ITS applications have historically been based on high levels of Research and Development (R&D). Much ITS work being done over the past 20 years concentrated on R&D. Even though many of the basic technologies were known, R&D focused on systems engineering and integration, demonstrations and operational tests, and product improvement. Today the majority of ITS applications and user services are mainstream solutions under deployment, but there is a resurgence in research related to new technologies driven by advances in what is known as ICT, or Information and Communication Technologies, including data integration, the connected vehicle, and geo-referenced knowledge capability.
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Universities across Canada have ITS Centres of Expertise that provide groundbreaking research, harnessing new technological innovations for the rapidly expanding global market while providing tangible benefits to Canada’s transportation system. Collaboration between academia, the federal government, and Canadian industry is enhanced with support provided by federal and provincial funding programs. Universities are also networked together, both nationally and globally, to provide a broad base and a comprehensive perspective on ITS research and development.
The Canadian Transportation Act Review (CTAR) Secretariat asked ITS Canada in 2015 to conduct a high-level strategic assessment of transportation technology research, development, and adoption in Canada. Specific questions to ask included:
• How is Canada positioned with respect to transportation technology?
• How does it compare to the situation in peer countries?
• What useful observations and lessons learned can one gather from the situation in other countries and the strategies and initiatives they have pursued?
The scope of the assessment was the application of advanced technology in surface transportation with a special focus on roads, trucking, buses, and rail to a limited degree. The methodology included an extremely extensive identification and review of organizations, web sites, resources, and documents in Canada, the U.S., Australia, the Netherlands, and the European Commission. The analysis of organizations and resources, and international comparative assessment, were supplemented by select interviews with experts..