The OCA - Open Traffic Systems City Association e.V. is an association of public road authorities and operators founded in 1999 in the course of the emergence of the OCIT standard. The OCA represents the interests of all public administrations in the development of open standards for traffic signal systems, traffic computers and traffic control centres. 

Membership of the OCA and contributing specific requirements regarding the construction and operation of such facilities strengthens the overall position of public authorities.

The OCA currently has members from 39 member cities and federal states in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. OCA is of course open to new members, not only from German speaking countries but from all over Europe.

1.  Purpose and aims:

The aims of cities and local authorities in the OCA association are set out in its constitution. According to this, the purpose of the association with respect to road traffic engineering, intelligent transport and transport management plants, systems and telematics, is

  • to encourage competition
  • to encourage profitability and quality assurance in their procurement and operation
  • to simplify and shorten tendering procedures
  • to encourage the direct exchange of information between the administrative departments affected on a national and international level
  • to pool the requirements profiles and thus strengthen the position of the road authorities towards industry.

2.  Motivation for membership

OCA membership is motivated by the following objectives

  • The development and implementation of open interface standards, which allow the use of mixed-­manufacturer traffic signal technology systems, encourages competition amongst providers and ultimately leads to significant cost reductions.

  • In view of future spatial and strategic traffic management challenges that require cooperation between all road operators, not only in conurbations, open interface standards enable interoperability between components. They are thus an important aspect to protect investments and ensure proper migration for all traffic engineering systems in the future.

The OCA – in the context of the OCIT-Group – has been instrumental in the development of the OCIT standard and has subsequently developed the OTS-standard to maturity as a framework for open standards for networking traffic control centres on its own.

Since the OCIT standard and OTS are now found very widespread, the ongoing development and maintenance of the interface standards for traffic signal systems is of major importance for all road authorities.

It is natural that OCA concentrated more on the definition and development of the standards at the outset. Later on, when the standards were also used in the field, its attention shifted to the practical application of the standards and their impact on the functionality of the respective subsystems.

3.  OCA user groups

OCA currently has four active user groups on a working level, each dealing with various topics in traffic technology, namely:

  • OCA user group "OCIT-Outstations"
  • OCA user group "Control Centres"
  • OCA user group "OCIT"
  • OCA user group "Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS)"

User groups primarily aim at sharing information and best practice amongst their members. Individual members sometimes develop solutions that can be transferred to the sphere of other members and may be of great value here. They may lead to improved applications or significant cost reductions.

Furthermore, the user groups also generate working results and documents that are made available to all OCA members, for example: B: The guideline on the specification of requirements on traffic signal controllers with OCIT outstation interfaces and a recommendation for traffic computer maintenance and update contracts.

4.  OCA Academy

The OCA Academy events give all interested parties – including those outside the OCA – a platform to find out more about the various aspects of traffic engineering and exchange views. 

Experts from the OCA, manufacturers' associations and industry offer practical insights into the municipalities and user groups as well as prospects for the technical future of important topics, though also external legal classifications.

5.  OCA activities on a national level

The OCA in involved in various national committees, e.g.:

  • Leadership & cooperation in the Road and Transportation Research Association (FGSV) Working Group 3.3.8

  • Cooperation in the ITS Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI)

  • Cooperation in the BMVI Working Group on Information Services

  • Cooperation in the R&D project ITS Architecture for Germany

6.  OCA activities on an EU level

On an international level, the OCA is involved in the field of Cooperative ITS (C-ITS), for example through its membership of the "Amsterdam Group", where it supports the OCA POLIS, of which it is an associated member. The OCA has also been cooperating in the "Urban Traffic Management and Control" group in Great Britain since 2009. The OCA is also active in the following committees, amongst others:

  •  Cooperation in the CIVITAS CAPITAL ITS Advisory Group

  • Cooperation in the European C-ITS Platform

  • Cooperation in the CEN Pre-Study Working Group PT 1701 as well as the resulting CEN TC278 WG17 to standardise urban (C-)ITS systems

A further field CERN work are EU projects such as the Horizon 2020 project CIMEC (C-ITS for Mobility in European Cities), where OCA plays an active role.

7.  Membership

Proceed as follows to apply for membership:

  • Send an application for membership to the association's office

  • The Board will take a decision on the membership

  • Payment of the membership fee of € 6 p.a. for each traffic signal system operated

  • What is the best way to go about things?

    • i. Clarify which body is authorised to take decisions (note for orientation: the OCA is not a profit-making association!)
    • ii. Provision of the annual membership budget and approval of the treasurer
    • iii. Approval of the membership: prepare a submission for a committee decision or the signature(s) of the authorised person(s)