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Patrick Hook Associates have long experience in the field of ITS publishing both as working journalists and as copywriters to marketing professionals within the industry. We list below some of our most recent features.

 

  Count down to safety. 4/4/2005
ITS related projects have, over the recent past, enjoyed a mixed fortune as the industry has struggled to find the killer application that would begin to offer some return on the many millions spent on R&D. Major programmes like the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative in the USA, the Advanced Safety Vehicle in Japan and a host of EC sponsored initiatives within the European Union have sought to identify the direction in which intelligent transport technology should be going.

  The Idris File
An Interview with Idris iventors, Bob and Andy Lees
21/3/2005
Horses and ITS R&D are not commonly found under the same roof. However, on the farm where Diamond Consulting Services has its headquarters, visitors compete for the available car parking space with a large horse-box emblazoned with the name of the company's highly successful Idris detection and classification technology. It was here that I was to interview the inventors of the Idris system, Bob and Andy Lees.

  Cranking to a halt - is remote engine interference worth the effort? 10/1/2005
Remote engine degradation is back on the agenda as evidence emerges of a renewed interest by the automotive industry in ATSVR (After Theft Systems for Vehicle Recovery) technology. And while there continues to be some doubt about its future direction, there seems little doubt that the current spate of enquiries can be traced to the publication last year of the draft CEN pre-standard on vehicle immobilisation and rising concerns at high-value vehicle crime.

  Class of 2005 - Pre-judging the issue.
The following article was written for Diamond Consulting Services, the developers of the IDRIS product.
10/12/2004
Growing concern over increased levels of congestion at tolling plazas and their inherent inefficiency is leading to a radical re-think on ways of improving the through-flow of traffic. In the US this has led at least one major tolling operator to look at the option of pre-class tolling despite the considerable difficulties that such a course represents.

  Car Sparks - what price automotive electronics? 5/11/2004
Automobile manufacturers are facing a glum future with several of the major names in the industry reporting disappointing quarterly returns. And the mood has, over the past few months, been increasingly reflected in concerns over the rising cost of electronic systems in new and upcoming models - a cost which has had to take into account a poor record of reliability and the consequent warranty claims in an area of vehicle production that now accounts for around 90% of innovations in new vehicles.

  Sensing a safer future - the PReVENT project. 01/09/2004
One of the more ambitious plans to emerge from the European Commission in recent years is expected to result in a substantial reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on European roads and help achieve the EU's target of a 50% reduction in accidents by 2010.

  Charging into the future. 20/08/2004
In the clearest indication yet of the determination of the European Commission to press ahead with road user charging as a tool of traffic management, the EC has issued an invitation to tender for an 18 month study designed to examine the practicalities of a fully interoperable, pan-European telematics platform. The Mobile Location Unit - Telematics On-board Terminal for Road Vehicles project(1) is expected to provide an assessment of the feasibility of such a platform being used for a range of services, including electronic tolling, traffic management, improved response times for the emergency services and increased road safety.

  DSRC - threat or promise? 21/07/2004
A new report from an American research organisation claims that the emerging DSRC market has serious implications for motorists and the general public in its ability to track and log the movement of vehicles. At the same time, Canadian officials have raised questions about the future direction of RFID technology.

  Road user charging changes gear. 13/07/2004
Road user charging (RUC) is rapidly climbing the European political agenda as the EC presses for the development of appropriate technologies and agreement on issues of interoperability. The new-found enthusiasm probably has more to do with the realisation that therein lies an untapped source of revenue rather than any genuine desire to see an improvement in levels of congestion or reduction in harmful emissions into the atmosphere. But whatever the underlying motive, the principle of road user charging is now firmly within the focus of governments around the world with the expectation that RUC will become relatively commonplace within the next decade.

  Patently obvious - why patents are important. 30/6/2004
ITS companies spend millions in R&D. They must if they are to increase or even maintain market share in the fast moving world they inhabit. Whether developing X-by-wire, co-operative vehicle/highway systems, off-board navigation or advanced communications systems for telematics, the costs are substantial and the potential rewards huge. But who would be willing to undertake such a venture without some guarantee of commercial success? What insurance is there that predatory companies will not immediately make use of the new technology so laboriously and expensively developed?

  Problem solving in Makkah. 12/5/2004
There can be few cities in the world where the population rises by several thousand per cent for a few days of the year and then subsides again. Where, for most of the year, the streets and hotels and shops are virtually empty but for two weeks are filled to bursting point and where special measures must be put in place just to handle the pedestrian, never mind the vehicular traffic. But this is the problem faced by the Saudi Arabian authorities within the Holy City of Makkah al Mukarramah during the festivals of the Hajj and Ramadan.

  Looping the loop - Idris technology. Article prepared for Diamond Consulting Services. 28/4/2004
The problem is not new. Around the world, increasing volumes of traffic compete for road space that cannot keep pace with demand. And as the available space effectively diminishes, the requirement for management/enforcement of traffic regulations becomes more acute. In turn, this leads to a sharply increased potential for conflict between the regulatory authorities and the driving public. There exists, as never before, a need for systems of detection and enforcement that leave nothing to chance. A failure of even modest proportions will, almost inevitably, lead to a crisis of confidence by the motoring public in the fairness of the system and the subsequent collapse in the ability of the authorities to enforce traffic legislation.

  Tacho debate gets personal. 5/6/2003
Fears that the European haulage industry is to be forced to accept out of date technology have led to calls for a meeting with the European Commissioner responsible, Loyola de Palacio.

  For whom the Galileo tolls. 20/4/2004
The collapse of the satellite-based tolling project in Germany in mid-February, may have been a blow to German national pride and may even have seemed to have put back the cause of satellite-based traffic management. Certainly the threatened withdrawal of the contract from the Toll Collect consortium was blamed by the German Chancellor, not on politics but on the supposed inability of the technology to perform in the electronic tolling arena and on problems with supplies. But whatever the effect of the headline-grabbing news on the minds of the general public, the use of satellites as a means of improving road safety and introducing an alternative technology for wide-area tolling continues to forge ahead.

  Ring Around Stockholm. 22/3/2004
Stockholm looks set to become the latest city to embrace the culture of congestion charging when it begins trials of its electronic toll collection system in about June next year. But as the city authorities prepare to award the contract for the 18 month trial, questions continue to dominate the political scene about the long-term future of the initiative, and the final outcome is still far from certain.

  Prepared for Telematics Update as publicity material for an eTolling conference in June 2004. 15/4/2004
Drivers are likely to forced to pay to use all major routes in Europe within the next seven years if plans under active consideration by the European Commission come to fruition. Several states, including Austria, Germany, the UK and (outside the EU) Switzerland have either implemented wide-area tolling for heavy goods vehicles or are shortly to do so. In the UK, the government has already launched a public debate about the introduction of wide-area tolling for all vehicles some time after 2011.

  Are you being watched? - The role of telematics in wide-area surveillance. 25/2/2004
Several years ago, Commander David Ray, Scotland Yard's then head of traffic policing said, while giving evidence to a Parliamentary Committee on road transport, that the evidence from proliferating roadside CCTV cameras could not be guaranteed to be used solely for the management of traffic. The implications of his words were clear. The police would use any and all legal means at their disposal in their fight against crime, never mind that some systems might have been set up and paid for, for an entirely different purpose.

  Where to next in tolling technology? 10/2/2004
Whatever one's personal views about London's congestion-charging scheme, there can be no denying that it has and continues to have an impact on political thinking in Westminster and throughout the United Kingdom. The government has already introduced enabling legislation to allow local authorities to impose congestion charging schemes in England and Wales and, from 2006, is expected to launch a national distance-based charging scheme for heavy goods vehicles (HGV). This is likely to be followed by another road-user charging system for all motorists sometime after 2011. What are the practical and political implications for this policy? Is the available technology accurate enough and robust enough to handle the huge volumes of data that national schemes will require? Perhaps more to the point, is the technology accurate enough not to sink the whole idea before it has even begun?

  Excellence comes as standard - A look at the Idris Automatic Vehicle Classification system. 10/2/2004
Road tolling, seen by many, as the answer to increasing traffic congestion, is in danger of adding to the problem rather than helping in its solution. As the volume of traffic rises, the need for its control grows, but current systems designed to reduce demand, particularly on the inter-urban roads network, stand accused of creating a raft of additional problems. So what is the answer? Can demand-management systems be devised which make more efficient use of the available roads network? Can technology help?

If traffic flows are to be improved or even maintained at their present levels, there is no question that greater attention will need to be paid to road traffic management systems throughout the world. And while advances in in-vehicle and road-side technologies have certainly had an impact on improved levels of road-safety and its corollary, reduced congestion, there is a generally held perception that, ultimately, demand-management, in transport terms, is about road-pricing.

  On the case - the creation of an insurance industry led standard for vehicle tracking. 13/1/2004
A telematics scheme, designed to remotely degrade the engine power of stolen vehicles and assist in their recovery, is expected to be made available in the UK in 2005. Field trials are already under way that will, it is hoped, lead to the creation of a European standard.

CAT 5 has been developed by Thatcham, the British insurance industry's research and development establishment, in co-operation with the UK police, with the aim of improving the recovery rate of stolen, high-value vehicles.

  Standard recovery - the up-coming European standard on vehicle tracking systems. 25/12/2003
Vehicle thefts, particularly of high value cars and those intended to be taken abroad, are now a source of major concern to the police forces of Europe as well as insurance companies and vehicle owners. With the imminent expansion of the European Union eastwards and the resultant inclusion of a number of states with weak border controls, the problem is set to become more acute. In an attempt to deal with the issue, manufacturers have introduced a range of security devices designed to make the illegal physical removal of the vehicle as difficult as possible. The most recent development in this long evolutionary process is the introduction of tracking and recovery systems, known generically as After Theft Systems for Vehicle Recovery (ATSVR), for which CEN (Comite Europeen Normalisation) is shortly expected to publish a standard.

  Excellence comes as standard - the development of induction loop technology. 2/12/2003
Road tolling, seen by many, as the answer to increasing traffic congestion, is in danger of adding to the problem rather than helping in its solution. As the volume of traffic rises, the need for its control grows, but current systems designed to reduce demand, particularly on the inter-urban roads network, stand accused of creating a raft of additional problems. So what is the answer? Can demand-management systems be devised which make more efficient use of the available roads network? Can technology help?

  No pain, no gain - the argument against a revenue-neutral congestion charge. 20/11/2003
Road-user charging is a political hot potato. It probably ranks alongside the introduction of the compulsory use of seat-belts and the wearing of helmets by motor cyclists, in its ability to raise the blood pressure of the motoring public. It has and will continue to generate, massive amounts of press coverage wherever the subject is raised. At issue is the degree to which a previously free-at-the-point-of-use service is now to be charged for, against the level of improvement that any such system may bring to the lives of motorists and the wider community.

  Are you being watched? - the role of telematics in surveillance. 3/11/2003
Several years ago, Commander David Ray, Scotland Yard's then head of traffic policing said, while giving evidence to a Parliamentary Committee on road transport, that the evidence from proliferating roadside CCTV cameras could not be guaranteed to be used solely for the management of traffic. The implications of his words were clear. The police would use any and all legal means at their disposal in their fight against crime, never mind that some systems might have been set up and paid for, for an entirely different purpose.

Subsequent events have, if anything, strengthened the resolve of law enforcement agencies around the world to make full use of emerging technologies. Satellite, CCTV, computer and biological technologies have all been involved. So what role can intelligent transport systems in general and telematics in particular be expected to play in wide area surveillance?

  Charging problems - Six months of congestion charging in London 26/09/2003
Next month, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone is due to present his first report on the controversial congestion charging scheme he introduced in February of this year. It will come against a background of continuing opposition from certain politicians and sections of the retail industry as well as a significant number of motorists. Next Spring, the mayor faces an election in which his chief opponent has vowed to scrap the whole idea of a charging zone. Livingstone himself has admitted that his political future depends almost entirely on the public's perception of the success or otherwise of the experiment but remains confident that he will be re-elected. Meanwhile, around the world, major cities including New York, Chicago and Milan, are watching events with close interest with a view to introducing their own congestion charging scheme. So what is happening in London and what is the future of its plan's for expanding the principle of congestion charging?

  Shouldering the problem 05/09/2003
The English Highways Agency is to follow in the footsteps of the Americans, the Dutch and a number of other countries in the routine use of hard shoulders as normal 'running' lanes. Although part of a wider Active Traffic Management scheme that will include a controlled motorway system and ramp metering, it is the issue of hard shoulder running (HSR) that is causing the greatest level of controversy.

  UK Reports on Charging Technology 06/06/2003
The UK government has published the second of its progress reports on the proposed introduction of distance based charging for lorries in the UK, from 2006.

  Tacho debate gets personal 05/06/2003
Fears that the European haulage industry is to be forced to accept out of date technology have led to calls for a meeting with the European Commissioner responsible, Loyola de Palacio.

  Telematics free-fall? 21/05/2003
What is happening to the telematics market? Where has all the promise of a telematics-driven future gone? Has the industry as a whole fallen victim to its own marketing hype? Or is the answer more complicated than that?

  Smart Travel 29/04/2003
By Christmas the whole show should be up and running. By then London will have become the latest - and largest - city in the world to embrace smart card technology in its public transport system.

 
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