ETIS plus

European Transport policy Information System

ETISplus builds up on the conclusions of ETIS project (2005). The project is expected to finish in 2012.

Several innovations and extensions are proposed by this project:

 An important innovation will be the use of intelligent transport systems to provide data feeds. The innovative approach of data collection is further elaborated in a subsequent paragraph.

 Another important innovation will be the development of a business model in order to make the system self-supporting

 An important extension will be the expansion of the geographical scope. In the first place this will include the two latest member states in more detail. Moreover accession countries and neighbouring countries will be divided into zones and the networks will be detailed. The links to the rest of the world will be also be detailed, by using country level instead of ‘country blocks’ for large areas of the other continents and to improve the databases containing sea transport and air freight in which the work in WORLDNET is leading.

 The current situation of data collection in new member states and neighbouring countries illustrates that available data is not comparable with data from older member states. Within this project, efficient cost-effective methods will be identified and applied to improve the quality of the existing and new databases. Moreover the institutional organisation of data collection will be assessed and based on a benchmark whereby improvements will be proposed and tested.

 Another extension will be the inclusion of more data on variables that influence transport and data relating to the effects (consequences) of transport. More indicators relating to logistics will be used, including a classification of freight transport into containers, dry bulk, net bulk and other, this in addition to the classification by the NSTR-group. Links to private databases – such as the use of vehicle stocks in transport firms will also be tested.

 The existing and new data will be laid down in a data framework – information architecture model:
o ontology: a data model containing “a set of concepts within a domain, and a set of relationships between these concepts” – a controlled vocabulary, and set of formal constraints applied to its usage.
o metadata: “data about the data” e.g. Dublin Core Metadata.

 The base year of the present ETIS database is 2000; it is proposed to add 2005 and 2008 as new reference years. The year 2005 is used by WORLDNET and TENCONNECT linking the outcome of the projects. The year 2008 will be the most recent year that can be used as a reference during the course of the project. As policy makers and modellers prefer a reference year to be as recent as possible the double approach is useful and provides modellers the opportunity to analyse the developments between the two reference years and the relationship to the current ETIS base year 2000.

 The data on passenger and freight transport in the present ETIS database is restricted to interregional transport and the results do not correspond to those presented by EUROSTAT. By introducing data on intraregional transport the gap will be closed. Specific attention will be paid to the collection of the data, as well as to the inclusion of intraregional data in the assignment process.

 Technical challenges also exist since successive projects have chosen different implementation strategies. ETIS-AGENT pioneered the client-server approach providing access via a dedicated browser-based extraction tool, with a high level of functionality in terms of being able to combine data sources in order to calculate indicators. However, in practice, applications based on ETIS data e.g. TRANSTOOLS and REORIENT have tended to use simpler data exchange methods e.g. ftp, text files, MS Access and so on. These are simple work-arounds but they all suffer from potential versioning and duplication problems and lead to issues related to intellectual property rights. They can only be loosely integrated into the idea of a central repository. REORIENT and now WORLDNET have revived the idea of a server based system, but with simplified access and greater reliance on existing technology, it offers a potential solution.

 The introduction of a specific data validation procedure. A specific Work Package deals with this matter, applying data screening, data evaluation and data validation, lead by a consortium partner not involved in building the database itself; it can be regarded as an internal quality control procedure.

 A strong focus on stakeholders participation and commitment. During the project a communication Work Package will guide the involvement of a technical oriented data group and a modelling/user group on consensus building, evaluation methods, data formats, collection methods and validation rules. The involvement of member states, the statistical offices, infrastructure operators and others will further be enforced in a policy oriented Work Package, aiming at the assessment of priorities for improvements during the project and the achievement of support for further exploitation and maintenance after the project finished. However the main objective of the project- to support the TRANSTOOLS modelling set and the user requirements as defined in several framework projects has to be leading in setting priorities for additional details and extensions.

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