Cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS)
Standard Development Organizations (SDOs)

Edition 29. June 2020


This online guide informs about SDOs being active in the C-ITS standardization domain.


Goals of standardisation

Major advocates of ITS
Further advocates active in C-ITS
Secondary SDOs



Standardisation in general is the process of generating specifications by a recognized authority, i.e. an SDO, applying the principle of consensus finding in the working groups of an SDO prior to formal approval by voting according to the rules of the SDOs.

Generating specifications outside of SDOs typically is a faster process of generation specifications than the process of standardisation, as the principle of consensus building amongst a group of stakeholders with typically at least slightly diverging interests and business models does not need to be applied. Consequently, standardisation is a somehow slow process that can result in compromises and standards composed of options, such that these standards cannot be used as "blueprints" for the development and production of interoperable equipment.

Regulatory requirements complement standards and specifications, and have to be considered for deployment of equipment and operation of services in the given regulatory domain.

Goals of standardisation

The purpose of standardisation, in general, is to enable or facilitate services of the respective standardisation domain, i.e. C-ITS services provided by ITS applications for the ITS service domains. Particularly, the purpose of standardisation is manifold, aiming on e.g.:

  1. technical interoperability at observable communications interfaces, covering e.g. mechanical, electrical, and logical requirements;
  2. portability of applications, enabling e.g. online download of applications from station management centres and execution of them on different technical platforms;
  3. syntactical and semantical interoperability in terms of data and messages;
  4. minimum functionality from the users point of view;
  5. minimum performance to ensure reliable execution of use-cases;
  6. facilitation of implementations;
  7. reliable protected operations in terms of privacy and (cyber) security;
  8. provision of commonly agreed terms and definitions, i.e. a common language;
  9. commonly agreed modes of operation, i.e. work methods;
  10. a global market;
  11. prevention of vendor-lock-in;
  12. evidence of compliance.

An introduction to C-ITS services is provided in CEN/TR 21186-1.


In order to reach the standardisation goals listed in see above, standards are grouped in so-called "Releases" together with information on profiles and parameters. Profiles identify selected mandatory requirements, and parameter information identifies applicable values such that interoperability between equipment provided by different vendors is ensured.

Releases use dated references to standards. A release supports one or several use cases or services.

Clause 3 presents a non-exhaustive snap-shot of SDO deliverables that are considered to be of certain relevance for ITS, especially for C-ITS but also for the Urban ITS paradigm.

CEN/TR 21186-1  explains an approach towards C-ITS releases and provides examples of releases.



Major standard development organisations (SDOs) working on an international or regional level in the domain of C-ITS are illustrated in Figure 1.


Figure  1  — Major SDOs currently being active in C-ITS

Secondary SDOs are working on general purpose specifications that are usually referenced in ITS standards.

For deployment of ITS, regional legislation is to be considered, e.g. in Europe

Major advocates of ITS

The main internationally active advocate of ITS is the Technical Committee TC204 "Intelligent Transport Systems" of the International Standards Organisation (ISO), producing standards related to many service domains of ITS. More than 10 ITS service domains are identified so far in ISO/TC 204. ISO/TC 204 was founded in 1993. Currently the work programme of ISO/TC 204 is being updated.

ISO/TC 204 is organised in Working Groups (WG), and cooperates partly with CEN/TC 278 under the Vienna Agreement (VA), see Figure 5. The VA is the tool for getting identical standards in CEN and ISO. Joint working groups typically develop standards under the VA; however, the VA can be applied also without having a joint working group. CEN/TC 278 was founded in 1992 with the original title of "Road Transport Traffic Telematics"; the title was harmonised at a later stage with ISO/TC 204.

The missing WG numbers in Figure 2 are due to the fact that some of the initial working groups in CEN/TC 278 and ISO/TC 204 either are dormant, or merged with others, or already closed.


Figure  2  — Working groups and joint working groups in ISO/TC 204 and CEN/TC 278

Further advocates active in C-ITS

Most relevant for C-ITS, in addition to CEN/TC 278 and ISO/TC 204, are

Further relevant is

ETSI TC ITS was founded as the result of an initiative from the ETSI chair and board to become involved in ITS standardisation. It was formed in cooperation with CEN/TC 278 in respect of determining its remit and scope. ETSI TC ITS had its constitutional meeting in December 2007. From this time on, European car makers were involved in standardization, and significantly influence operations in TC ITS. ETSI TC ITS is organized in five working groups:

As the European Union's mandate M/453 on C-ITS from 6th October 2009 was accepted by CEN/TC 278 and by ETSI TC ITS, CEN and ETSI had to formally cooperate and harmonize their contributions, e.g. with ETSI having a focus on its traditional experience on communications, and CEN having a focus on its traditional experience on services and applications. However, as a matter of fact, ETSI developed data and message specifications and ITS applications in its WG1, and CEN / ISO continued developing also communications standards.

ITU has some activities on ITS in general.

Secondary SDOs

Further SDOs, i.e. secondary SDOs with respect of ITS standardisation, are providing general purpose specifications that are applicable for C-ITS and referenced in C-ITS standards, e.g.: