Effective dialogue between the main stakeholders is the key to transforming organisational arrangements from concept into reality. A task force of the major players can help to develop voluntary agreements and Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs) on matters of common concern. For example, in Europe, MOUs on cross-border data exchange and on the provision of the language-independent Radio Data System / Traffic Message Channel (RDS/TMC) on FM radio were agreed in fora which provided the opportunity for all interested parties to work together to discuss problems and agree on practical solutions.
The body which is made responsible for the high-level coordination of ITS developmen must have sufficient standing to be able to influence the decisions of key stakeholders on issues such as conformance to ITS architecture, data exchange formats and the use of standards. A good example is the European ITS Directive (See ITS Directive) which determines the specifications which specific ITS services must follow for deployment in Europe. The roll-out of ITS services may also require voluntary cooperation agreements.
A national or regional steering committee with high-level political backing can be very effective in bringing together all the main stakeholders to focus on achieving a common goal. It requires the support of a dedicated interagency coordination unit or some kind of technical panel drawn from the participating authorities. International, national, and regional public/private partnership organisations - such as ITS America, ITS Canada, ITS Europe (ERTICO), ITS United Kingdom, ITS Australia, and ITS Japan (VERTIS) - can play a useful part in setting up this consultation machinery.
In parallel, at the national or regional level, it may also be useful to create an advisory panel of other major stakeholders in ITS - including any significant private-sector actors - for advisory purposes. The Minnesota Guidestar Program14 in the USA follows this practice. In Paris, there is the Consultative Committee on Road Information Broadcasting for service providers. In Japan, the VICS Coordinating Council, has responsibility for planning the VICS advanced traveller information system. In Europe, the ITS Advisory Group (See ITS Advisory Group), performs this role in relation to the ITS Action Plan and Directive.