The new ISO technical specification, ISO/TS 14823 presents a system of standardized codes for existing signs and pictograms used to deliver traffic and traveller information (TTI) and will help Information technology systems (ITS) to work effectively, employing common principles and practices within regions and, as far as possible, globally.

ITS offers unprecedented potential for increasing the level of service to travellers, the efficiency of current infrastructure, and improving safety, convenience, and cost-efficiency. Among the potential benefits of ISO/TS 14823 are improving the environment, including air quality and noise abatement, and saving travel time and cost and as well as making travel time more productive for business travellers and more agreeable for all travellers. It can also facilitate the use of alternate or multiple travel modes, improving travel times and helping to load-level the transportation system.

The coding system presented in ISO/TS 14823 can be used to form messages to be handled by respective media systems, graphic messages on on-board units, and media system information on TTI dissemination systems. These types of information are required by travellers for their pre-trip planning, as well as their in-trip plan modification based on information obtained through media systems.

A system handling graphic messages generally comprises TTI system operators, media systems and communication networks interconnecting these systems. ISO/TS 14823 relates to:

- TTI systems operators, which include:

  • traffic management centres (TMC),
  • traffic information centres (TIC),
  • parking information centres (PIC),
  • public transport centres (PTC),
  • value-added service providers (VASP)

- Media systems, which include:

  • on-board units (OBU),
  • variable message signs (VMS),
  • personal computers (PC),
  • public access terminals (PAT).

The main part of the standard explains the concepts of graphic data information service to the users who need TTI information service, and presents an overview of the user service. Information elements contained in messages provided by pre-trip and in-trip information services can be broadly divided into these types:

  • traffic sign information: danger warning, regulatory, informative
  • public facilities information
  • ambient/road condition information.

Adopting unified graphic data is expected to improve the understandability of the graphic information by the user and thereby increase the convenience of TTI systems.

The purpose of the graphic data dictionary (GDD) presented in ISO/TS 14823 is, in order to facilitate the data exchange between media, to catalogue graphic images like traffic signs and pictograms specified and used uniquely in each country and to assign them a certain code.

ISO/TS 14823:2008, Traffic and travel information - Messages via media independent stationary dissemination systems - Graphic data dictionary for pre-trip and in-trip information dissemination systems, was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 204, Intelligent transport systems. It costs 230 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).