Urban-ITS Location Referencing Harmonisation



Mobility and travel get us to places – real world locations.  Most of us are familiar with relating real world locations to one form of model or other, such as a map. This is the essence of location referencing – relating a real world position or object to a modelled representation of the world.  Thus, the way in which we organise data related to travel is done by creating models of the real-world – models that support efficient processes, query and retrieval. As one would expect for different business purposes and in different communities different concepts have led to a diversity in the forms of these models.  This can create practical challenges for organisations and individuals who are trying to assimilate or aggregate data from different sources or share data between disparate services and applications – as the rules governing different forms of model have not be built to support interoperability between these models. 

Due to the nature of the siloed developments for different application there are, for individual applications, no hooks, as the location referencing system has been designed to only fulfil the needs of that application. The problems come when one needs to combine or compare the data and information from one application with that from another.

The challenge of this Project Team is to address the need to provide means of improving the integration and translation between different relevant forms of location reference – through the provision of guidance and in some cases technical solutions.



The objective of the project is twofold:

  1. to summarise the background and the existence of the multitude of location referencing systems used by Urban Administrations backed up by a database of occurrences of location referencing schema, and
  2. to create a specification that will detail a toolkit for building translators/concentrators between the profiles of location referencing systems used within an urban authority.



Objective 1 will result in a CEN Technical Report:

Intelligent Transport Systems ‐ Location Referencing Harmonisation for Urban‐ITS ‐ Part 1: State of the art and guidelines

With the following scope: Applicable location referencing specifications, standards and Directives; a concise guide to location referencing methodologies; based on a survey of location referencing methodologies applicable to European transport authorities and operators.

The first draft of the Technical Report is expected to be available on 31 November 2017.


Objective 2 will result in a CEN Technical Specification:  

Intelligent Transport Systems ‐ Location Referencing Harmonisation for Urban‐ITS ‐ Part 2: Translation methods

with the following scope:Specification of translations between location referencing methods applicable in the urban transport environment.

The first draft of the Technical Specification is expected to be available on 28 February 2018.


How it will be undertaken

CEN/TC 278 established a project team (PT 1703) with dedicated experts. The Project Team (PT) agreed on a methodology which involves outreach, standards collection and analysis. Most of the work is done as homework, and by web and face to face meetings.  Priority is given to Outreach to the stakeholder groups at every stage of the project.

The work of PT1703 is based on the recommendations and contact list from PT1701 Additionally, links from PT members to a wide range of stakeholders are used. An informal liaison with other groups such as TISA, DATEX and Transmodel has been established.

PT1703 will:

  • Provide a tool kit for the City Engineer to be able to make systems that mix and match data from a variety of urban transport systems to provide an integrated service and provide real help in an understandable and practical way, with an eye to future services.

PT1703 will not:

  • Invent an entirely new Location Referencing System; or just make a Location Referencing system that incorporates all known systems; or promote one system over others.
  • Provide a universal transformation solution and be obsessed with total accuracy (accepting that autonomous vehicles are a different future case).


Related projects

Several projects are currently in development in response to the EC Standardization Request M546

Work under development:

Call for tender started (until 5 November 2017, see www.cen.eu)

  • Intelligent Transport Systems - Urban-ITS - Mixed vendor environments Methodologies & Translators
  • Intelligent Transport Systems - Urban-ITS - Mixed Vendor Environment Standards
  • Intelligent Transport Systems - Urban-ITS- Mixed Vendor Environment Guide
  • Intelligent Transport Systems - Traffic Management Systems -TM Data Models
  • Intelligent Transport Systems - Traffic Management Systems - TM interfaces and information
  • Intelligent Transport Systems – Urban ITS - Models and Definitions For New Modes