ITS JPO HomeUpdated October 27, 2015 2:31 PM

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As highway deaths continue to rise (43,000 in 2003) and growing traffic congestion robs Americans of time and money, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program is launching a new generation of initiatives aimed at improving transportation safety, relieving congestion and enhancing productivity. 

Recognizing the ITS program's accomplishments, the ITS Management Council, which is comprised of senior leadership of the USDOT, conducted a multiyear management review to determine the future of the program.  The Council's goal was to identify a limited number of initiatives on which resources could be directed to significantly improve transportation. Upon completion of the review, the Council chose nine major initiatives to comprise the centerpiece of the ITS program.  These new initiatives were announced by Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Transportation Policy and Director of Intermodalism Emil Frankel at the 2004 ITS America Annual Meeting.  While these initiatives are still under development, this document provides additional detail on each of the initiatives.

Now into its second decade, the USDOT's ITS program will build on previous research and operational tests conducted under the program.  A natural evolution, each focuses on a specific outcome, attainable within three to five years, that advances the initiative to its ultimate goal.  They are:

Integrated Vehicle Based Safety Systems
Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance Systems
Next Generation 9-1-1
Mobility Services for All Americans
Integrated Corridor Management Systems
Nationwide Surface Transportation Weather Observation System
Emergency Transportation Operations
Universal Electronic Freight Manifest
Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII)

Each of these ITS technology-based initiatives presents an opportunity to dramatically improve transportation safety and mobility in America.  In each, there is a clearly defined federal role as well as involvement and partnership with others in the public and private sectors.  Obviously, the completion of these initiatives is dependent on the ultimate passage of the program's reauthorizing legislation and the funding.

In addition to identifying the nine new initiatives, USDOT's ITS Management Council reaffirmed its commitment to bring five ongoing ITS initiatives to a successful completion:

Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI)
511 Traveler Information
Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1
Commercial Vehicle and Information Systems and Networks Deployment (CVISN)
ITS Architecture Consistency

1.  Integrated Vehicle Based Safety Systems

GoalAll new vehicles would be equipped with advanced driver assistance systems that would help drivers avoid the most common types of deadly crashes.

Background:  About 2.6 million rear-end, road departure or lane change crashes occur each year.  Of these, 27,500 crashes (about ¾ of the fatal crashes) result in one or more fatalities.  A NHTSA analysis showed that widespread deployment of advanced driver assistance systems addressing rear-end, road departure and lane change collisions could reduce motor vehicle collisions by 17 percent.  Integrated systems will be more effective and will provide better threat information from multiple sensors, enabling coordinated warnings to reduce driver distraction. 

Approach:  This initiative, in partnership with the automotive industry, will build on completed and ongoing IVI field operational tests as well as results from naturalistic-driving studies.  It will involve projects and studies that include private passenger vehicles, freight-carrying trucks and transit buses.  It will consolidate current information about available countermeasures; perform additional research into integration of the driver-vehicle interface (DVI); develop objective tests and criteria for performance of systems that simultaneously address these three types of crash; and design appropriate data acquisition systems.  There is an extensive body of knowledge on countermeasures for addressing each of these three types of crash unilaterally; this initiative will be the first attempt to fully integrate these individual solutions.  This research will assimilate existing research results and state-of-the-art commercial products and product performance for all systems that are related to this problem.

Milestone:  Integrated vehicle based systems that address multiple crash types will be developed, tested and evaluated.

2.  Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance Systems

Goal:  To achieve deployment of intersection collision avoidance systems that can save lives and prevent injuries at 15% of the most hazardous signalized intersections nationally, with in-vehicle support in 50% of the vehicle fleet, by 2015. 

Background:  In 2002, more than 9,000 Americans died and roughly 1.5 million Americans were injured in intersection related crashes.  Intelligent intersection systems can help drivers avoid crashes at intersections.  They can be vehicle-based, infrastructure-only or infrastructure-vehicle cooperative.  Vehicle-based systems incorporate sensors, processors and driver interfaces within each vehicle.  Infrastructure-only systems rely on roadside sensors and processors to detect vehicles and identify hazards and then utilize signals or other methods to communicate warnings of potential crashes to motorists.  Infrastructure-only deployments also require data processing techniques, a necessary evolutionary step towards deployment of subsequent cooperative systems enabled by Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII).  Infrastructure-vehicle cooperative systems will utilize roadside detection and processing systems as developed and refined by infrastructure-only efforts, and will also have a communications system, like Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), to communicate warnings and data directly to drivers in vehicles equipped to receive and display the warnings inside the vehicle.  

Approach:  This initiative builds on research and operational tests conducted under USDOT's Intelligent Vehicle Initiative.  Vehicle Infrastructure Integration will provide the enabling communication capability necessary for cooperative crash avoidance systems, thus VII and this program will be closely coordinated.   In partnership with the automotive manufacturers and State and local departments of transportation, this initiative will pursue an optimized combination of autonomous-vehicle, autonomous-infrastructure and cooperative communication systems that potentially address the full set of intersection crash problems, culminating in a series of coordinated field operational tests.  The field operational tests will also help achieve a solid understanding of safety benefits and user acceptance.

Milestones:  Commercially deployable intersection collision avoidance systems will be developed. 

3.  Next Generation 911

Goal:  Establish the foundation for public emergency services in a wireless mobile society and enable enhanced 9-1-1 with any communication device.

Background:  America's current 9-1-1 system cannot handle the text, data, images and video that are increasingly common in personal communications and critical to future transportation safety and mobility advances.  A fundamental reexamination of the technological approach to 9-1-1 is essential as the public safety emergency network struggles to accommodate the challenges of wireless communications. 

Approach:  Leveraging work from the Secretary of Transportation's E9-1-1 Initiative and on-going stakeholder activities, the first phase will determine operational policies and user requirements for an Internet/multimedia-capable 9‑1‑1 system.  In partnership with the 9‑1‑1 community and the private sector, this initiative will establish call center requirements, operational policies and standards and increase public and industry awareness of the implementation issues by FY 05.  During its second phase, the next generation 9‑1‑1 system will be defined.  By FY 07, the initiative will describe and document the framework to enable common devices (cell phones, PDAs, computers, and others) to communicate effectively with 9‑1‑1 call centers. 

Milestones:  A national framework and deployment plan for the Next Generation 9-1-1 System will be developed.

4.  Mobility Services for All Americans

Goal:  Improved transportation services for the elderly and disadvantaged.  Increased mobility, accessibility and ridership will be achieved by integrating transportation services, via ITS transit technologies, and extending transit service partnerships beyond the health and human service community to other federal funding agencies. 

Background:  A 2003 General Accounting Office (GAO) report (GAO-030698T) found that federally funded transportation services for the "transportation disadvantaged" are spread among 62 federal programs and are inefficient, duplicative and expensive.  Human services transportation is often fragmented, resulting in service area gaps or limited service area due to an absence in trip transfers between transportation providers.  Often, customers have to contact multiple case workers for multiple funding programs, scheduled trip times are inconvenient, pick-up wait times and travel times are long and accessibility to transit is limited for seniors and persons with disabilities. 

Approach:   This initiative builds on the Department's United We Ride program to build a fully coordinated human service transportation system in partnership with health and human services agencies and transit providers.  Several ITS technologies will be applied and examined, including (but not limited to):  geographic information systems (GIS), integrated vehicle dispatching and scheduling, automatic vehicle location (AVL), communications systems, electronic payment systems / financial tracking and billing systems and advanced traveler information systems (ATIS).  Following the technology assessment and operational test phases, a replicable traveler management coordination center architecture or overall design, which will provide one-stop customer-based travel information and trip planning services, will be demonstrated. 

Milestones:  A replicable model traveler management coordination center will be established.

5.  Integrated Corridor Management Systems

Goal:  A model corridor management system will be developed to demonstrate how ITS technologies can efficiently and proactively manage the movement of people and goods in major transportation corridors within and between large metropolitan areas.  The model corridor management system will demonstrate how proven and promising ITS technologies can be used to improve mobility and productivity in these corridors.

Background:  Congestion continues to grow, particularly in major metropolitan areas, and is concentrated in critical corridors that link activity centers and carry high volumes of people and goods.  Despite availability of a wide array of proven transportation management tools, a focus on more effective, integrated corridor management has not naturally emerged. Significant unused corridor capacity often exists on parallel routes and facilities, in the non-peak direction on freeways and arterials, within single occupant vehicles and on transit services.  The ability to shift travel demands between facilities and modes during traffic incidents, roadway work zones, adverse weather or simply unusually large traffic demands is severely hampered by lack of information.  Improving movement through these critical corridors could reduce travel time and delays and increase reliability and predictability of travel. 

Approach:  This initiative builds on many individual tools already developed, including:  ITS applications for integrated Bus Rapid Transit, freeway ramp metering and adaptive control strategies.  Key to managing corridors is achieving integration among the services that agencies provide; unprecedented collaboration and coordination between the operator and planning communities are required.  This initiative, in partnership with State and local governments, will: pull together ongoing, nearly completed and planned work into a proactive corridor management focus; identify and close key knowledge gaps; and design and implement a major model deployment and other technology transfer activities that will give the transportation community the information and tools it needs to make investments in this area. 

Milestones: A suite of tools to support integrated, proactive corridor management will have been developed, applied and evaluated in a model deployment and made available for the transportation community to use.

6.  Nationwide Surface Transportation Weather Observation System

Goal:  Reduce the impact of adverse weather for all road users and operators by designing and initiating deployment of a nationwide, integrated road weather observational network and data management system.

Background:  State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have invested in Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) for years, primarily in support of winter maintenance activities.  While over 2,000 sensor stations are deployed along America's highways today, their utilization is insufficient to support full-scale operations. The deficiencies can be traced to a number of technical and institutional barriers to the sharing of data collected at these stations.  There is a need for a focused, national effort to build this road weather network to provide timely and accurate information to help operate the roadways.

Approach:  This initiative builds on the developing partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and development of the 2002 Weather Information for Surface Transportation plan.  Deploying this road weather observational network requires a multi-year effort to build consensus across the transportation and weather communities to design, build, test and evaluate the system components.  A number of steps will have to be undertaken to:  establish an interagency coordinating committee consisting of FHWA, NOAA, State DOTs, academia and the private sector to oversee the conceptual design and monitor progress; complete ongoing projects related to the initiative such as siting and communication; demonstrating the system for a multi-state, multi-disciplinary region, including verification and validation of siting guidelines, NTCIP standards, etc.; explore linkages to other databases, including other weather (mobile, remote - e.g., satellite), traffic, road composition and road treatment data; revise system design based on findings of demonstration and the previous effort to explore linkages with other databases;  develop guidance and standards to enable deployment by others, including full software documentation; refine strategy to transition the system to sustainable operations; and work with the interagency coordinating committee to transition to operations.

Milestones:  Demonstration of regional Observation Network; partnership is established to deploy a national observation network

7. Emergency Transportation Operations

Goal: Effective management of all forms of transportation emergencies through the application of ITS resulting in faster and better prepared responses to major incidents; shorter incident durations; quicker, more accurate and better-prepared hazmat responses.

Background:  The US averages three tropical storms, one hurricane, 1,200 tornadoes and over 15,000 highway hazmat incidents each year, of which 400 are categorized as "serious," and require an evacuation. These, plus winter weather, wild fires, complex multi-vehicle crashes and potential terrorist attacks, require America to be prepared for any eventuality.  Transportation is always involved and is the means by which responders reach the scene, by which victims depart the danger zone and over which recovery resources are delivered. Aggressively managed transportation using ITS is critical to response and recovery from incidents.

Approach:  Building on the ITS program's incident management efforts, the USDOT's initiative is designed to assist responders in verifying the nature of a problem, identifying the appropriate response and getting the correct equipment and personnel resources to the scene quickly and safely.  The initiative, in partnership with the public safety community and State and local departments of transportation, will address providing effective traveler information during major disasters, planning and managing major incidents involving evacuation, getting ITS operational quickly after a disaster and using ITS to monitor travel conditions on alternate and evacuation routes.  It will utilize vehicles themselves to provide the essential data about the incident and transportation conditions on all routes throughout the impacted region, and will make travelers' vehicles capable of receiving important information.  Developing and evaluating the standards necessary to accomplish integration of emergency operations are also included in this initiative.

Milestones:  A comprehensive set of tools and strategies for improved response and recovery to major incidents will be developed and deployable.

8. Universal Electronic Freight Manifest

Goal: Improved operational efficiency and productivity of the transportation system through the implementation of a common electronic freight manifest. 

Background:  International trade is 25% of America's GDP and growing.  Freight volumes by 2020 are forecasted to increase by 70% from 1998 totals, and freight volumes through primary gateway ports could more than double.  Improvements in speed, accuracy and visibility of information transfer in a freight exchange could reap large rewards for America's economic vitality.  This initiative directly targets that information exchange. 

Approach:   This initiative builds on ITS freight operational tests, including the USDOT's Electronic Supply Chain Manifest (ESCM).  The ECSM focused on one domestic truck-air-truck supply chain, which finished its initial phase in 2002 and demonstrated a cost saving of $1.50-$3.50 per shipment, due mostly to time savings.  The electronic manifest effort will be advanced to the next stage by conducting an international supply chain deployment test of the technology and business case elements.  It has the potential of pushing paper out of the system of information transfer among the supply chain elements (e.g., manufacturer, shipper, freight forwarder to air carriers).  Work to date has been focused on truck-air freight interface.  Should implementation of an electronic manifest in the truck-air interface be successful, the next steps would build on this and move it to a Universal Electronic Freight Manifest that encompasses other modal interfaces (i.e. truck-truck, truck-rail, rail-sea and truck-sea).  In partnership with shippers and carriers, effort will be directed at clearing institutional barriers and demonstrating the way ahead through standardization, building public/private partnerships that showcase operational improvements and identifying criteria that move the industry toward implementation of this freight technology and associated operational practices.

Milestones: Architecture for the Universal Electronic Freight Manifest will be developed and tested for the international truck-air freight supply chain.

9.  Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII)

GoalAchieve nationwide deployment of a communications infrastructure on the roadways and in all production vehicles and to enable a number of key safety and operational services that would take advantage of this capability.

Background:  VII builds on the availability of advanced vehicle safety systems developed under the IVI and the availability of radio spectrum at 5.9GHZ recently approved by the FCC for Dedicated Short Range Communications.  The VII would enable deployment of advanced vehicle-vehicle and vehicle-infrastructure communications that could keep vehicles from leaving the road and enhance their safe movement through intersections.  These deadly roadway scenarios account for 32,000 of the 43,000 deaths annually on America's highways. 

Approach:  This initiative builds on the research and operational tests conducted under the Department's Intelligent Vehicle Initiative.  Vehicle manufacturers would install the technology in all new vehicles, beginning at a particular model year, to achieve the safety and mobility benefits while, at the same time, the federal/state/local transportation agencies would facilitate installation of the roadside communications infrastructure.  Vehicles would serve as data collectors, transmitting traffic and road condition information from every major road within the transportation network.  Access to this information will allow transportation agencies to implement active strategies to relieve congestion.  In addition to these direct benefits to the traveling public and the operators of the transportation network, the automotive companies view VII as an opportunity to develop new businesses to serve their customers.  To determine the feasibility and an implementation strategy, a three-party consortium has been formed consisting of the seven vehicle manufacturers involved in the IVI, AASHTO and ten State departments of transportation and the USDOT.

Milestones: A decision to proceed with full deployment will be reached, accompanied by a plan for deployment.

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