ITS World Congress Melbourne 2016 – IBEC sessions and activities

After organising the successful ITS World Congress in Sydney in 2001, Australia will build on that experience and will host the 23rd World Congress in Melbourne this year from 10 to 14 October.

Each year IBEC organises four Special interest Sessions to show its work on cost-benefits analysis and evaluation in different areas of ITS.  In addition to the sessions there will be an IBEC Annual General Meeting (AGM) and an IBEC reception where IBEC members meet with ITS experts from the three regions to network and informally present IBEC’s work and vocation.

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A summary of the IBEC activities in Melbourne can be found here:

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IBEC session 1: Developments in Benefits, Evaluation and Costs of Road
Charging

 

Author: Steve Morello, Senior Partner, D’Artagnan, USA

This IBEC session on Road Charging had about 45 participants. The underlying assumption for this session is that governments around the world are beginning to assess potential policy initiatives to mitigate the decline in fuel tax revenues by changing the way motorists pay to drive on roads. To address these issues, this session included speakers from Australia, New Zealand, and California who provided current public and private assessments of road usage charging.

First, Andrew Hyles (Director, Transport Economic Reform, Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development) presented “Road investment and charging reform: An Australian Perspective.” As part of the review process, current and emerging challenges being assessed include congestion in key metro areas, expansive road network being funded by a relatively small population, ageing population and costs of congestion. Andrew presented research showing that the current model for road service provision has several key issues:

  • Complicated and far from transparent
  • Inequitable, becoming more regressive
  • Unsustainable – existing revenues such as fuel and excise are declining
  • Inefficient – government is working to ensure that investment income is efficient within the constraints of the current system
  • Lack of price signal – so maintenance and investment decisions are not responsive to demand.

Given these issues, he noted that fundamental reform of road investment and charging arrangements offers significant potential opportunity to enhance system efficiency through market orientated incentives.

Andrew concluded with a summary of the current status about the viability of how Australians fund and pay for roads and key issues to address before implementing RUC with options ranging from no change to very big change.

Second, Steven Newman (CEO, EROAD, New Zealand), presented a view from the private sector on “Benefit Analysis of an Electronic Road Use Charge (eRUC) System” in New Zealand which was launched in February 2010. Steven noted that, beyond the primary direct benefits of an eRUC system (primarily for heavy vehicles) in terms of enabling tax reporting, there are secondary downstream benefits flowing from both the ability to deliver new tax, compliance and commercial services to the platform; and accumulated unique data collected that can be used to deliver a wide range of new services and analytics insights. Steven concluded with the notion that the data available from eRUC delivers a range of downstream benefits including but not limited to monitor congestion and determine its economic impact, improve safety of road network, enhance insurance underwriting, substantiate road investments – demonstrate forecasted cost benefits were achieved – and lower greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

This session then turned to California, where Malcolm Dougherty (Director, California Department of Transportation) provided results of a recent survey of pilot participants titled, “California Road Charge Pilot Program Evaluation.” Malcom first outlined why California is exploring a road charge for all vehicles in terms of aging infrastructure, shrinking funding, increased requirements and vehicle fleet fuel efficiency improvements. The California Road Charge Pilot Project is currently into phase three of a four phase program (phase1: pilot design, phase: pre-pilot activities, phase 3: live pilot and concurrent independent evaluation, phase 4: evaluation, reporting and next steps recommendations). Malcom then presented a range of pre-pilot survey results comprising 3,191 completed surveys (margin of error ±1.73%) out of almost 4,200 participants. The participant perception on satisfaction is 65% satisfied, 31% neutral and 4% dissatisfied. Key questions concerning satisfaction with the enrollment process were summarized with four out of five above 70% satisfied or very satisfied:

Malcolm concluded with an overview of the next steps for the pilot which will include a post-pilot evaluation report covering a broad range of evaluation categories: revenue, cost, operations, user experience, privacy, data security, equity and communications.

The session ended with several questions to all speakers that may serve as a platform for further consideration and future discussions about the benefits and costs of implementing road usage charging as a replacement for gas taxes. Some of the questions were:

  • Does Australia have a potential timeline for HV RUC?
  • eRUC (in New Zealand) has been going on for a long time. Is it ready for prime time?
  • Has California given consideration to how to enforce RUC for light vehicles?
  • How will RUC impact investment decisions for governments?
  • Will RUC have an impact on driver behavior and how?
  • After the California Road Charge pilot is completed, what is next?
  • What is happening with road charge on a national level in the USA?

Presentations can be downloaded here:

Andrew Hyles: Road investment and charging reform – an Australian perspective

Malcolm Dougherty: California Road charge pilot programme evaluation

Steven Newman: Benefit analysis of Electronic Road Use Charging System

IBEC 2 Big expectations towards Mobility as a Service

Author: Martin Böhm, Head of Unit Mobility Systems & ITS Deployment, AustriaTech

In the last couple of years several initiatives on “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) have been undertaken around the globe. Within the MaaS concept, transport services from public and private providers are promoted together as mobility packages for travellers. In this concept no one single mode (e.g. car usage) is the driver for mobility; rather mobility is the driver for single modes (e.g. having a mobility security to travel from A to B). This concept would be based on a systematic change through a changed travel behaviour of people – from ownership of a vehicle towards ownership of mobility services.  The first results from MaaS demonstrations and pilots are now available and have been discussed at the ITS World Congress in Melbourne.

In principal two major driving directions can be seen for MaaS: on the one hand private operators, like MaaS Global with their Whim service, are integrating services and providing demand based solutions to travellers. Secondly public transport operators are opening their platforms to private mobility operators, like car- or bike-sharing companies, to integrate their services into a demand driven mobility service. Both solutions clearly show the main driver: providing mobility services fulfilling the end-user needs and demands. Here the discussion in Melbourne showed that providing such demand driven services in seems easier in urban agglomerations compared to rural areas.  This highlights a challenge in achieving a public policy objective for MaaS: Providing mobility packages to all citizens including both, urban and rural areas.

Coming back to the driver of MaaS services, a global survey undertaken by the European MaaSiFiE project shows that both Public Transport Operators and Mobility Service Providers are seen as the key stakeholders to make MaaS reality. More than 90% of the respondent identified both stakeholders as crucial or very crucial for the implementation of MaaS services. Therefore having both in driving seats is a logical consequence.

In the city of Vienna a MaaS service was piloted by the SMILE-project. Here more than 1 000 persons tested the pilot platform providing MaaS services, having all available services integrated and connected via one commonly defined service interface. The Vienna pilot showed that an integrated service provision, which includes a one-stop-shop ticketing, increases the usage of sharing offers and reduces the usage of private cars – 21% of the pilot users stated to have reduced the usage of their private car. Here the main motivation for the increase in combinations of public transport and car is seen by 69% of SMILE-users in the provision of a quicker alternative. In general the usage of urban Public Transport services was increased by 26% of the users, the acceptance of bike-sharing offers by 10%.

Comparing the Vienna results with those of the UbiGo pilot undertaken in Gothenburg, the findings are somewhat comparable. In Gothenburg a strong acceptance of sharing services could be identified, especially for car-sharing concepts. After car-sharing the second winners were bicycle usage and Public Transport, and here especially bus services. On the other side rides with private cars were reduced by 50%. After the end of the pilot phase 97% of the users wanted to keep using the service.

To summarize the discussions on MaaS undertaken in Melbourne, it became very clear that there is a huge potential in the provision of MaaS services. Users are expecting in their whole life to receive immediate service in response to all their demands – and especially in mobility these immediate demands are currently not fulfilled. The integration of several modes into end-user oriented service platforms has the potential to directly respond to mobility demands and will help support the behavior change from car ownership towards mobility ownership that is already starting to occur.

Presentations from the session can be downloaded here:

Sampo Hietanen, CEO, MaaS Global, Finland : Discover the future of mobility

Jana Sochor, Researcher, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden: Benefits of MaaS- Benefits of UbiGo pilot in Gothenburg

IBEC 3 Evaluation of connected and increasingly automated vehicles

Author: Alan Stevens, Research Director, TRL, UK

Connected and automated vehicles were definitely  “hot” topics during the Congress and there was much discussion of the benefits with pilots and trials now being underway in many countries. This interest was not only technical but economic and policy-related.  IBEC 3 focussed on the evaluation of connected and increasingly automated vehicles and was moderated by Andrew Somers of Transoptim, Australia.

Alan Stevens of TRL in the UK described an impact evaluation approach based on major government interventions but applied to C-ITS. This involves explicit mapping of routes to impacts and clarification of research questions and hypotheses.  He also explained why evaluating C-ITS was particularly challenging due to issues such as bundling of services, the precise use-case and communication option, overlap with existing services and the different time horizons of infrastructure, vehicles and smart devices.

Miranda Blogg of TMR, Queensland described work on pilots of C-ITS involving 1000 participants and also a pilot on cooperative and highly automated driving. This was supported by a rapid cost-benefit assessment based on safety and, using existing transport models, some scenarios predicted a 20% crash reduction from C-ITS and favourable benefit:cost ratios even with relatively pessimistic assumptions. Other modelling work described included automation and shared transport (which allowed use of lower costs of time).  Policy implications suggested were minimising the transition time to automated vehicles and maximising uptake, possibly using pricing signals.  Support for cultural changes was also recommended.

Richard Bishop of Bishop Consulting, USA described the recently published NHTSA guidelines for Highly Automated Vehicle pilots and the implications that these would have for evaluation. The guidelines, which apply to cars, trucks and buses are overtly positive and apply to operators of HAV as well as developers. Elements include a 15-point safety assessment and incident reporting. However, Richard raised question as to how the guidelines would influence public confidence and whether Level 4 “Robo-taxis” will come sooner or later as a result.  Also, as NHTSA imply that the guidelines may be relevant at Level 2, it is unclear the effect they will have on existing driver assistance systems.

Satu Innamaa from VTT, Finland described evaluation of the NordicWay C-ITS corridor involving 2000 participants. The services are all delivered via an App through cellular radio including those related to roadworks, weather and hazards ahead.  Full results are expected in September 2017 but initial questionnaire evaluations are positive with the majority of respondents indicating that the app is useful and it has increased their attention on the road ahead. Satu also described, as co-chair of the EU-US-JP Tri-lateral group on automation, that their first full draft report would be available at the end of 2016 and include discussions on impact mechanisms, experimental procedures, and data sharing.

Following the presentations there was a lively panel discussion prompted by a series of challenging questions from the audience. Topics included how overlaps with existing services can be quantified, how the in-vehicle messages to drivers should be designed and prioritised and the role of standards.  There were also opinions aired around whether highly automated driving would be a “heaven” or “hell” in terms of congestion and whether passengers in highly automated vehicles could actually use the time productively due to poor ergonomics and travel sickness.

Presentations from the session are available below:

Alan Stevens, Research Director, TRL, United Kingdom

Evaluating the impact of cooperative ITS

Miranda Blogg, Project Manager (ITS), TMR Queensland, Australia

Cooperative and automated vehicles in Queensland

Satu Innamaa, Senior Scientist, VTT, Finland

Impact assessment of Cooperative Warning System in NordicWay pilot