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A common set of data exchange specifications are defined to support the vision of a seamless interoperable exchange of traffic and travel information across boundaries, including national, urban, interurban, road administrations, infrastructure providers and service providers. Standardisation in this context is a vital constituent to ensure interoperability, reduction of risk, reduction of the cost base, promotion of open marketplaces and many social, economic and community benefits to be gained from more informed travellers, network managers and transport operators.

Especially in Europe, delivering transport policy in line with the White Paper issued by the European Commission requires co-ordination of traffic management and development of seamless pan European services. With the aim to support sustainable mobility in Europe, the European Commission has been supporting the development of information exchange mainly between the actors of the road traffic management domain for a number of years. This model supports a methodology that is extensible.

To be able to successfully connect systems and start exchanging data, in an interoperable and easy way, there is a need to describe and agree on how the exchange should be done. This is set out in a data exchange specification. Data exchange in different scenarios can have different needs and requirements. Therefore, several data exchange specifications can be needed. Data exchange specifications need to address two main issues. First, they model the stakeholders and actors involved in data exchange, each potentially in different roles, as well as abstract exchange patterns for their interactions. Second, they select a suitable implementation platform and clearly specify how the abstract scenarios and patterns are effectively implemented on this platform. The diagram in Figure 1 shows such an abstract communication scenario from the perspective of a road operator who requires data exchange interfaces between the different components of its own operational systems, either between centre side components or between centre and field devices, but also to exchange information with other road operators or service providers.

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