In the beginning came the eSafety Initiative, launched by the European Commission in 2002 as a tool to act upon the white paper 'European transport policy for 2010: time to decide' published in 2001. Its starting point was the idea that modern information and communication technologies (ICT) could make an important and novel contribution to road traffic safety and to the reduction in road fatalities. The Commission therefore convened all relevant road safety stakeholders (road operators, the automotive industry, emergency services, telecom service providers) to accelerate the deployment of these safety systems, and to get support for further scientific research on them. The forum was named eSafety Forum: its main aim was to contribute to the European Commission's 2001 goal of halving the number of fatalities on Europe's roads by 2010.
Following up on that, the eScope project (January 2004 – December 2005) was a Specific Support Action that supported the eSafety initiative by establishing an "eSafety Observatory". eScope monitored and encouraged eSafety Forum progress and activities and served as an easily accessible and up-to-date resource for information on priority eSafety topics. eSafety Support (January 2006 – September 2009) thereafter succeeded to eScope and in its turn stimulated and monitored the activities, progress and results generated by the eSafety initiative by offering support to the eSafety Forum and its Working Groups, and by disseminating results to all stakeholders.
After years of social change that took into account traffic-related environmental issues such as fuel efficiency and reduction in pollutant exhausts to the same level of importance as traffic safety, the eSafety Initiative became part of the Commission's new Intelligent Car Initiative. The eSafety Forum not only took into account changes in the policy and social framework, but also changed its name to reflect its field of work and include ICT systems for resource-efficient and clean mobility in addition to ICT-based safety technologies: the iMobility Forum was born. Succeeding to eSafety Support, a new support action was launched in 2009: iCar Support (December 2009 to November 2012). iCar Support focussed on supporting the implementation of actions and recommendations resulting from the work of the iMobility Forum and the Intelligent Car Initiative.
The Intelligent Car initiative has now come to an end and is followed by a new initiative: the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE). The DAE defines the key role of ICT to enable Europe to succeed in its ambitions for 2020. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020 with a €70 billion budget, will combine all research and innovation funding currently provided through the Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the innovation related activities of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).Within this area, actions 92 to 95 of the Digital Agenda refer to transport. In particular, Action 92: Increase the speed of Intelligent Transport System (ITS) take-up, in particular for road and urban transport, by applying the proposed ITS Directive in support of interoperability and rapid standardisation.
Furthermore, in 2011 the European Commission published its Transport White Paper, which sets out a vision for a competitive and sustainable transport system, growing transport and supporting mobility while reaching a 60% emission reduction target by 2050, through ten goals and benchmarks, some of which will require ITS services and applications in order to succeed.
In order to further promote the deployment of ITS in Europe, ITS Action Plan was adopted by the Commission, followed by ITS Directive in 2011. ITS Directive focuses on six priority pan-European ITS services which include eCall and traffic and traveller services (safety related and multi-modal).
In line with the DAE, the Transport White Paper and the ITS Directive, the iMobility Forum has taken active role in implementing the actions. For this reason new Working Groups have been created where relevant, such as legal issues, vulnerable road users and automation.
Furhermore, iMobility Support succeeded the iCar Support. It will support the deployment of intelligent mobility in Europe by coordinating iMobility Forum activities, including stakeholder networking, deployment support, awareness raising and dissemination of results. It will actively support all the constituencies of the iMobility Forum and therefore ensure the continuity of the work initiated by its predecessor.