Companion app

The CITRUS companion app envisions to implement a number of Day-1 and Day-1.5 services.

Day-1 services are:

  • Traffic jam ahead warning
  • Stationary vehicle ahead warning
  • (Mobile) Road works ahead warning
  • Truck-aware traffic signal regulation

Day-1.5 services are:

  • Real-time logistics-specific traffic information
  • Intelligent dispatching

CITRUS not only deploys the Day-1 applications with the highest value for the Belgian logistics sector, it also provides all the needed foundations to allow the rapid deployment of all the other Day-1 and multiple Day-1.5 applications in additional follow-up initiatives.

Technical approach

CITRUS develops, deploys, tests and operates a companion app for truck drivers, based on the cellular C-ITS approach. Information that is directly relevant truck drivers will be geo-broadcasted over cellular networks (e.g. LTE). This avoids the use of costly, dedicated ITS-G5 communication capabilities. This pragmatic solution towards rapid C-ITS deployment of services supports the CITRUS use cases. Network throughput and delay is handled in an appropriate and cost efficient way. At the same time, the project enables ITS service providers to approach C-ITS as a natural evolution of their current ITS services. This avoids additional costs to the logistics sector to invest in dedicated on-board units or equipment.

This approach is also in line with the latest developments in C-ITS research, as underlined in the German flagship project Converge. Within Converge, a (hybrid) architecture based on the concept of a Geo Messaging Service enabling C-ITS communication using both cellular networks and ITS-G5 as wireless carriers was presented.

CITRUS focuses on a swift and cost effective first deployment of C-ITS in Flanders. The Day-one services will maximally build on available and mature (communication) technologies while countering interoperability issues related to ITS-G5 based solutions (i.e. separate, isolated deployments in pilots all over Europe). The chosen LTE-based approach perfectly matches with such a scenario, as it will drive and support the smooth creation of a broader C-ITS ecosystem in Flanders, Belgium. This supports a scalable and stable expansion in terms of users and services, while enabling additional services providers to easily step in.

The validation of this approach in a fully operational deployment is a major goal of this study plus pilot deployment. CITRUS also will produce valuable insights in the business-related aspects connected to the (complex) value chain of C-ITS, and in technical directions for further, sustainable and interoperable deployment of C-ITS solutions; as such it will lay the foundation for a broader roll-out and uptake of C-ITS applications in Flanders, and Belgium.


Test region

For most of the C-ITS services related to safety and efficiency, the initial roll out concentrates on the core (motorway) network in Flanders. In particular, motorways E17, E19, E34, E40 and E411, and ring roads R0 +R1 will be used for the roll out. These motorways are the main national and international transport arteries in Flanders. They cover a major proportion of motorway congestions, roadworks and safety related incidents which are reported.

The GLOSA-related Service (Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory) will be studied, tested and operated on the N203a. The N203a is a semi-motorway connecting the R0 surrounding Brussels with the E429, connecting Brussels with the French boarder. The use of this road for a GLOSA-related service is very interesting. The Halle area harbors major Distribution Centers (DC) of project partner Colruyt. Over a 1000 daily transfers, which use the N203a, between depots and local retail supermarkets are expected allowing for a proper analysis of the impact of a GLOSA-related service.

In addition, the N203a serves as a major thoroughfare for heavy traffic from Brussels to the French border and vice verso. This roads runs through the conurbation area of Halle, a suburban area around Brussels that is characterized by a high human population density, mixed between industrial and commercial zones. As a result, the N203a in particular suffers from numerous ‘residential’ traffic crossings and significant freight flows. Despite previous attempts to improve traffic flow, the situation on the N203a remains problematic with daily traffic jams and a high frequency of traffic accidents.

If proven successful the GLOSA- technology developed also would be deployed on the N31 (core network) where a few remaining intersections cause delays and fuel-consuming stop& go operations for HGV approaching or leaving the maritime Port of Zeebrugge.

Subject to successful piloting, the Road Agency plans to investigate the wider roll-out of the approach on critical sections of the (urban) network and in particular the conurbation zones of Gent (R4, Port off Gent) and Antwerp (core urban node – e.g. A12 still equipped with traffic lights on numerous intersections).