Written evidence submitted by ITD United Kingdom (SDV0034)


ITS United Kingdom was established in 1992 as a membership association dedicated to advocating for the implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the UK and for innovation in ITS.  ITS can be defined briefly as the application of information and communications technologies to surface transport.  We have around 150 organisations as members (https://its-uk.org.uk/our-members/ ).  Our Connected Vehicles Forum contains nearly 400 UK technical, road safety and behavioural experts who are working in the connected and automated vehicle field.


We are happy for our submission to be published and we welcome further questions, to jmartin@its-uk.org.uk .  In addition to CAVs, we have a wide range of knowledge on topics such as technology based road traffic law enforcement, smart motorways, road pricing, traffic management, reducing emissions from road traffic, and technology for bus and rail operations including ticketing and fleet management.  We welcome requests for information at any time.


Our response to the points listed in the inquiry:


likely uses, including private cars, public transport and commercial vehicles


Emphasis should be given to connected vehicles as well as automated ones – they are  not the same. In the discussion around self-driving vehicles there is a lot of attention paid to the “automated” part, but very little to the “connectedpart. And this, while connectivity is an essential ingredient in the whole setup.


There is ample evidence of benefits to all road users, from existing human driven vehicles to bikes, eScooters, horses and pedestrians, of connected vehicle services but these are not as attention (or budget) grabbing as self-driving cars. Systems such as GLOSA (Green Light Optimised Speed Advisory) can reduce emissions from all vehicles, connected parking services reduce time to find a space and eCall improves safety, but all these are stifled due to the emphasis on autonomy rather than connecting what is in place now.


The fact of the matter is that connectivity engineering  is a “best efforts” business with limited or no SLA’s or performance parameters whereas cars and vehicles are very tightly engineered systems. In addition, the connectivity providers (i.e. mobile operators) are not willing to share any data they have available on the performance of mobile networks and their ability to support CAVs in anything but the most generic terms (i.e. “we are the best network in the UK”). There needs to be a fundamental shift in data insight into the performance of mobile networks – i.e. insights need to be provided  on a granular, location-specific basis. Without it, we will struggle to make the “connected “ part of CAV’s work.


progress of research and trials in the UK and abroad


In connected vehicles, the UK suffers from small scale poorly funded pilots (compared to autonomy) and has yet to roll out national scale services unlike the Netherlands’ “Talking Traffic” for example. There is too much research into autonomy with potential long term benefits compared to deploying what is already available at scale.


potential implications for infrastructure, both physical and digital


Digital Traffic Regulation Orders will be needed for both connected and automated vehicles, but  the skills to start to deploy these and funding are not in place yet for local roads authorities.


There is wide debate about cellular vs beacon technology, but most connected services can already be deployed over 3G/4G services. China has adopted cellular widely, the US legal fight for beacon technology has been lost and few EU vehicle makers use beacon technology, so it is now time for the UK to make a decision.


the regulatory framework, including legal status and approval and authorisation processes


This is well developed in the UK, thanks to work by DfT / CCAV and the Law Commission, both of whom have consulted widely with industry.


safety and perceptions of safety, including the relationship with other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and conventionally driven vehicles


Again connected and automated need to be considered separately – connected services like eCall can improve road safety for all road users.


the role of Government and other responsible bodies, such as National Highways and local authorities; and potential effects on patterns of car ownership, vehicle taxation and decarbonisation in the car market


Local authorities lack the skills to become digitised and to exploit data from connected vehicles, let alone support automated vehicles. Government should procure data centrally and collate in a single point.


Full autonomy is likely to produce significant changes in vehicle ownership patterns but this is a long way into the future, not least due to affordability. 



August 2022