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DATEX II – Data exchange made easy

Aug 19, 2021

DATEX II has proven to be a groundbreaking ITS standard. Not only the content of the standard itself but also the whole DATEX II ecosystem contributes significantly to harmonisation of traffic and traveller information on European roads.

What is DATEX II?

DATEX II defines a common set of data modelling specifications to support the vision of a seamless interoperable exchange of traffic and traveller information across borders. The European standard ensures that there is no room for misunderstandings or translation errors between transmitter and recipient of a message. DATEX II is primarily aimed at national, urban and interurban road transport operators, infrastructure operators (such as truck rest area operators) as well as various ITS service providers (traffic broadcaster, automobile clubs, routing providers, etc.). DATEX II is a technical specification published by CEN (TC 278 for "Road Transport and Traffic Telematics") as CEN/TS 16157. Currently, DATEX II is available in the main version 3.0.

Why DATEX II?

The ITS Directive (2010/40/EU) with its six Priority Actions (a to e) form the legal basis for harmonisation and flawless provision of traffic and traveller information across Europe. The Delegated Regulations supplementing the ITS Directive have direct legal force on the Member States in order to ensure interoperability in cross-border traffic. Member states are encouraged to base the implementation of these Priority Actions on existing technical specifications and legitimate standards, such as DATEX II.

Who is behind it all?

The DATEX II organization is a committee of experts formed by of IT and standardization specialists in the traffic domain from various EU Member States. The organization is responsible for the maintenance and development of the data model as well as specifications for the implementation of interoperable ITS services. Furthermore, it provides free user support (Helpdesk), DATEX II specific tooling and documentation material. The DATEX II website also serves as a central and publicly accessible collection point for DATEX II nodes, profiles and DATEX II extensions (models not yet part of the standard).

National Implementation

In the CEF DATEX II Programme Support Action, AustriaTech and the national road operator ASFINAG act as "Implementing Bodies" of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK). A main focus of the national efforts within the DATEX II project was the compatibility of the standards concerning the requirements of the EU Delegated Regulations. Despite the availability of the standard, interoperable data exchange between operators is not necessarily guaranteed, as different data providers create DATEX II profiles independently of each other and use them according to their national frameworks and specifications. To guarantee interoperability of information services, reference profiles need to be implemented. Systems implementing the same DATEX II profile are interoperable by definition. To support the EU Delegated Regulations on ITS, the DATEX II organization develops and publishes Recommended Reference Profiles (RRP) - profiles that define a unified selection of certain data categories and data elements derived from the entire DATEX II data model. As of the main version DATEX II v3.0, the so-called "Schema Generation Tool" is provided, where DATEX II users can design their own profiles based on predefined reference profiles, in a way that they meet their individual purposes while ensuring conformity with the EU Delegated Regulations.

DATEX II Reference Advice and Validation Tool

AustriaTech has taken a crucial role in the work on reference profiles in terms of the development of the Reference Advice and Validation Tool ("RAV Testcenter"). The RAV Testcenter gives DATEX II users the opportunity to perform conformity-checks of individual generated DATEX II profiles against predefined DATEX II reference profiles. Validation rules and criteria, that are composed of predefined DATEX II data sets, are provided for testing user profiles with regard to the requirements coming from EU Delegated Regulations. The current version of the RAV Testcenter provides a validation routine for profiles with regard the requirements coming from EU Delegated Priority Action ‘e’ for ‘Safe and Secure Truck Parking (DATEX II v2.3 reference profile).

The role of DATEX II in Cooperative-ITS

Another focus of AustriaTech in the DATEX II project was the coordination of the “C-ITS Harmonisation” activity. Due to the coverage of common domains between newly introduced C-ITS services and already established DATEX II nodes of road operators, the requirement arose to develop the DATEX II data model in a way that users can utilize their existing DATEX II implementations as an interface to C-ITS systems. With the current version of the specification, compatibility problems have been tackled and technical capabilities have been created in order that implementers are able to integrate DATEX II in the C-ITS information supply chain more efficiently.

Please visit https://www.datex2.eu/ for the latest information on the available DATEX II version and information on events.

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