Practical learnings from test sites and impact assessments

4 March 2021

The aim of  the Site automation practical learnings (STAPLE) project is to provide a comprehensive review of aspects of connected and automated aspects of test sites and beds to understand the impact of these sites on National Road Authorities (NRA) business and functions. The project provides necessary know-how on these sites to road administrations to support their core business activities.

The report presents practical learnings, assessment of impact and a socio-economic assessment.

Implications for NRAs have been broken down into specific categories as outlined below, with sub-categories detailing individual findings:

  • Testing environment, such as highway, urban, interurban
  • Type of facility, such as open and closed tracks, off-road trials, data trials and simulation trials
  • Use cases including highway chauffeur, platoons and HD mapping
  • NRA priority areas of safety, traffic efficiency, customer services as well as
  • maintenance and construction, and
  • Role of NRAs, such as test site shareholder, if they provide the road for trials, have an involvement with the test site or are a customer.

The report provides insights regarding various aspects related to impacts of test sites. In addition, a socio-economic assessment considers potential economic benefits of connected and automated driving use cases, as well as the potential social benefits.

Key findings include:

  • The level of involvement from NRAs can significantly influence the research focus and outputs of the test sites,
  • A combination of open and closed test site environments is desirable to gain the positive effects of respective environments,
  • NRAs have to adapt their organisations and strategical work in order to be able to fully realise the potential of different test sites,
  • NRAs also have a significant role to play in cooperating with research projects and making data available for industry to test and develop products and technology solutions,
  • Close cooperation between test sites, NRAs and manufacturers should be encouraged,
  • NRAs, test-sites and wider industry need to understand each other’s motivations and business cases,
  • What has worked in the past regarding training and qualifications, is unlikely to work in the future.

The project builds on previous work by CEDR and other national and European organizations, as well as on the consortium’s expertise from several relevant research initiatives.