With 72% of Europeans moving by car and 60% of freight being transported by trucks, road infrastructures play a vital role in Europe's mobility and toll roads form a key part of those networks. Against this background, the 45th annual ASECAP Study and Information Days, that were held from 29 to 31 May 2017 in Paris, looked at how toll motorway operators prepare their road infrastructures for transport decarbonisation and respond to the new mobility challenges.
The 2017 ASECAP Days were a not-to-be-missed-out opportunity for toll road operators, policy makers and public and private stakeholders to address a broad range of issues. Topics included financing of new mobility trends and needs, EETS, cooperative intelligent transport systems, sustainable mobility, road maintenance, automated and connected driving technologies, security and data protection issues and protecting and preserving the environment.
The first day was devoted to a major political session that will focus on the new procedures to be followed to finance the latest mobility needs and trends. Reliable and safe road networks are crucial for the European economy and Europe’s citizens. Therefore, with public budgets under strong pressure, the concession model remains a powerful tool to well maintained and high-quality road infrastructures that make use of modern technology to accommodate connected and automated driving, car sharing, carpooling and the use of mobile technologies (apps). Collectively these will contribute to decarbonising transport, promoting multimodal transport and supporting new mobility trends. Throughout the day, financial experts, policy makers, managers from the toll industry shared their ideas and experiences on the topic and provided solutions that could be applied.
Furthermore, during the day, three policy sessions were dedicated to the following issues:
• Current state-of-the-art on EETS (European Electronic Toll Service);
• Actions undertaken by toll road operators to ensure a smooth transition to more innovative, safe and efficient ITS solutions, and focus into how automated and connected vehicles could deliver all the promised results;
• Road maintenance: insight into ASECAP members’ innovative actions to provide road infrastructures offering the highest standards of safety.
Two technical sessions and one marketing session mainly shaped the second day. The first technical session provided an insight into the actions and projects by toll motorway operators to reduce CO2 emissions and explored how they preserve the fauna and flora alongside their network. The highlight of the second day was a keynote address by an FBI Special Agent working in the Cyber Branch who looked at how toll road operators could and should respond to the key challenge of securing their computer systems and data in the context of an increasingly digitalised motorway sector. In addition, a marketing session was for ASECAP members the opportunity to present innovative projects concerning their marketing activities towards road users.
Finally, as a closing session, the EU and US - through IBTTA - presented their ideas in the light of the current and future key challenges for the toll industry.