Crocodile wins International Transport Forum’s freight award for smart use of data

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A project to establish a trans-national data-exchange infrastructure to end the breakdown of cross-border traffic information has won the International Transport Forum’s (ITF) 2016 Transport Achievement Award in the freight category.

The ITF Transport Achievement Award recognizes a demonstrated achievement of excellence in transport provision in two categories: passenger and freight. The award will be presented during the ITF’s Annual Summit, the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and the leading global platform for dialogue on transport policy, which takes place in Leipzig, Germany, on May 18-20.

The winning project, Crocodile 2, was launched in 2013 to establish a trans-national framework to collect and exchange data for putting into place concrete improvements for road users, such as dynamic traffic safety information or information on parking space availability for truck drivers. The €31m (US$46m) project, which is slated for completion in December 2018, has been co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T program.

Crocodile 2 addresses congestion and traffic gridlock problems in border areas of Central and Eastern Europe that are caused by coordination gaps among road operators in a region that comprises several small countries, with different languages, and has high levels of cross-border traffic from three main trans-European road transport corridors: Baltic-Adriatic, Rhine-Danube, and Orient-Eastern Mediterranean.

The Crocodile consortium consists of partners representing the entire value chain, from raw data to end user services. It involves national ministries and their agencies, road operators and service providers from 13 countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Within the project, partners agreed on a harmonized data exchange specification based on Datex II, installed sensors and cameras on thousands of miles of roads, upgraded truck parking facilities, improved traffic management centers, developed and improved several applications and, not least, brought together officials in a move to establish national access points for traffic data exchange. Completed at the end of 2018, Crocodile 2 will continue and enlarge the activities. The ITF award jury saw in Crocodile 2; ‘a significant achievement in harmonization of national ITS-related activities in the field of road transport’, and praised the project for its; ‘good results regarding institutional collaboration in a context posing significant challenges”‘.

Martin Böhm of AustriaTech, the Austrian government agency that coordinated Crocodile, said, “This award acknowledges that cooperation and harmonized information exchange is one key to improve the traffic situation in an area with several small countries, with different transport network characteristics. We see Crocodile as a starting point, and are convinced, that our way is leading towards a safer and more efficient road transport system.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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