Common Themes Recurring Throughout Advisory Committee Interviews

  • The need for network performance data, such as freeway monitoring data.  Real-time data are needed for operations, such as traveler information, and archived data are needed for long-term planning and near-and-mid-term system improvement.  Several ITSAC members mentioned that there is not enough of this use of data for planning and system improvement going on currently.
  • The importance of education and training: education of our future generation of transportation professionals in an academic setting, and training of operations and maintenance staff in a technical training setting.  Both are needed if this industry is to survive.
  • The importance of the environment, as an issue, which can, as one ITSAC member put it, "either work for us, or it can work against us".  If the ITS industry does not start to talk about how ITS can address the global climate change - by, for example, reducing congestion or improving public transit which reduce greenhouse gas emissions - this issue will work against us.
  • The need for more benefit/cost analysis.  New technologies will not be adopted if the benefit/cost analysis data are missing or are not impressive.
  • The need for more outreach on successful ITS technologies.  ITS will not succeed if the public does not understand what ITS is and why they should care about it.  Effective outreach is particularly needed during the period leading up to reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU.
  • The importance of funding.  There is never enough of it; states and local jurisdictions always need more of it.  Currently, many transportation funds are being spent simply maintaining infrastructure, so there is nothing left over for investments in such things as ITS.
  • It is not the "hard" issues, such as developing needed technologies, that are the greatest barriers to widespread ITS deployment.  It is the "soft" issues.  One ITSAC listed the three needed ingredients as: (1) institutional cooperation, (2) dedicated funding and (3) political will.