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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
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.
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.

  Sensible Solutions - evolving sensor technology in ADAS. 18/10/2004
What chance have the Swedes - or anyone else - of achieving a zero tolerance of fatal accidents? Leaving aside those reckless souls for whom no amount of education or technological assistance is likely to make a scrap of difference, by how much can the various ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) projects improve safety on the roads? And at what price? At what stage does technology risk crossing into the tangled web of driver responsibility, of running foul of an increasingly litigious community? Is there, in other words, a fail-safe means for technology to assist in the process of saving lives?

  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. 26/07/2004
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. 12/05/2004
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. 28/04/2004
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.

  For whom the Galileo tolls. 20/04/2004
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. 22/03/2004
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 15/04/2004
Drivers are likely to be 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. 25/02/2004
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? 10/02/2004
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?

  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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