This introductory provides an overview of the structure of Traffic and Travel Information Services and describes aspects, which are common to all services from the whole spectrum of Traffic and Travel Information services. This introduction has been prepared to avoid repetition in the specific descriptions of the Travel and Travel Information services.
As shown in Figure 10, the set of TTI services comprises five different ITS Cores services:
In the following sections, the profile and other important aspects of Traffic and Travel Information services are discussed in more detail:
All road users and travellers need accurate, integrated and comprehensive traffic and travel information in planning decisions and to be able to respond to disturbances that might occur during travel. By modifying behaviour, traffic and travel information services support the road operators’ task.
Uncertainty over journey and arrival times is a major problem, as travellers and road users expect consistently reliableinformation to help make well informed travel decisions.
The generation of traffic and travel information is a broad concept that cuts across the entire field of operations and covers several areas:
To be able to inform all partners, drivers and other travellers effectively, operators and service providers must define information channels that should be coherent with the operation and management plans.
It is important to distinguish the difference between traffic and travel information:
Each ITS Traffic and Travel Information service has a distinct scope, and in many cases, a direct link to events, conditions and data categories listed in the Delegated Regulations of the EU ITS Action Plan and Directive.
“Forecast and Real-time Event Information” covers the provision of information about both expected and unexpected events to road users on identified road segments of the network and its interfaces.
Events are defined as abnormal situations, which may lead to adverse effects on the road with regards to traffic safety, efficiency and the environment. There are two categories of events:
Thisservice includes specific events, conditions and traffic data categories listed in Delegated Regulation for road safety-related minimum universal traffic information service (EU) No 886/2013, and real-time traffic information services (EU) No 2015/962.
“Traffic Condition and Travel Time Information” covers the provision of information on the traffic conditions (Level of Service) and travel times on identified road segments of the network.
Traffic Condition / Level of service (LoS) is a qualitative measure used to relate the quality of traffic service. LoS is used to analyse road networks by categorising traffic flow and assigning quality levels of traffic based on performance measure such as speed, volume, delay etc. This is typically based on the continuity of flow. Traffic condition information aims to improve general conditions of network use. Its general aim is safety and user comfort.
Travel time is the total elapsed time necessary for a vehicle to travel from one point to another over a specified route under existing traffic conditions.
As the volume of traffic approaches a point of exceeding capacity, LoS falls, and traffic is characterised by stop-and-go waves, longer travel times, low driver comfort, and increased accident exposure.
This predictive or real-time information can be provided both on-trip and pre-trip.
This service includes specific traffic data categories listed in the delegated regulation for real-time traffic information services (EU) No 2015/962.
Drivers should always drive at an appropriate and safe speed. “Speed Limit Information” services are implemented to help ensure that the driver always and everywhere knows what the speed limit in force is. Speed limits can be static or dynamic; both can be included in information services, and can be provided to drivers via road signage, road markings and in-vehicle systems.
Under national legislative frameworks, road and traffic authorities have to install and maintain prescribed speed limit signs on their roads. Data about speed limit signs is generally maintained as part of an asset register and can contribute to a static speed limit database.
Dynamic speed limits commonly take into account the real-time traffic, road and weather conditions, better reflecting a safe speed. These are controlled via traffic control systems.
This service includes specific traffic data categories listed in the delegated regulation for real-time traffic information services EU No 886/2013 and (EU) No 2015/962.
“Road weather information” covers conditions of the road surface, visibility conditions and infrastructure specific information on parts of the network such as bridges, which can be adversely affected by high wind conditions. The provision of dynamic weather information covers both weather information and weather warnings, such as those on exceptional weather conditions.
The intention of the service is to enable different user groups (e.g. car drivers, HGV drivers, public transport users) to react and to adapt their behaviour to the weather conditions they are going to meet, by informing them about the current and the expected development of weather conditions.
When service providers use data regarding the road weather conditions provided by road authorities and road operators, they should take into account, as far as possible, any temporary traffic management measures taken by the competent authorities.
This service includes specific events, conditions and traffic data categories listed in the delegated regulations for road safety-related minimum universal traffic information service (EU) No 886/2013, and real-time traffic information services (EU) No 2015/962.
“Multimodal Travel Information” is comparative information of different modes/means of transport and/or the combination of different modes/means of transport within the same route. The service offer information for at least public transport, private car transport and usually pedestrian and bicycle transport.
Multimodal travel information services require data from the different transport modes such as road, rail, water- and airborne transport, walking, cycling and additional services such as parking.
This service includes specific data categories listed in the Delegated Regulation for multimodal travel information services (EU) No 2017/1926.
The main objective of providing travel and traffic information, including safety-related & realtime traffic Information to the road user is improving the safety and the efficiency of the network supporting current traffic management activities and traffic management plans. This includes both pre- and on-trip information and gives road users a better driving experience (i.e. they can plan with confidence, adapt trips, stress is reduced, lost time is reduced).
Expected and unexpected events can develop into a traffic bottleneck, due to abrupt reactions of uninformed drivers. However, if those drivers know the upcoming traffic situation in advance they would be prepared and could pro-actively adapt their speed and following distance, thus preserving smooth, stable and safe traffic flow.
Real-Time Traffic and Travel Information services allow traffic information to be factored into both pre- and on-trip journey planning. This can alter the departure times, assist the driver to take more effective routing decisions or even alter the decision to travel.
The provision of information to drivers enhances the travelling experience even if the information does not directly impact on network efficiency or safety. Better-informed drivers tend to be calmer and hence more concentrated. Other impacts can be the increased mode share of public transport, when drivers decided to select another mode of transport for their trip and reduced air pollution.
Note: As the handbook draws from the perspective and expertise of road operators, the focus of all ITS Core services is on road transport and inter-urban road network. In this context, the MMTIS Core service vision and mission is centred mostly towards the services and data categories from the DR that are connected to road transport outside urban environments.
The main service mission is to inform about expected or unexpected events in order to support the user in finding the best way to travel and to do so in a calmer and safer way and provide accurate and timely information on traffic conditions and travel times to support travellers in making appropriate and safe trip choices.
This predictive or real-time information could be provided on-trip and pre-trip using different information channels, accessible or receivable by the user via different end-user devices. The service may comprise common information as well as individual (personalised, on-demand) information.
Problems to consider:
Numerous evaluations of traffic and travel information and particularly warning services deployments in the EasyWay project and subsequent ITS European corridor projects have shown that they can have a positive impact on traffic safety (up to 11% fewer accidents with injuries in bad weather conditions), mobility (up to 20% shorter travel times) and the environment (up to 10% less energy consumption with corresponding effects on CO2 emissions).
When displayed before the journey (e.g. internet, travel time forecasts), the impact of Traffic and Travel Information services on safety and congestion is lower (up to 2% less congestion), but the provision of multimodal information to encourage modal shift could lead to an overall reduction in CO2 emissions.
Travel information has three primary impacts in increasing road safety.
In a similar manner to safety, supporting increased modal shift toward other modes including rail and public transport requires good quality pre-trip and multimodal travel information. This allows for more efficient pre-trip routing decisions and/or departure times; thus, increasing network efficiency and improving asset efficiency. On-trip information related to current road conditions (i.e. travel time, weather status/ warnings) should have a positive impact on network efficiency as drivers should use this information to make more effective travel decisions. It should be possible for well-informed travellers who improve their choice of mode, route and departure time to contribute to a more even spread of traffic throughout the day. It can be assumed that:
The positive environmental impact of travel information is primarily tied to the increase in network efficiency noted above. So, for example, avoiding stationary or slow-moving traffic will reduce congestion and therefore emissions of CO2 and other air pollutants. More recent research, also indicates that where such information is available the more environmentally conscious traveller may, by comparing the impact of their vehicle journey with public transport alternatives, opt for the most environmentally friendly journey choice. Furthermore, keeping the environmentally aware driver informed “on trip” of environmentally sensitive areas and linking this with suggested speed control may promote better compliance with the variable speed limit. In France, it is common to reduce the general speed limit by 20 or 30 km/h on a temporary basis with the aim to reduce air pollution and smog.
Travel and Traffic Information Services Radar Diagrams
As shown in the radar diagrams (see Figure 11), the main benefits delivered by TTI Core services relate to safety and efficiency which are priorities of overarching European ITS objectives of road operators. Thus, by providing road users with high quality, accessible travel and traffic information benefits can be gained on existing networks without deploying significant additional infrastructure.
In the following section, the specific effects of the Traffic and Travel Information Core Services described in this handbook are discussed in more detail.
Note: As already mentioned in chapter 2.3, the Service Radars of the various services are not in relation to each other and not directly comparable.
Forecast and Real-time Event information
Traffic Condition and Travel Time Information
Speed Limit Information
Road Weather Information
Multimodal Travel Information
It should be noted that the value chain shown and described in this document is based on the TISA Value Chain model; this is not meant to be prescriptive as there are many other examples of TTIS value chains with all essentially describing similar actors and processes, but with differences in emphasis and allocation of functions reflecting national practices and other business models.
There are several key actors in the value chain in providing dynamic traffic and travel information services:
This relationships chain is illustrated in Figure 17. The following paragraphs give more detail on each of these players and their functions and characteristics. It should be noted that the precise roles and position of actors is not the same in all situations; this depends on national and regional TTIS organisational structure and business case.
The content provider is the first node in the value chain and therefore in most cases also the content owner, i.e. the institution that collects the data (“raw data” without any data refinement – meaning without generation of additional value) and controls rights to use and distribute the data. The content provider collects and administers the data (e.g. traffic data on traffic volume and velocity are collected by traffic control centres not primarily for use by traffic information services but for the operation of traffic control systems). However, this data has value in traveller information systems e.g. in indicating journey time information and in traffic management.
It is important to distinguish between the role of public/free content providers that collect data (primarily for internal use) and who provide it for the use in public or private/commercial information services and private/commercial content providers whose business is to collect data, to organize them into the form required by their clients and to sell the data to service operators.
Examples of different public and private content providers are: national, regional or local road authorities, police, commercial traffic data provider, commercial traffic information provider, toll system operators, parking facilities operators, public transport operators, automobile clubs, private road operators, private address and POI data provider, weather services, map agencies, commercial map enterprises, mobile/cellular phone operators.
There are also alternative models where it is the end user who is increasingly performing the role of content provider (such as the free editable map website OpenStreetMap: www.openstreetmap.org). In this model the information sources are often working on the premise of building a user generated consensus of a situation to provide information which is effectively then verified by the network users.
If content providers carry out additional data processing tasks such as forecasting or the generation of a thematic map based on that raw data, the content provider can then become a service operator (even if this is a very basic service). The commercial interest of the content provider is to sell and distribute the information within the relevant TTIS business area (i.e. satellite navigation content). Public content providers are not normally motivated by commercial interest but rather because they want to drive forward domestic or European wide policy objectives in relation to reduction of congestion, improved safety, supporting modal shift or environmental objectives.
Typically, the service operator uses raw data from the content provider and then refines the data to generate useful traveller information. The refinement of raw data can be done by applying different methodologies such as data fusion with data from other data sources or by using an algorithm and historic data for a more refined result.
The raw data provided by the content provider does not have any practical use to the end user. The service operator generates information services for different service providers and different end user devices, e.g. websites or smart phones. An animation or a thematic map with the same content can be generated in different ways for different service providers (corporate identity) or different end user devices (different technology platforms). There are many different service operator models.
Additionally, service operators can provide a clearing functionality to support the interoperability of different services, i.e. to act as a central hub for the collection and distribution of information. Other actors of the value chain can also provide this functionality.
The service provider is the organisation/actor that provides the direct interface to the end user with the purpose of providing services including traffic information. The service provider could be a private company or a public institution such as a local road administration or traffic information centres enabling and providing a service to either a narrow target group or a broad range of users. This could be done within the current business or as an extension of a current company or as a new enterprise.
Service providers offer the information service to their customers and have to operate all functions related to the customers such as billing, customer administration or marketing. In most cases, the service provider is acting as service operator too. This means that they use data from a content provider, process the data to generate information and provide this information to the end user.
Sometimes the service provider uses a service that is operated by another service operator (e.g. many providers of internet portal services offer a routing service that is operated by a service operator such as map24: http://www.map24.com); or integrates other third party information e.g. public transport information to provide a more complete service.
If the information service provided to the end user is not free of charge, the service provider has to administrate customer billing, or to absorb these costs. Furthermore, if the service provider uses content and external services that have commercial costs, it has to pay the charge for the use of content and services to the particular content provider or service operator.
The service provider may have a commercial interest in providing packaged and filtered information to a group of target users through a service. Public service providers have often the non-commercial interest in supplying information services to citizens for free to advance wider public policy objectives, i.e. supporting modal shift, managing network demand, improve safety, reducing the impact of transport emissions on the environment.
In most cases the basic services are provided over the internet via web information services or smart phone apps (accessed by end users using the pull mode). Sometimes, information services are also provided using the push mode after subscription by the users. This may provide general access to information or personalised information (configured by users to the routes they use regularly).
The end user is the customer of the service provider. End users are interested in getting timely information so that they can travel safely to their destination in the shortest distance or journey time with the least obstacles or disruptions. One major objective is that the end user without a private car should feel oneself as comfortable in the transport system as the one with the private car. The use of the information can be for private or business use. The role of information as defined is to:
Increasingly, end users are motivated to make travel choices by the option which has the least detrimental impact environmentally. By making users aware of the carbon or emissions savings of certain modes against others for individual trips they may alter their travel choices.
End users have a variety of needs affecting their travel which should be met to allow them to complete their journey e.g. at a lower cost, or the ability to select the most time effective/convenient journey. In order to select the lowest cost or the fastest trip, they need relevant information. When dealing with the harmonisation aspects of the service, operators should keep in mind that services (and their harmonisation) should not distract the driver.
Furthermore, providers should design services around user needs. It is recommended using formats and technology platforms which are most accessible to widest number of users. Information provided to end users needs to deliver what the consumers want, when they want it and at the location where they are. Unless the perceived benefits of access to information exceed the perceived costs, users will not consult or regularly use the information service. The cost of a trip is comprised of features such as:
The end users expect a user-friendly system with a self-explanatory interface. The end user may not always want all the rich content available from a traveller information service but may only require those elements which affect the journey he/she is planning to make e.g. travel time delays, road incidents etc.. This requires a facility which allows the user to select the characteristics of this travel information. Regular consumers of the same service may prefer to create a personal user profile in order to reduce the input procedure; the user then receives a personalised service tailored to his/her needs. In the case of smart phones, the device may use its positioning functionality to identify the user’s location and then provides information relevant to that location. While the user gives some personal data, he expects that privacy is guaranteed.
However, end users are not a homogeneous group, and their needs will be dependent on their personal requirements and the nature of their trip. User needs may be determined by User Type; Key Function, User Position/Journey Stage and Travel Type and may be based on the way travellers use information. When undertaking detailed analysis other groups with special requirements should also be considered such as the elderly, people with reduced mobility, visually impaired, young people and those travelling with children. The schematic, Figure 18, illustrates a simplified breakdown of TIS end users. There are, naturally, many different ways to categorise end users:
Based on the above mentioned points, an example of a value chain in practice is shown in Figure 19.
For the entire supply chain of traffic and travel information, the European Traffic and Travel Information core services can be deemed to have contributions from four main actors that were already mentioned in the chapter 3.1.4.
Presently the roles outlined above (with the exception of the end user) are undertaken by different parties e.g. national and local authorities, either directly or through additional agreements with e.g. road operators, or by private industry when there is a business case for the development of such a service. These roles are normally governed by the following conditions:
Because of the diverse nature and large differences between national policies on traffic and travel information, it is not possible to define which roles industry and national authorities will perform across Europe. Expectation is that business models will evolve to reflect market conditions and the prevailing circumstances of the market in individual member states. However, it is possible to define the different roles noted above. When a service is delivered by a member state, service continuity to users achieved through harmonisation should be the primary objective.
Figure 20 provides an example of the different models that can be applied to TTIS, moving from mandatory, public, free of charge services on the left to private paid commercial services on the right:
Therefore, it is recommended that the individual public authorities / service providers review how their existing information provision compares with the recommended service levels outlined elsewhere in the Reference Handbook and how that might best be organised to deliver the requirements of harmonised traveller information deployment. It will be particularly important for national authorities to undertake such a review when they are working in cooperation with neighbouring authorities to ensure that interoperability is achieved to comply with the proposed pan-European element of these services. More options of public/private partnerships are described in chapter 18.104.22.168
It will be necessary to develop innovative and flexible practises and agreements, which prove the business case for both national authorities and private actors. For example, data sharing agreements can contain real-time traffic information from in-car devices to the public sector in exchange for quality-assured traffic management data to the car device stakeholders.
The need to harmonise these services is also vital to ensure that regardless of whether the three key roles (content providers; service operators; service providers) are filled by private industry or public authorities the quality, content and timeliness of information is similar within the same operating environments across the Europe. Thereby harmonised traveller information comes to be expected by end users.
In some countries private service providers sell information to road operators. Quality regulations should be taken into account. End users should not pay again for the same service. By entering to data sharing agreements public bodies and private data/service providers have greater control over the way their data is managed and presented to the end user.
The data quality aspect is also vital for specification in terms of the levels of service as they are intrinsically linked. The ability for a traffic and travel information provider to reach the levels of service recommended within this handbook for TTI services is dependent on a level of data quality being reached.
An example of different data requirements is found when comparing the optimum level of traffic speed data packets required for travel time information which may be as small as 1 minute, with that for traffic condition information data, and that of planned events where it is unlikely data will be required to be updated as frequently.
The tables within the description for TTI services outline recommendations for the most important aspects of the Levels of Service and the Levels of Quality for the data “backbone” for each traffic and travel information service. It is believed that progress through these levels will lead to harmonised deployment of traveller information services. The need for a requirement to progress to the next level is inherent in the philosophy of deployment towards harmonisation although progress “up” these levels towards more harmonised services should only be undertaken if deemed necessary by the implementation body.
The tables within the TTI services descriptions also provide the recommended levels of service which deployment should strive towards the future. However, progress beyond these levels is still important when the requirement exists.
Definitions of the Core Level of Service and Level of Quality Criteria for all TTI Core services are given in Table 12 and Table 13. Service specific LoS and LoQ criteria are defined in the respective descriptions.
The descriptions in this manual, including the definitions of the level of service for each of the European ITS Core services, provide the information needed by road operators to ensure that implementations are carried out in support of European cohesion and define steps for the gradual improvement of the service in relation to the European ITS Core service operating environments.
Each of the ITS Core service descriptions for traffic and travel information has been developed using an information content based approach which lends itself to a description of the levels of service which are purely end user oriented in terms of information content.
The levels of service therefore define the quality of the relationship to the user. The differences between the five information services mean that different criteria may be more important for different information services. To this end, each TTI Core service description includes a Level of Service table, which recommends the end user oriented levels of service that should be progressed towards to assist in the realisation of interoperable, seamless and harmonised pan-European Services.
Note: There is no hierarchy between the criteria and no additional weighting given to one with a higher level of service. Not all services will define requirements for all criteria presented in the above table.
 Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV), 2019. „Coaches and road safety in Europe; An indication based on available data 2007-2016“. https://www.swov.nl/publicatie/coaches-and-road-safety-europe
 Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI), 2020. „Safer Than You Think! Revising the Transit Safety Narrative“. https://www. vtpi.org/safer.pdf