ITS in Society

ITS in Society - An Integration of Technologies

Intelligent Transportation Systems technology represents the evolution of traffic operations and traffic management towards a fully integrated surface transportation management system. Hardware and software are now sophisticated enough to allow detection and identification of specific vehicles, and technology can combine, analyze, and manipulate this data to provide useful information to the basic participants of the system: the driver, the vehicle, or the infrastructure. The goal is to get more out of the current physical infrastructure through better use of available resources. It represents the forefront of the trend away from infrastructure building and towards systems optimization.

In traffic management, the following provide increasing levels of operational control:

  • Traffic signs and road markings
  • Independently controlled traffic signals
  • Centrally coordinated but pre-programmed systems of traffic controllers (where many cities are now).

ITS technologies let us go further:

  • Adaptive traffic signal control systems which, through the use of various vehicle detection technologies, allow signals to adapt to changing traffic demands while remaining coordinated. Such systems effectively increase the capacity of the road system without expansion.
  • Traffic condition data gathered through vehicle detection technologies can be provided to motorists, truckers, transit passengers, fleet managers, dispatchers, etc., to allow them to make informed decisions about critical travel parameters like route/mode choice and travel scheduling. Traveller kiosks in transit stations, changeable message signs on highways, and highway advisory radio systems are good examples.
  • Onboard navigation and information systems for motorists are now becoming available in automobiles, allowing drivers to access maps and follow directions to reach their destinations. Manufacturers are also incorporating sensing and control technology for adaptive cruise control and collision warning systems.¨ Transponders, electronic license plates, and "smart cards" have allowed the implementation of electronic high-speed toll collection, truck weigh-in-motion and pre-clearance programs, and non-stop border crossing.
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS) assist fleet managers in allocating and tracking resources more efficiently.
  • For specific examples, see Canadian Applications.