Ensuring Transportation Safety and Advancement During Unprecedented Times

Hello, Everyone

Welcome to the very first ITS and You blog post. When we initially considered launching a blog series on behalf of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO), the impetus was to connect with people, share highlights of our program, and outline how our activities affect you. That was a couple of months ago; we never could have predicted then the impact of COVID-19 and the unprecedented times we’d find ourselves in—or how important virtual communication would become to all of us, as the best and safest way to reach out and engage with each other.

Safety is always the top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), and just like you, we are working to protect the health and well-being of our coworkers, families, and communities during this uncertain time. For us, part of that involves ensuring our transportation network continues to serve as the pipeline to our communities, our livelihood, and our productivity. Whether it’s enabling the delivery of essential supplies, medical equipment, and groceries, or ensuring essential staff can get to work and perform the duties that are helping to save lives and keep our country running, we must ensure that our nation’s transportation system rises to the challenges caused by this pandemic.

ITS technologies can do that. For example, driverless vehicles can help solve the problem of increased demand for home delivery of goods and the simultaneous need for physical distancing. Communications and spectrum for emergency vehicles can play an important role in enabling the public safety community to respond faster to incidents while ensuring their own safety. ITS approaches through artificial intelligence, assistive technologies, ride-sourcing, and wayfinding and navigation can help users to independently travel without unnecessary interaction with others, particularly people with disabilities, older adults, and other underserved communities that often face greater challenges in accessing essential services.

In March, we released our strategic plan for the ITS Program for public comment. This plan outlines our research into these areas and more, as well as describes our vision, mission, and strategies over the next 6 years. It reveals where we see the future of intelligent transportation headed and some of the emerging ITS technologies that we think hold the most promise for ensuring the safety and mobility of Americans nationwide.

I encourage you to read the plan to learn more about some of the transportation technologies that could be coming to your communities soon.

Until next time…stay safe, stay engaged, stay connected, and stay healthy. We are all in this together.

Ken Leonard

ITS JPO Director