ISA system in the 2015 Ford Galaxy

Vehicle manufacturers and safety experts call for database of all speed limits on the EU road network

  • June 8, 2023

Statement on behalf of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC)

Ahead of a key ‘trialogue’ meeting between EU Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission today on rules governing ‘Intelligent Transport Systems’, vehicle manufacturers and safety experts are warning of the consequences for road safety and the advancement of assisted and automotive driving if the EU removes the majority of roads from a planned database of changes to speed limits on the EU road network.

Accurate digital maps of speed limit information are critical to safety systems such as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) (1), assisted driving features, and fully automated vehicles.  The information needs to be updated regularly as speed limits change.  But EU Member States will attempt to delete proposed requirements to update changes to speed limits from the majority of European roads in negotiations at today’s trialogue meeting on the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) directive.

Mandatory updates to digital maps of speed limits and other traffic information such as bridge weight limits were first announced in a directive proposal published by the European Commission in December 2021. The Commission sensibly proposed that all roads should be covered. 

But EU Member States will today demand that the requirements only apply to motorways, some other main roads, and the central areas of less than 100 cities (known as ‘urban nodes’).  

Limiting the coverage so drastically would severely reduce the effectiveness and safety potential of digital speed limit maps.  Motorway speed limits also tend not to vary much, whereas national road speed limits often change as roads pass through town centres and rural areas.  Most urban and rural roads, where the vast majority of collisions occur, will not be covered if the changes go through.   

ACEA and ETSC are calling for Member States to agree to provide information on speed limit location changes across the entire EU road network.  The original Commission proposal gave Member States five years to start providing the information, ample time to prepare the necessary information and systems. 

(1) ISA is a mandatory feature on all new vehicle models in the EU since July 2022, and for all new vehicles on sale from July 2024.