EU Ministers of Transport and Telecommunications reached a common understanding on the future steps for boosting the Connecting Europe Facility and its objectives for growth and economic recovery, through “Intelligent Communications Transport”. During the Informal Transport and Telecommunications meeting in Lefkosia (Nicosia) on July 17, the ministers underlined the positive effects of optimising the use of information and communications technologies for transport.
The discussions focused on the integration of two central EU policies, the Digital Agenda for Europe and the EU transport policy. Paraphrasing the well-known abbreviation ICT (Information Communications Technology) to “Intelligent Communications Transport”, the Cyprus Presidency initiated a debate concerning the potential benefits that could arise from the successful interaction of these two policy areas.
Open data as a key element to Smart Transport
The ministers widely acknowledged the enormous economic and social potential of opening up public data for re-use and especially in the case of transport data, as it could be a source for innovative products and services and a real engine for economic growth and job creation.
“Transport data is of great commercial value and offers plenty of potential for re-use. This re-use on transport data can significantly contribute in making transport more efficient and reliable,” the Minister of Communications and Works of the Republic of Cyprus Mr Efthymios Flourentzou underlined.
During the informal meeting, ministers also decided to push for the development of a pan-European Open Data Portal and agreed to incorporate their own national open datasets.
“The development of a pan-European Open Data Portal will contribute to the establishment of new and innovative services for the European society, which will make access to data from across Europe much easier,” Mr Flourentzou emphasised.
The Cyprus Presidency, along with the EU ministers, also stressed the fundamental role that data plays in developing and providing related Intelligent Transport Services (ITS) and highlighted the need of ensuring the availability of, and accessibility to this data.
“By acknowledging that open data is the oil of the digital age, we have to make sure that open data can actually fuel to the expectable extent and even beyond such important initiatives like Smart Transport,” the Vice President of the European Commission Mr Siim Kallas underlined.
Ministers invited the Commission to jointly explore ways to improve access and re-use of transport data.
Deploying ITS and Multimodality in and between cities
During the meeting, the EU Ministers echoed the Cyprus Presidency position for the imperative need of a wider deployment of ITS and the substantial role it can play in fostering economic growth and sustainable mobility. They also acknowledged the need for developing European Multimodal Journey Planners and integrated ticketing.
EU ministers also challenged the European transport industry to come up with innovative solutions for planning and booking trips door-to-door across the EU, using as many modes needed in order to come up with an optimal route and acceptable prices. Industry representatives highlighted the importance of developing multimodal journey planners for Europe and its citizens.
“The deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems has enormous potentials and useful applications to all modes of transport. Our citizens deserve an effective ITS in Europe,” the Cypriot Minister said.
The outcome of the meeting, which shapes the Presidency’s Conclusions will be presented at the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems to be hosted in Austria in October.
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Watch the press conference here