In spite of its lengthy and somewhat unwieldy title, the PrepDSpace4Mobility project has an easily describable goal – to find a workable solution to the issue of how best to share European mobility data. Intertraffic met with Dr Nikolaos Tsampieris, to find out more about its key objectives and how its members are going about achieving them.
The exponential increase in the generation of transport data over the last five to 10 years has been well documented. What has not been discussed with such regularity is how best to share it. The EU-funded PrepDSpace4Mobility Coordination and Support Action (CSA) is doing just that.
The 12-month long CSA is setting out to lay the foundation for a common, secure and controlled way of pooling and sharing mobility data across Europe. It contributes to the development of the common European mobility data space by mapping existing data ecosystems, identifying gaps and overlaps and proposing common building blocks and governance frameworks found in existing data space architectures.
A highly experienced consortium composed of multiple private and public mobility experts with key competencies in mobility, economics, and digital technologies is working on the PrepDSpace4Mobility CSA. The team are supporting what is being referred to in European circles as a new era of mobility data sharing, focused on the principles of trust, interoperability, and sovereignty, where data can be made available, accessed, and securely exchanged across Europe.
As the project website says, PrepDSpace4Mobility represents a ‘vital pillar for the future deployment of a single market for mobility data.’
So, Intertraffic asked one of the CSA’s 14 leads, Dr Nikolaos Tsampieris, what are the leaders and stakeholders looking to achieve during its various phases?
“PrepDSpace4Mobility contributes to the development of the common European mobility data space by supporting the creation of a technical infrastructure that will facilitate easy, cross-border access to key data for both passengers and freight,” he says. “Under the Digital Europe Programme of the European Commission, PrepDSpace4Mobility will deliver an inventory of existing data platforms and marketplaces which allow for sharing data relevant for mobility and an analysis of gaps and overlaps of data, identify potential common building blocks, and opportunities for integrating the mobility data space and data ecosystems in the emerging European data and cloud services infrastructure.”
PrepDSpace4Mobility contributes to the development of the common European mobility data space by supporting the creation of a technical infrastructure that will facilitate easy, cross-border access to key data
Developing a data space that lives up to the expectations and requirements of all stakeholders sounds like a wholly complex task.
“Across Europe, various data ecosystems that collect and share mobility and logistics data already exist. Over the last few months, PrepDSpace4Mobility has been busy researching and exploring these ecosystems across the continent to get an extensive overview of the current European landscape.
“The project works in liaison with the Data Spaces Support Centre and the Alliance for Industrial Data, Cloud and Edge to ensure alignment.to ensure alignment with the European Data Spaces Technical Framework.”
THE AIM OF THE GAME
The goals, therefore, for September 2023 when the CSA concludes can be narrowed down to three major, achievable points.
• Provide an inventory of existing data platforms and marketplaces which allow sharing data relevant for mobility and logistics
• Analyse gaps and overlaps of data available in mobility and logistics, and
• Identify common European mobility data space (EMDS) building blocks and opportunities for integrating the EMDS and other sectoral data ecosystems in the emerging European data and cloud services infrastructure.
Two expert workshops were organised by ERTICO, on 10 May and 14 July as part of the CSA. The first provided a platform for mobility and logistics stakeholders to share their needs and requirements in the field of ITS to support the development of the upcoming EMDS and to ensure that these are effectively and adequately taken into account in the preparatory action for the EMDS, the PrepDSpace4Mobility Coordination and Support Action.
Says Tsampieris: “The focus of the workshop was on exploring the different building blocks required for data collection and data sharing in the mobility and logistics domains. Furthermore, participants explored different technologies and standards, the challenges and opportunities associated with each of them as well as the governance frameworks (including policies and regulations) for fair and transparent data sharing and management in the context of the emerging EMDS.”
The second workshop explored the various elements required for data collection and sharing within the concepts and structures of several ERTICO-affiliated Mobility Data Spaces and Innovation Platforms, in order to further PrepDSpace4Mobility’s aim to help establish the basis for collecting and sharing mobility data across Europe in a secure and controlled way.
“This workshop invited participants to delve into the different technologies and standards as well as the challenges and opportunities associated with them, while exploring business models and the governance frameworks, including policies and regulations,” he adds.
THE ENDING IS JUST THE BEGINNING
With the project coming to a close in only a few weeks time, the EMDS can look forward to the deployment stage in the form of a new EU-funded Digital Europe project, deployEMDS,
The second workshop invited participants to delve into the different technologies and standards, while exploring business models and the governance frameworks
Tsampieris, who organised both workshops, commented: “The workshops have been highly productive for the important work PrepDSpace4Mobility is carrying out in Phase I by setting up the building blocks of the common EMDS. The first workshop took stock of stakeholders’ needs while this workshop was focussed on exploring the existing Mobility Data Spaces as potential foundational units of the EMDS”.
The PrepDSpace4Mobilty Consortium, led by Acatech, consists of 14 partners from five European countries. The actions are carried out by a project team comprised of leading experts from the private and public mobility sectors, including Research Institutes, Universities, Associations, Transport Authorities and private companies, with key competencies in mobility, economics, and digital technologies.
“To ensure appropriate representation and high-quality project results, PrepData4Mobility has established a pan-European consortium comprising suppliers and users of data”, Tsampieris explains. “An Advisory Board comprising leading experts from industry (mobility, transport, and technology), associations and research including legal experts in the field will ensure quality assurance.”
Within the project, a skilled communication team has undertaken targeted exploitation, dissemination, and communication activities to transparently communicate the results.
European projects (and CSAs), ideally, need to have saving time, lives, fuel and/or money as part of their founding principles. How many of those boxes does PrepDSpace4Mobility tick and, just as crucially, how will society at large benefit from the realisation of its objectives?
“Europeans generate vast quantities of mobility data every day,” Tsampieris responds. “However, the current use of this data falls short of its potential to make European mobility safer, more sustainable and inclusive. Data spaces address these issues. They can provide clear business, legal and governance, technical, and operational frameworks to support data sharing within a data ecosystem whilst ensuring compliance with relevant laws and fair treatment of everyone involved.”
Europeans generate vast quantities of mobility data every day but the current use of this data falls short of its potential to make European mobility safer, more sustainable and inclusive
Given the enormous potential of data and digital technologies, the project is expected to have a positive impact on European competitiveness, society, and the environment.
Says Tsampieris: “PrepData4Mobility will deliver an inventory of existing data platforms and marketplaces which allow sharing data relevant for mobility and an analysis of gaps and overlaps of data, identify potential common building blocks, and opportunities for integrating the mobility data space and data ecosystems in the emerging European data and cloud services infrastructure.”
Dr Nikolaos Tsampieris is Senior Manager, Innovation & Deployment at ERTICO and the company’s lead in the 14-member PrepDSpace4Mobility CSA.
Visit the PrepDSpace4Mobility website for more information.