According to former USDOT Undersecretary Peter Rogoff, intelligent vehicle technology will be a $35 billion industry in the US. Many state departments of transportation are showing interest in or are actively seeking intelligent transportation systems solutions. Why are agencies so interested in ITS? Implementation offers a high return on investment.
Here are 6 ways transportation agencies can benefit from ITS:
1. Increased safety
ITS will continue to reduce collisions and congestion and enhance emergency response and emergency management. For example, when Florida's FAV initiative is fully implemented, FDOT estimates it could eliminate 90 percent of all crashes in the state.
In addition to eliminating crashes, ITS will provide advance notice of traffic conditions and promote safer, more efficient evacuations.
2. Greater capacity
Owners can squeeze more capacity from existing urban highway systems through ramp metering, dynamic message signs or adaptive signal control. According to the Federal Highway Administration, state DOTs can expect improvements in efficiency, ranging from 10 percent to as much as 50 percent, in areas where signals are particularly outdated.
ITS improves performance of existing assets and buys time until sufficient resources can be found for expansion and/or improvements.
4. Reliable travel times
State DOTs are providing reliable travel-time information on freeways in major metropolitan areas.
5. Systematic solutions
For example, a DOT may have only enough funding to widen 2 miles of an 18-mile corridor; however, by adding ITS to the entire corridor, the DOT could improve the system versus simply a single segment.
6. Greener options
More efficient movement of traffic reduces stopping, idling, congestion and emissions.
The benefits of ITS greatly outweigh the costs. Agencies that embrace this change will remain relevant and, ultimately, the transportation systems they operate and maintain will be safer and more efficient. However, while transportation agencies must move more quickly to address the changing technology landscape, planning and implementation should be at a deliberate, measured pace.
Jim Barbaresso is SVP and National Practice Leader, Intelligent Transportation Systems, HNTB Corporation.