Intelligent Transportation Systems

Information Technologies to Improve Transportation System Efficiency

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TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute

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Updated 21 December 2015


Description

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) refers to the use of information technologies such as computers, telecommunications, GPS (Global Positioning System) and the Internet to improve transportation system performance and efficiency. There are many specific types of ITS:

 

·         Multi-modal navigation devices, which are enhanced mobile telephones designed to provide walking and public transit route, schedule, fare and security information.

 

·         Traffic management, in which a control center monitors roadway conditions in order to coordinate traffic control, emergency response and traveler information.

 

·         Traffic control, such as advanced signal light synchronization and ramp metering to improve traffic flow.

 

·         Telematics, which refers to the use of telecommunications and computerized electronics that connect a driver or a vehicle to external services, such as navigation systems, pricing and emergency signals.

 

·         Driver information, such as variable information signs on highways and parking lots, radio and Internet traffic reports that provide real-time information and advice, and Internet navigation systems. Newer systems integrate GPS transponders in a vehicle with electronic maps to provide route guidance to drivers.

 

·         Fleet management, allows transit, taxi and truck fleet managers to monitor the location, condition and performance of vehicles and freight.

 

·         Emergency warning systems, which alert drivers to excessive speed, roadway hazards, traffic and weather conditions.

 

·         Emergency response, including emergency beacons and roadside assistance systems integrated with vehicle location information provided by GPS.

 

·         Automated vehicle control, such as automobiles that drive themselves.

 

·         Electronic pricing, such as automated systems that collect transit fares, road tolls and parking fees. This reduces the inconvenience of mechanical fee collection and allows greater variability in rate structures.

 

·         Transit information, such as route and fare schedules and real-time information on vehicle location and predicted arrival times. Some systems provide electronic user information through terminals at transit stops, while others provide information through mobile telephones.

 

·         Transit priority systems, which give transit vehicles priority through an intersection.

 

·         Computerized dispatching, which allows more efficient scheduling and routing of delivery and utility vehicles, demand-response shuttle services and taxis.

 

·         Taxi Information, which improves taxi response time, navigation and security.

 

·         Rideshare matching, which provides information to people who want to share a ride. Electronic matching systems allow “dynamic ridesharing,” for individual trips (as opposed to regularly scheduled trips).

 

 

How It Is Implemented

Different ITS technologies are implemented in different ways. Many require coordination between various partners, including government agencies, vehicle and equipment suppliers, and telecommunication industries. Some require consumers’ support. For example, vehicle navigation systems require computer and communications systems installed in vehicles, plus a service to provide suitable information. ITS technologies that support TDM are usually implemented by transportation or transit agencies.

 

 

Travel Impacts

Travel impacts vary. ITS technologies that only improve automobile travel, such as driver navigation and automated vehicle controls, may increase total vehicle travel (although they may reduce some negative impacts such as traffic congestion or some crash risks). Others support TDM by improving transportation options (particularly transit and ridesharing), or facilitating Roadpricing and other financial incentives.

 

 Table 1         Travel Impact Summary

Objective

Rating

Comments

Reduces total traffic.

0

Varies, depending on type.

Reduces peak period traffic.

0

"

Shifts peak to off-peak periods.

0

"

Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.

0

"

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.

0

"

Increased ridesharing.

0

"

Increased public transit.

0

"

Increased cycling.

0

"

Increased walking.

0

"

Increased Telework.

0

"

Reduced freight traffic.

0

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Benefits and Costs

Benefits and costs vary. Some ITS technologies have high implementation costs, requiring special equipment and communications networks. Others are relatively inexpensive. Those that improve automobile travel tend to provide just one or two benefits, such as motorist convenience and safety, or reduced traffic congestion. Those that encourage transit or ridesharing can provide a variety of benefits associated with reduced vehicle traffic.

 

Gillen, Chang and Johnson (2001) found that Advanced Vehicle Location technologies tend to increase transit system productivity and service quality.

 

Table 2          Benefit Summary

Objective

Rating

Comments

Congestion Reduction

0

Varies, depending on type.

Road & Parking Savings

0

"

Consumer Savings

0

"

Transport Choice

0

"

Road Safety

0

"

Environmental Protection

0

"

Efficient Land Use

0

"

Community Livability

0

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Equity Impacts

Equity impacts vary. Some only benefit wealthier motorists (those that can afford newer vehicles or special fees). Others provide more widely distributed benefits. Those that support transit and ridesharing may help achieve equity objectives.

 

Table 3          Equity Summary

Criteria

Rating

Comments

Treats everybody equally.

0

Varies, depending on type.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.

0

"

Progressive with respect to income.

0

"

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.

0

"

Improves basic mobility.

0

"

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.

 

 

Applications

ITS can be implemented at the local, regional or state/provincial level. Some programs, such as GPS-based freight vehicle fees, are implemented at the national level. Federal standards and implementation funding may help establish efficient, integrated systems.

 

Table 4          Application Summary

Geographic

Rating

Organization

Rating

Large urban region.

3

Federal government.

3

High-density, urban.

3

State/provincial government.

3

Medium-density, urban/suburban.

3

Regional government.

3

Town.

2

Municipal/local government.

3

Low-density, rural.

2

Business Associations/TMA.

1

Commercial center.

2

Individual business.

2

Residential neighborhood.

1

Developer.

1

Resort/recreation area.

1

Neighborhood association.

1

College/university communities.

1

Campus.

1

Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).

 

 

Category

TDM Program Support

 

Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

ITS can help support many TDM strategies, including HOV Priority, Pricing Methods, Road Pricing, Freight Transport Management, Distance-Based Fees, Parking Pricing, Transit Improvements, Telework and Speed Reductions.

 

Stakeholders

Stakeholders include government agencies, businesses, and various types of user groups.

 

 

Barriers To Implementation

Many ITS technologies are reaching a mature stage of technical development, so the barriers are primarily political (whether planners and citizens are willing to accept these technologies) and economic (whether they are a worthwhile investment). Different types of ITS face different barriers. On-board information technologies have high installation costs and may distract drivers. Pricing technologies often face motorist political resistance.

 

 

Best Practices

Below are some suggestions for implementing ITS technologies.

 

·         Technologies should be integrated and coordinated.

 

·         Equipment design and standards should be “open” as much as possible, to maintain a competitive market.

 

·         Projects should be implemented in ways that allow future expansion, modification and integration with other ITS activities.

 

 

Examples and Case Studies

 

Seoul TOPIS (http://english.seoul.go.kr)

The Seoul TOPIS (Transport OPerations and Information Service) includes the following features:

 

This system has improved public transit service quality and ridership, increased average traffic speeds on major arterials by 2 kilometers per hour, and reduced crash risk throughout the city.

 

 

Freight Transport Management Incentives (Holguin-Veras, et al. 2010)

A major study for the U.S. Department of Transportation used Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to more efficiently manage urban truck traffic. This project:

 

The researchers concluded that this project demonstrates that remote sensing technology can help manage freight transport in ways that are supported by both the freight industry and transportation agencies.

 

 

Passenger Use of Technologies (Schwieterman, et al. 2009)

Approximately 40% of long-distance bus, train and airplane passengers are using portable technology devices such as computers, mobile telephone and portable music devices at any time. Use of these technologies tends to be higher among younger and business travelers.

 

The type of technology used by travelers varies between modes of travel and day of week. More than half of technology users on curbside bus services are engaged in audio activities, such as cell-phone calls, using digital music players, and other such activities. Train passengers are more likely to use visually oriented technologies such as laptop computers. These and other findings suggests that the ability to use portable electronics is valued by passengers and helps offset the longer travel time associated with certain bus and train trips. On-board wireless internet service may help explain the rapid growth in ridership on intercity buses that offer this service.

 

 

Transportation Innovation Index (Hallock and Inglis 2015)

The report, The Innovative Transportation Index: The Cities Where New Technologies and Tools Can Reduce Your Need to Own a Car, reviews the availability of 11 technology-enabled transportation services in various U.S. cities. These technologies include:

•         Carsharing services offer vehicle access on-demand, lowering the cost of vehicular mobility for many while still preserving on-demand access to a car. Options include fleet-based services such as Zipcar or peer-to-peer networks that provide cars for round-trip and, increasingly, one-way trips. Carsharing is currently available in 69 of the 70 cities surveyed.

•         Ridesharing services provide a tool for riders and drivers to find one another. Potential riders can find drivers who are already going in the same direction and use these services to coordinate pick-up location, costs and schedules. Ridesharing is currently available in 5 of 70 cities.

•         Ridesourcing services, such as Lyft, Uber and Sidecar, enable users to solicit a ride from their current location from a pool of drivers using a smartphone. These services differ from taxis in that the drivers are not commercially licensed taxi drivers and, as such, are not permitted to pick up passengers off the street. Ridesourcing services are currently available in 59 of the 70 cities evaluated in this report.

•         Taxi hailing services provide technology to help users locate and call taxis with their smartphone, and (in some locations) pay through the smartphone as well, eliminating the need for cash on hand. Taxi hailing services are currently available in 34 of 70 cities.

•         Bikesharing systems increase options for short journeys (for example, trips too long for walking), and can serve as first- and last-mile connections between transit locations and travelers’ final destinations. They also provide a fun and active way to travel without concern for fixed schedules. Bikesharing is currently available in 32 of 70 cities.

•         Static transit data improves usability of transit services by enabling users to access schedules and route maps online via desktop, smartphone or other Internet-connected devices. When accessible on the go, schedule and routing data helps riders navigate transit systems effectively, even when their plans change. Static transit data is currently available in 66 of 70 cities.

•         Real-time transit information builds on the benefits of open static data by providing users real-time information on arrival/departure times and delays. This gives riders the ability to avoid unforeseen wait times, or to change routes at the last minute. Real-time transit information is currently available in 56 of 70 cities.

•         Multi-modal apps knit the transportation landscape together by offering users the opportunity to see side-by-side comparisons of a variety of routes and services for making their trip, including biking, carsharing, public transit, driving and walking. Multi-modal apps are currently available in 47 of 70 cities.

•         Virtual ticketing gives users the opportunity to avoid lost tickets and long wait times at the ticket counter by buying tickets directly through an Internet-connected device such as a smartphone. Riders can set up an account to look after expenses and track ticket validity. Virtual ticketing is currently available in 6 of 70 cities.

 

This report finds:

•         There are at least 19 cities with Abundant Choices, places where at least some residents have access to all or nearly all of these new transportation services. Austin, Texas, is the only city in the United States to have access to all 11 kinds of services evaluated here. San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have access to 10 of the services evaluated.

•         Another 35 cities have Growing Choices. Residents of these cities have access to many kinds of innovative transportation services, but not as many as cities with Abundant Choices.Orlando, Atlanta, Louisville, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Newark, Pittsburgh and Raleigh lead this category, and several are already planning the addition of new technology-enabled services within the next year.

•         The remaining 16 cities have Emerging Choices – these are cities where residents have access to fewer than half of the types of technology-enabled services evaluated in this report. Many of these are smaller cities in largely rural states with limited transportation options. These tools are beginning to expand to new areas, and further expansion would signal their potential to benefit a wide variety of American cities.

 

 

Bicycle Route Planner (www.cykelby.dk/eng/Stifinder.asp)

A special service helps cyclists navigate around the city of Odense using a mobile phone. Users only pay for the data transfer. The system provides:

- Cycle route shown on a map

- Description of the route

- The destination on a map

 

Users indicate their origin and destination by keying in an address or phone numbers. The system indicates the most direct and safest route option with maps on the telephone screen. It is easy to move the map view and zoom in and out as needed. The system indicates the distance and expected travel time. The route planner can be bookmarked at http://cykelby.krak.dk.

 

 

References And Resources For More Information

 

Tony Dutzik, Travis Madsen and Phineas Baxandall (2013), A New Way to Go: The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less, U.S. PIRG Education Fund (www.uspirg.org); at http://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/A%20New%20Way%20to%20Go%20vUS1_1.pdf.

 

Cisco (2008), Connected Bus, Connected Urban Development Program, Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com); at www.cisco.com/web/about/ac79/ps/cud/tcb.html.

 

Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Website (http://cvisn.fmcsa.dot.gov) provides information on the application of ITS technologies to commercial vehicle management.  

 

FHWA (2006), Advanced Parking Management Systems: A Cross-Cutting Study, Report FHWA-JPO-07-011, Intelligent Transportation Systems (www.its.dot.gov), FHWA, USDOT; at www.its.dot.gov/jpodocs/repts_te/14318.htm.

 

David Gillen, Elva Chang and Doug Johnson (2001), “Productivity Benefits and Cost Efficiencies from Intelligent Transportation System Applications to Public Transit; Evaluation of Advanced Vehicle Location,” Transportation Research 1747, TRB (www.trb.org), pp. 89-96.

 

Kadley Gosselin (2011), “Study Finds Access to Real-Time Mobile Information Could Raise the Status of Public Transit,” Next American City (www.americancity.org); at www.americancity.org/buzz/entry/2945.

 

Lindsey Hallock and Jeff Inglis (2015), The Innovative Transportation Index: The Cities Where New Technologies and Tools Can Reduce Your Need to Own a Car, Frontier Group, Public Interest research Groups (www.uspirg.org); at www.uspirg.org/reports/usf/innovative-transportation-index.

 

Jose Holguin-Veras, et al. (2010), Integrative Freight Demand Management In The New York City Metropolitan Area, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for the USDOT (www.transp.rpi.edu); at www.transp.rpi.edu/~usdotp/DRAFT_FINAL_REPORT.pdf.

 

ITS (2007), Integrated Corridor Management Systems, Intelligent Transportation Systems, USDOT (www.its.dot.gov/icms/index.htm), provides information on various roadway management techniques, many involving ITS.

 

ITS Evaluation (www.its.dot.gov/evaluation), by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provides information on various types of benefits and costs associated with ITS.  

 

ITS Joint Program Office (www.its.dot.gov), by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provides access to federal ITS programs and information.

 

ITS Online (www.itsonline.com) is a website dedicated to Intelligent Transportation System development.

 

ITS America (www.itsa.org) is a US Department of Transportation sponsored clearinghouse for Intelligent Transportation System development.

 

Michael Patrick Kane (2010), “Devising Public Transport Systems For Twenty-First Century Economically Productive Cities - The Proposed Knowledge Ring For Perth,” Australian Planner (www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t912581073), Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 75-84.

 

James D. Kimbler (2010), “Real Time Parking Wayfinding System,” ITE Journal (www.ite.org), Vo. 80, No. 12, December, 41-45.

 

Todd Litman (2012), Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions: Implications for Transport Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/avip.pdf.

 

NextBus (www.nextbus.com) is a private company that uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to provide real-time transit vehicle arrival information to passengers and managers in various North American cities.

 

J. Raine, A. Withill and M. Morecock Eddy (2014), Literature Review Of The Costs And Benefits Of Traveller Information Projects, Research Report 548, NZ Transport Agency (www.nzta.govt.nz); at www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/548/docs/548.pdf

 

Joseph P. Schwieterman, et al. (2009), Is Portable Technology Changing How Americans Travel? A Survey Of The Use Of Electronic Devises On Intercity Buses, Trains, And Planes, Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, DePaul University (www.depaul.edu); at http://las.depaul.edu/chaddick/docs/Docs/Chaddick_Institute_Survey_of_Technology_1.pdf.

 

Transit ITS Website (www.fta.dot.gov/research/fleet/its/its.htm) provides information on ways that Intelligent Transportation Systems technologies are being applied to improve transit services.

 

USEPA (1998), Intelligent Transportation Systems, Transportation and Air Quality TCM Technical Overviews, US Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov); at www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/rellinks/docs/S98007.pdf.


This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.

 

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