General Introduction

This part of the document portal gives a general overview to understand what DATEX II is. It represents an introduction and some help to understand more specific descriptions of parts of DATEX II.

What is DATEX II?

DATEX II is the electronic language used in Europe for the exchange of traffic information and traffic data. The development of DATEX II was initiated in the early nineties because of the need to exchange information between traffic centers of motorway operators. Soon there was the need to open this information to service providers. DATEX I was somewhat too limited for this and used outdated technical concepts. Which is why DATEX II was developed in the early years of this millennium. By means of DATEX II, traffic information and traffic management information is distributed in a way that is not dependent on language and presentation format. This means that there is no room for misunderstandings and / or translation errors by the recipient, but the recipient can choose to include spoken text, an image on a map, or to integrate it in a navigation calculation. In a way, it is like a natural language, with grammar and a dictionary.

DATEX II is a standard for the traffic and travel information sector to share data to deliver a comprehensive information service to the end user.

DATEX II was designed and developed as a traffic and travel data exchange mechanism by a European task force set up to standardise the interface between traffic control and information centers.

DATEX II provides to road operators and road data providers, documentation, Unified Modelling Language (UML) model and eXtensible Markup Language (XML) tools to exchange road data in a homogeneous way.

The need for standardization

Allowing the exchange of traffic information to take place directly between control room operating systems considerably increases the safety and performance of transportation networks. With any exchange taking place at the system level, information is transferred instantaneously and does not involve the intervention of the operator, allowing for faster more responsive management of road networks. This ‘dynamic system state’ lies at the heart of the concept of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). When considering the volume, availability and accuracy of data, combined with the many descriptors of traffic state or situations, the importance of the concept is clear. The harmonisation and standardisation of data structures and data exchange services are fundamental challenges for both the information society, as well as for ITS. DATEX II is a specification which is meant to operate and represent the interface between the worlds of dynamic traffic and IT. The coordination and harmonisation of traffic management measures between road operators is an essential part of maximising the capacities of their road networks to reduce the negative effects of congestion, whilst improving safety.

What is DATEX II used for?

Information exchanged with DATEX II systems covers amongst others:

  • Traffic situations

  • Traffic status

  • Traffic Management

  • Messages displayed on Variable Message Signs (VMS)

  • Service information

  • Parking

  • Truck parking

  • Urban Traffic Specifics

  • Electromobility infrastructure

  • Refuelling and recharging

  • Management of Electronic Traffic Regulations

  • Urban Vehicle Access Regulations

DATEX II is of relevance for all applications where dynamic information on the road system is concerned. The main service types that are facilitated by DATEX II are:

  • Traffic management information from operator to operator

  • Real time high-density traffic information and route guidance based on measures taken by road operators

  • Provision of journalistic traffic information in human understandable formats (and content)

  • Dynamic route navigation based on traffic conditions and Traffic Management (TM) measures

  • Joint network management by multiple road operators

  • Joint network management by road operators and service providers (TM2.0)

  • Data collection for traffic management

  • Cooperative ITS

DATEX II enables the common understanding of traffic by road operators and service providers across any border. It thereby contributes to road safety, traffic flow and the environment on European roads in a variety of domains, such as:

  • Motorways

  • Urban roads

  • Parking

  • E-mobility

  • Logistics

  • Cooperative and Connected Mobility

Special attention is paid to interoperability issues resulting from the need for multiple operator cooperation and the unhindered exchange of data or information. DATEX II is also designed to be used within single operator systems.

Why DATEX II is a strategic choice