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Connected and Automated Driving (CAD) is an important area of digital technology that will bring disruption to individuals, economies, and societies. Most forms of CAD require some level of infrastructure support for their safe operation. Additional infrastructure and services to support CAD have the potential to improve safety even further, and to bring other benefits such as increased capacity or reduced congestion. However, the infrastructure requirements from OEMs are not always clear, and it is difficult for NRAs to predict and plan for the future levels of support needed for CAD given rapidly evolving technology and uncertain projections of future CAD demand. There is a need for better dialogue among NRAs, OEMs and service providers to articulate those requirements and to define a roadmap and responsibilities for achieving safe and smart roads through CAD.

DiREC is a CEDR Transnational Road Research Programme Call 2020 project (September 2021 – August 2023) aiming to establish a common framework to support NRAs to provide better engagement with OEMs and service providers, identify clearer responsibilities and liabilities, and include tools to calculate the costs and benefits of providing different levels of support to CAVs.

Greater engagement and dialogue are key. By understanding the infrastructure and communications requirements of automated vehicles, and the challenges faced by CAVs in an operational environment, NRAs will be able to strategically plan their networks to support CAD, and place themselves in a much stronger position to influence how traffic operates on the network.

A proactive approach to liaising with vehicle manufacturers and service providers will also promote NRA involvement in the services that are developing around digital mapping, localisation, navigation and traffic management. By aligning the digital strategies and plans of the NRAs with the requirements of OEMs and CAVs, and by giving direction to service providers, a common framework for CAD will help achieve major cost efficiencies and facilitate economic transformation. It will help optimise the delivery of infrastructure and communications systems on national road networks in support of CAD implementation whilst helping NRAs maintain their influence over CAD activity.


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The DiREC project will provide the vision, framework, and tools to achieve these goals. DiREC will provide a clear picture of the risks, opportunities, impacts and issues surrounding CAD. It will provide a roadmap to address these, and provide the tools to measure the progress being made towards CAV-ready networks. In order to support NRAs, DiREC aims to deliver the following objectives:

  • A common vision of the requirements for CAV-ready, machine-readable and navigable infrastructure.
  • A practical and flexible CAV-Ready Framework (CRF) that defines different CAV scenarios and the different infrastructure and services that support them, using a service level approach.
  • A clear vision for, and definition of, digital twins among NRAs, including how they can be designed and implemented to support CAD.
  • A review of the legal and regulatory aspects across Europe to enable coordinated and productive progress to support CAD.
  • Practical service level assessment tools to help NRAs measure their progress towards CAV-readiness.
  • A methodology for conducting cost-benefit analysis to help NRAs plan and develop strategies and projects in support of CAD, supported by case studies
  • A tailored roadmap for NRAs that identifies the benchmarks and the steps that could be taken to achieve defined levels of service in the short, medium, and long term.
  • Recommendations for future governance of the CAV-Ready Framework.