Warning messages via navigation devices and Traffic information systems

September 30, 2020

This article was written by Sylvia Franzen-Brauer, Teun Hendriks und Stefan Schwardt, and was translated into English for TISA’s website. The original article can be found in BBK’s journal.

Since October 2016, the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), which is 75% co-financed by the German Internal Security Fund, has been working on the socio-technical improvement of the public safety warning system in the country. Among other things, there is a contract to develop new warning channels because, except for traffic reports, no warning messages can be sent to people affected by road traffic. For this important reason, the project included new output devices, identifying in-vehicle navigation devices, among other things, and leading to the testing of a universally applicable solution. The result is a specification developed with international partners, which can be used worldwide for the output of public safety warning messages on end devices in the navigation and traffic information area: TISA SP19006. This specification enables warning disseminators – i.e. manufacturers and operators of navigation and traffic information systems – to transmit appropriate warning messages, worldwide.

Development of the specification

The partner involved in the development of this specification is TISA (Traveller Information Services Association), an international association working in the field of traffic information.TISA provides TPEG specifications and standardized guidelines. TPEG (Transport Protocol Experts Group) specifications are published by ISO in the ISO 21219 series for traffic and travel information. The protocol can be transmitted via different data channels, such as digital radio and cellular communication. The stakeholders active in the development of the current TISA TPEG2-EAW specification involved the Federal Office for Civil Protection and disaster relief (BBK), represented by the ISF project, the company Mecom, Mo-WaS and Teatownlake, in interaction with the TISA task force. The TPEG format can boast of many users, among which Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW, device manufacturers for navigation devices such as NNG and Garmin, TomTom and HERE, system manufactures and developer GEWI, and radio stations such as NDR and WDR. To process the warning messages TPEG uses standardized items, events and recommendations for actions. Like with a warning message in CAP (Common Alert Protocol) standard, the specification shows how it can be distributed by modular warning systems for the broadcasting to TPEG-enabled terminals.


In addition to the basic functions for transmission, there are also:

  • Situation-related and geo-referenced warning messages: TPEG uses the same location referencing system as GPS, which represents de facto a global standard. In this way it is possible to convey situational and georeferenced warning messages.
  • Automatically process the data: TPEG offers an independent data transfer format, for which data is processed and can be converted easily. Different channels are used for the transfer, such as digital audio broadcasting (DAB) or mobile Internet. The development of this specification also includes the following activities:
  • Harmonization of CAP to issue warning messages on TPEG-capable devices: The German CAP standard was matched with international CAP profiles to harmonize the global output of warning messages on TPEG-enabled devices.
  • Multilingual warning messages through standardized and expandable translation tables: The ISF-Project developed a catalogue of hazard descriptions and a list of recommendations for action to enable the translation functionality. A comparison and a completion with the internationally available tables followed, allowing the standardized translation tables to be implemented and issued in multiple languages.
  • Guidelines for the users of the specification: The visual design of traffic information in vehicles (safety and operation are a must) and the handling of non-standardized elements were regulated in guidelines.

Further development of TPEG2-EAW 

In the coming year, the TPEG2 EAW user specification for a TPEG EAW service will be tested in a field trial in Germany. In this trial, the complete service supply chain, up to the recipient, will be examined. The results and experiences identified during the trial will be used for refinement and will update the TPEG2-EAW specification. In addition, the knowledge gained will be captured as best practice and compiled in a guideline document.