The traveler information services are highly valuable for any traveler to plan accordingly their trip or journey. This information also improves comfort, safety and the environment, enabling the traveler to make decisions depending on real time data.
There are different types of information for travelers, the static information which is fixed and changes very rarely and the real time information which might change due to unpredicted events. This information before the trip (pre-trip information) and (on-trip information) can be transmitted via navigation devices, radio, internet, phones or signs.
The TMC Traffic Message Channel (cofounded by the European Commission) is the most successful traffic information system. The tool is a specific application of the FM Radio Data Systems (RDS) normally used for broadcasting real time traffic and weather information. This tool enables travelers to receive traffic information in their own language at a local level. However, the tool can still not offer cross-border information.
Some essential services include multi-modal traveler information, accident and event warning, travel time information, weather information, speed limit information and public transport information.
This information is offered by private and public providers and the co-operation between these two parts is not yet clear. With mobile phones and vehicle tracking the private providers are at times better informed about the traffic situation than the road operators.
Safety plays here a major role, and to enable an optimal flow of information it is necessary that all players involved have access to this key information to ensure safety to all travelers. The notion of universal traffic messages free of charge to all road users as a public information is one of the key elements in this topic. It is therefore a priority that the real-time navigation which is so important for the individual traveler does not affect negatively the collective benefit for effective traffic management. Great advances have been done from the technical perspective but yet there are some unclear areas regarding access to information from the different private and public stakeholders that should be determined.
What seems obvious is that the citizens privacy rights, security, and safety are ensured by all these technical advancements. A consensus from the different stakeholders at stake must therefore, always take into account the citizenship safety, comfort and easy travelling conditions. Great opportunities are foreseen to advance and ensure that European citizens improve the quality, safety and smoothness of their travel which affects economies, cities, common spaces, public and private lives.