Discussing the quality of traffic information at 360-degrees with TISA and EU EIP
Context and Workshop Goals
Both EU EIP and TISA has been working for many years on common frameworks regarding Quality of Traffic Information. EU EIP has elaborated some “Quality Packages” with concrete definitions how to describe and assess quality of data and services according to the European ITS Directive, with the focus on the Content Side of the Value Chain. TISA, in the meantime, has developed strategic guidance in form of a “Position Paper”, describing key quality issues for Service Providers, thus looking on the Service Side of the Value Chain.
As Quality along the Value Chain depends on functioning Quality of all segments of that Chain, it is obvious that all involved partners need to exchange on that matter, and find common understanding and agreements. TISA and EU EIP represent a majority of partners in this regard, and took the chance to organise a joint Workshop on current trends and challenges of Quality Information from a holistic, Value-Chain-wide perspective.
The goals of this workshop, hosted on September 18, 2019 by HERE Technologies in Berlin, were:
- To explore the ongoing work on Quality definitions at the EU EIP activity,
- to discuss current issues of Information Quality in the TISA community, and
- to define potential synergies and points of friction between the Quality domains of both EU EIP and TISA.
The workshop was joined by about 25 international partners from the EU EIP activity (represented by road authorities and ITS consultants) and TISA (represented by the Traffic Information industry). This way, a full picture of actors along the Value Chain was covered.
The agenda consisted of the following items:
Presentations on EU EIP Activity 4.1 “Determining Quality of European ITS Services”:
- Activity context, set-up, current status and deliverables (Peter Lubrich, BASt)
- Specific insights and lessons-learnt in the area of Safety-Related and Real-Time Traffic Information (SRTI/RTTI) (Tomi Laine, Ramboll)
- Specific insights and lessons-learnt in the area of Multi-Modal Traveller Information Services (MMTIS) (Jacqueline Barr, IBI Group)
Quality issues from a Service Provider’s view (Stephanie Leonard, TomTom):
- Relevance of Information Quality as a competitive factor
- A reference of a company-internal set of Quality parameters and processes
- Examples of mismatches of information sources from Road Authorities vs. Service Providers
Quality Implications from a Value-Chain-wide perspective (Leif Rystrøm, Vejdirektoratet Denmark):
- Value Chain as a backbone of Traffic Information flows from the event to the end user
- Scope of existing Quality definitions on the Content Side of the Vakue Chain
- Need for corresponding Quality definitions on the Service Side of the Value ChainGroup work to gain detailed feedback on Quality requirements and perspectives from individual actors, looking at the Value Chain for three exemplary SRTI use cases:
- Use Case “Wrong-way driver” (group 1)
- Use Case “Brokendown vehicle” (group 2)
- Use Case “Debris on the road” (group 3)
The workshop concluded with an open plenum, discussing the findings from the group work, outstanding questions and recommendations for further work on common Quality frameworks.
Workshop Findings and Outlook
The workshop gave the chance for individual actors to get insights into Quality perspectives of other, complementary actors in the Value Chain. For example, Road Authorities were able to learn about quality definitions in the domain of Service Providers and vice versa. This way, the participants gained a clear understanding of Quality along the entire Value Chain.
Looking deeper into Quality processes, it became clear that any agreements and consistent definitions on Information Quality across the entire Value Chain may remain challenging. The group work made this apparent, indicating that Quality heavily depends on individual parameters of a use case and the involved technologies, actors and data sources. In particular, such challenges are:
- Service Providers often rely on 3rd party sources. In this case, 3rd party data must be reliable and trustful. How such “reliability” and “trustfulness” is defined, is often an individual interpretation at the data receiver’s side.
- Many Quality definitions have a direct link to involved technologies and data sources. For example, new communication channels via C-ITS promise higher Quality levels. For such evolving technologies, any “common” Quality definitions seem not be pragmatic.
- Some partners identify potential Quality bottlenecks in preceding, “up-stream” elements of the Value Chain. This way, a Service Provider may impose higher Quality responsibilities on the Content Side, e.g. on Traffic Management Centers. Public bodies in this context, in contrast, may have other objectives and resources, so they are not always able to fulfil Service Provider’s expectations.
Despite these challenges, there is still the chance to find common agreements, or at least a common understanding on Quality Issues across the Value Chain, when individual partners continue an open-minded, same-eye-level discourse. Thus, further exchange opportunities between EU EIP and TISA will be fostered.