BITS Advisory Group meets for the first time
On 20 February 2020 three members of the Advisory Group and work package leaders of the BITS project held their first BITS Advisory Group meeting at the Provinciehuis of the Province of Antwerp. When we established the BITS Advisory Group it was envisaged that the external members would give strategic guidance to the project (based on their specific expertise as authority, ITS provider or knowledge centre) and that they could activate their networks to provide additional input to the project and at the same time disseminate the results of the BITS project to their network. And this is exactly what happened during the first BITS Advisory Group meeting.
ITS implementations and state-of-the-art
While discussing the State-of-the-Art study that is now in its final phase, it was noted that such an overview will be very useful, since there is not yet comparable work done elsewhere. A Service Directory listing all ITS providers and their system/services offered would be a valuable tool, but it also needs maintenance and quality control, which should be continued also after the end of the project. The Advisory Group members also provided examples of other ITS implementations that could be relevant for the current and planned ITS implementation in the BITS project. Evaluation of the ITS implementations in the BITS project is a challenging task, but the general survey in combination with implementation specific evaluations should provide a sufficient basis for the impact assessment.
Currently there are different standards being developed, e.g. for bike sharing, but also a Datex 2 standard for bicycle counting data and trace data has been developed in The Netherlands. It is important that these standards are not only used in one country; these should be developed and applied on a European level. This is a topic that requires more in-depth discussion with all stakeholders, also in the light of the European Commission’s Delegated Regulation on the provision of Multimodal Travel Information Services.
Another topic that led to extensive discussion was ‘data ownership’. For companies data is considered as their currency and we see more and more debates on data ownership. A lot of parties (even if experienced and advanced in cycling) struggle with it. Public authorities should in principle demand the ownership of the data from their suppliers, since they pay for it. Also, GDPR is relevant in this discussion as all requested data should have a purpose. The three external members of the Advisory Group that were present at this meeting (Province of Utrecht (NL), National Data Warehouse on traffic data (NL) and Ecocounter (FR)) all are very interested to share their data via the CycleDataHub of the BITS project that is currently being implemented by the Province of Antwerp. They clearly see the added value of sharing these data with other parties, which can lead to better policy and improved ITS services.
At the end of the meeting the Advisory Board members reflected on the first BITS Advisory Board meeting and they requested to be kept informed more frequently. The BITS project management team is happy to organise this, since the added value of the Advisory Group was clearly demonstrated in this first meeting. It clearly demonstrated that reaching out to each other to share knowledge, experience and data is the best way forward in making cycling smarter.