During the last years, our dependence on road transport has increased enormously, and, as a consequence, the problems derived from it as well: permanent traffic congestion in roads and urban centres, waste of energy, massive CO2 emissions and the resulting damage to public health, and a high rate of accidents in road networks.
This global tendency and its supporting statistical data have alarmed administrations, governments and transport institutions, which have started various mechanisms aimed at sustainable and efficient mobility, an essential tool to stimulate competitiveness and economic development and to promote innovation and strategic research within Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) — which is understood as applying information technologies to transport.
Traditional approaches —such as building new road infrastructures and widening the already existing ones— won’t achieve the desired results within the time required, when it comes to the challenge of reducing the problems derived from road transport so that mobility and transport become efficient, energetically sustainable and safe. It is necessary to find innovative solutions, in order to advance as quickly as the detected needs require. There is where Intelligent Transport Systems must contribute, to achieve efficient results in a short term.
In fact, public and private sector across the EU are making substantial investments in that respect.
Regarding transport vehicles, there already is a consolidated line of research. Since the eighties, different activities have been developed in this field, although many of them have been individual and isolated initiatives. Also, in recent years, the introduction of communication systems in vehicles has been an important revolution.
However, detection, signalling and management systems of road infrastructures haven’t evolved on the same scale. There have been significant advances in specific elements, like ETC systems based on radio communication technologies, the computerization of control centres and the introduction of satellite positioning systems. Nonetheless, there still are some obvious deficiencies.
The White Paper on Transport is very clear about that:
“Infrastructures condition mobility. No change is possible, unless the country has an appropriate network and uses it intelligently […]”
Therefore, it is obvious that there is a deficiency in transport and that road transport infrastructures need comprehensive mobility management solutions that make it possible to face all challenges simultaneously, thereby bringing a quantum leap towards Mobility 2.0: the mobility of the future.
This demand opens a niche market for the firms of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (BAC) working on traffic and transport, with regard to product development (systems, tools, applications and services) related to mobility management, and it offers interesting business possibilities.
Within this context, S3ROAD (Smart, Sustainable and Safe Road) is a shared vision of the road for the Mobility of the Future, and its main result will be a Comprehensive Mobility Management System.