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Open data was high on the agenda of the roundtable conference organised by the Flemish Region last week. Flanders has decided to make its traffic data available to the private sector, thus encouraging the development of digital traffic applications.
The roundtable conference on 25 June was the closing event of an extensive stakeholder involvement process which brought together the public and private sector to discuss priorities for the deployment of intelligent transport systems in Flanders with a 2020 horizon. Four thematic areas were identified: smart traffic management, smart travel, smart safety, and smart logistics. Following the priorities and action points set out for each of these thematic areas, the Flemish government will develop an ITS Action Plan for Flanders that should be ready by spring 2014.
Open data was defined as a cross-cutting horizontal priority. The Flemish government has a huge amount of traffic data available, including information on traffic jams through the Flemish traffic management centre, the traffic signs database, travel information from public transport operator De Lijn, information on available parking spaces in cities, etc. To date, this information is publicly available but not yet easily accessible. Making these data more accessible, will encourage the private sector to develop dedicated and realtime traffic applications for the traveller, made available for example through smartphones.
Flemish Minister for Mobility, Hilde Crevits, also announced an ITS trial project and pointed out that the Flemish government, despite the budget constraints it is facing, still invests 25 m€ per year in smart mobility, including variable message signs, route control and smart weighting systems for trucks.