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Safer and more efficient transport

Traffic levels are continuing to rise dramatically wherever you look today. Given the heavy load they have to carry, transport networks are becoming increasingly vulnerable to disruption and accidents. ITS Finland represents an effort by a cross-section of companies, institutes, and agencies to promote the introduction of new types of intelligent transport systems and services.

The thinking behind intelligent transport systems and services (ITS) is to enhance traffic safety and promote smoother traffic flows without making major physical infrastructure investments. Building major new roads and replacing older vehicles with more fuel-effi- cient and cost-effective ones are slow and expensive processes, by definition.

Leveraging the opportunities offered by modern information and communication technology has the potential to solve many of today's transport-related problems and improve traffic flows without these downsides.

Ensuring everyone benefits

Some 50 front-line companies, research institutes, and public agencies in Finland have come together through ITS Finland, coordinated by Navinova, to promote the deployment of ITS services for both private and corporate transport users.

An open forum, ITS Finland has been developed to help share ideas and know-how, and encourage all those involved to better understand the needs of transport as a whole and work more effectively in the interests of the overall transport network.

Numerous opportunities

Dynamic traffic management systems and real-time information on traffic conditions and problems offer very real opportunities for enhancing the capacity of transport networks and helping them better serve all those on the move. The wide penetration of mobile technology, and its growing sophistication, means that distributing this information is becoming easier all the time – and that is why ITS Finland is focusing on real-time information and mobile applications.

In the public transport sector, the quality of services can be improved with real-time timetables and wireless route information services, for example. For those in their own cars, partners in the project are developing alert and guidance services based on floating car data and other encaptured information. In the case of accidents, automatic eCall systems can communicate the coordinates of those involved to the nearest rescue services and ensure that help arrives more quickly.

Other ITS Finland partners are working on defining the minimum functionality for a generic mobile transportation concept to provide more effi- cient freight and fleet management systems. The idea here is to keep dispatchers and consignees up-to-date about freight flows and possible delays, help reduce traffic congestion, and ensure that just-in-time production is not disrupted.

> Antti Rainio
(Published in High Technology Finland )