocodile, said: “This award acknowledges that co-operation and harmonised information exchange is one key to improve the traffic situation in an area with several small countries with different transport network characteristics. We see Crocodile as a starting point and are convinced, that our way is leading towards a safer and more efficient road transport system.”

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