With the contribution of the LIFE programme of the European Union - LIFE17 ENV/GR/000215 and the co-financing of Green Fund, Greece
Voluntary Sharing of Data Key to boost Competitiveness of
the EU Road Transport Sector
IRU supports the objectives set out in the European Union Data Act but urges for “voluntary sharing of data” between parties to boost trust and unlock the potential of data-driven innovation in the road transport sector.
The European Commission published the Data Act proposal, which aims to provide a harmonised framework for data sharing across the European Union. This is the last horizontal building block of the Commission's data strategy.
IRU welcomes the Data Act proposal as it has the potential to unleash the value of the EU data economy. However, it needs to focus more on incentivising data sharing and building trust through voluntary data-sharing mechanisms rather than imposing strict obligations on parties at this very early stage of developing Europe’s data economy.
In the transport, logistics and mobility sectors, innovation relies increasingly on the processing and exchange of large amounts of personal and non-personal data between multiple actors. In addition, innovative solutions in goods and passenger transport such as connected vehicles, smart cities and digital platforms have led to an increase in the use of generated data. We know how crucial data is to gain more insights on customers, routes or vehicle loads, as well as how commercially sensitive such data can be.
IRU Director of EU Advocacy, RALUCA MARIAN said: “Trust is the cornerstone of data sharing in a successful digital economy. This can only be established through equal opportunities, where sharing business-generated data remains voluntary. Road transport digitalisation has the potential to bring many benefits to companies, consumers and society. But only if done right”
She added: “forcing the provision of business data by making it mandatory would stifle innovation and could hamper the competitiveness of businesses. It could also further increase the power of a few actors at the expense of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and start-ups. Voluntary data sharing should apply to all companies, whether public or private, operating a purely commercial service or under a public service contract and regardless of their ownership structure”.
The EU Data Act proposal establishes a data governance framework which addresses key principles that IRU has called on relating to:
the obligations of the parties when it comes to access to data (reciprocity),
the prior explicit consent from the data recipient or from the data generator (i.e. the transport operator),
interoperability and standardisation to avoid the risk of data lock-in and reduce the costs of investment for operators, especially for SMEs in the sector, and
compensation/redressal mechanism for breaches of contractual obligations
These positive elements are certainly a step in the right direction but require clarification.
IRU will be actively engaging with co-legislators to achieve a robust EU legal framework on data sharing to ensure all businesses remain competitive in the digital economy.