European project to develop CO2 assessment methodology for intelligent transport systems

13 December 2011  •  Source: ERTICO

In a new project that began on 1 November 2011, Europe is taking a further step to scientifically underpin the estimation of CO2 emissions. The project, AMITRAN, will develop a methodology to assess the impact of ICT (information and communication technologies) and ITS (intelligent transport systems) on CO2 emissions from the transport sector.

Gerdien Klunder, AMITRAN’s coordinator and a researcher at TNO, explains why the project was set up. “ITS is a rapidly growing field in which there are numerous technologies and applications under development, and quite a few already on the market. Despite this, there is no consistent methodology allowing scientists to estimate potential CO2 emissions that the deployment of such technologies could reduce – and this information is critically important for decision makers, for example, in the context of climate change agreements.”

Han Zwijnenberg, also of TNO, adds: “While there are traffic and emission models that cover specific aspects of the mobility system, the interfaces between them are problematic. AMITRAN will ensure that models can ‘communicate’ with each other in order to provide a ‘well-to-wheel’, comprehensive and accurate assessment of emission reductions.”

The application of ICT to the transport sector comprises a wide variety of services that aim, among other things, to reduce emissions and maximise energy efficiency, increase safety, manage transport demand, ensure transit reliability and improve traffic flow. Examples of such ITS applications include navigation and travel information systems, route advice, supporting drivers in adopting an eco-driving behaviour, logistics and fleet management systems, optimised traffic light phasing at intersections, reserving parking space and road tolls.

With the launch of the White Paper Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area[1], the European Commission has proposed the ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector by 60% for the period 1990-2050. Since present transport emissions are 27% above 1990 levels, this will be particularly difficult to achieve. This is where the value of ICT measures come into their own by helping transport to become less carbon intensive and more efficient. AMITRAN is perfectly aligned to this goal as it will develop scaling-up methodologies that estimate impact on a European level by extrapolation from local results.

Project workflow

Led by DLR, the project starts with the definition of user needs and use cases based on the active participation of stakeholders. ITS applications are then grouped into categories according to the pathways influencing CO2 emissions. The next stage, led by TNO, involves the definition of system boundaries, system architecture and model requirements. Based on this, PTV will lead the development of the methodological framework to assess CO2 emissions, the interfaces between existing models, and the identification of any gaps to be filled. Validation tasks and an impact assessment are coordinated by Tecnalia. The goal is to use the methodology developed during the project to demonstrate the effects of ITS on CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, driver behaviour, and traffic flow.

Jean-Charles Pandazis, head of ERTICO’s EcoMobility sector and responsible for dissemination, explains that active participation from external partners will be sought: “Coordination and cooperation with the relevant players will be fundamental to the success of this project. We will invite organisations from sectors not currently represented in the consortium to have a seat at the Advisory Council, and we’ll keep open communication channels with other ongoing projects in the field of ITS.”

The final result of the project will be a checklist and handbook that can be used as a reference for future projects to assess the ITS benefits in terms of CO2 emission reductions. The handbook will cover both passenger transport and freight through a multimodal perspective (road, rail, and ship – short sea and inland navigation). Both the checklist and the handbook will be publicly available online along with supporting documentation.


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