Damian James' Blog: 6 April 2009 - Hi GINA
06 April 2009
Damian James is Head of Transport Provision for Bracknell Forest Council and a technology champion
One of the many things that I get through my mailbox is information on road safety, particularly linked to the ongoing fight to reduce the number of deaths on the roads of Europe by half.
This would mean 25,000 lives saved every year. This ambitious target was set in 2003 and the target end date is 2010.
Among the initiatives there is one with the catchy title of GINA or to give it the full name Global Navigation Satellite System for Innovative Road Applications.
This project is all about using technology to potentially charge drivers who use the road network. Now that in itself is nothing that we haven't all heard before but this project is looking at the feasibility of actually doing that. It is going to have 100 cars equipped with the necessary on-board units, which will be driven around Holland for six months.
The results of this trial will be fascinating to see because with such a large amount of data gathered it will give real insight into how a charging system might actually work.
As we inevitably get closer to having road pricing it is essential the technology that will introduce one of the most contentious issues for motorists can be used for other applications as well. The beauty of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is that it can. Whilst the majority of motorists might not like the idea of paying for using the roads by being tracked, the benefits may well overcome the doubters.
Using GNSS you have the ability to summon help at the touch of a button and the emergency services know your exact location. It has the ability to diagnose faults on your vehicle and notify a garage. The first you will know of it will be when the garage phones you to book your car in for repair. It will reduce the speed of your vehicle so you can drive round that approaching corner rather than skid off the road and into the waiting tree.
These benefits are in addition to things like automatic notification of traffic queues ahead and an alternative route suggested, as well as locations of the three nearest chemists because you need to get a prescription on your way home.