Cross-border collaboration on the management of major traffic incidents has always been a challenge for everyone involved, especially in difficult places such as the Alpine region. The transit roads running through the Alps face more and more serious dangers: accidents in tunnels, avalanches, mudslides or flooding – colossal problems that can cripple key traffic routes and cause havoc to road and rail traffic. The Steinbeis Innovation Center for Logistics and Sustainability is a partner in an EU project called TranSAFE-Alp. The aim of the project is to establish a real-time platform to map critical traffic and transportation areas in the Alps.
The goal of TranSAFE-Alp (or in its entirety: “Connecting transport regional networks to security and emergency advanced strategy frameworks of European and Alpine regions”) is to provide decision-makers with a software- based decision-making platform to help them quickly manage emergencies and dangerous incidents. The platform should build on previous experience with incidents in the Alps.
The platform will be called JITES (Joint Integrated ICT Technologies for Emergency and Security Management), and when it is ready it will be in a position to capture real-time data on incident-critical transportation routes in the Alpine region. It will then draw on this data to calculate and suggest intervention scenarios. The platform works along innovative simulation lines, taking different factors into consideration such as efficiency, safety and communication, essentially bringing together each regional crisis management plan.
The project involves eleven partners from Italy, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. The project partners from Germany are from the Sinsheimbased Steinbeis Innovation Center for Logistics and Sustainability (SLN), plus the geographic information system (GIS) working group at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich. The Steinbeis center was invited to work on the project to assess the requirements of different user groups while using the IT solution. This was as part of empirical studies which the center carried out in collaboration with DIAPS, the German Institute of Active and Passive Safety. The study involved surveying 47 experts from the different countries in the Alpine region. The largest group within the sample consisted of 27 people working in traffic management, followed by 15 traffic infrastructure operators and 7 people working in civil defense and for rescue services.
The survey found that there are already a number of actors in the Alpine region collaborating on cross-border initiatives. But it also found that there are repeated problems with data sharing because of the variety of interfaces involved. Currently, over 60% of the respondents working in traffic management encounter problems with data sharing. It is therefore important for this group to have interfaces that are compatible with existing technical platforms. Time and again, the quality of data is also proving a new challenge for the people involved. There are sometimes gaps when integrating additional information such as weather reports/ conditions and rescue plans for specific incidents.
The potential users of such Web-based platforms are extremely interested in real-time information to support decision-making. The success of the JITES platform will therefore hinge on a variety of factors, such as the compatibility of the platforms already in existence, how up to date they are, and user-friendliness. All factors come together with the new JITES platform.