Intelligent Transport Systems

This measure was updated by INSTITUTE FOR TRANSPORT STUDIES (ITS) in 2014 under the CH4LLENGE project, financed by the European Commission.


Intelligent transport systems cover a wide range of applications of information and communications technologies to transport. These include traffic management and control techniques, real time information for users, management systems for public and freight transport, advanced safety systems, emergency and disaster relief and electronic payment systems. Not surprisingly the impacts on demand vary considerably with type of application. However, most can be expected to increase the supply of transport by increasing effective capacity. In these ways they can have a significant positive contribution to efficiency, safety and the environment. Moreover, they can boost the local economy by enhancing its image. They are less likely to contribute directly to liveability or equity, though they can be designed to provide support for mosttypes of user of the transport system.

The barriers vary by type of measure. Some are expensive to implement; some require considerable cooperation between public and private sector; those which restrict freedom of use or help impose charges for use can be unpopular politically and with the public; some still require proof of concept, while others are in regular use.

Given the wide range of types of application, and the emphasis on technological rather than policy research, no attempt has been made at this stage to include documented case studies.

Terminology

Various definitions of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) have been offered: 

  • New information and communications technologies which are finding exciting applications in urban transport. Also called "Transport Telematics". (ERTICO, Europe)
  • A broad range of diverse technologies, which holds the answer to many of transportation problems. ITS comprises a number of technologies, including information processing, communications, control, and electronics. Joining these technologies to our transportation system will save lives, save time, and save money. (ITS America)
  • The application of advanced sensor, computer, electronics, and communication technologies and management strategies - in an integrated manner - to increase the safety and efficiency of the surface transportation system. (ITS Assist, UK)
  • A broad-based term which is used to describe developments in communication and computing technologies applied to transport services generally. (ITS Australia)
  • The application of advanced and emerging technologies (computers, sensors, control, communications, and electronic devices) in transportation to save lives, time, money, energy and the environment. (ITS Canada)
  • ITS offers a fundamental solution to various issues concerning transportation, which include traffic accidents, congestion and environmental pollution. ITS deals with these issues through the most advanced communications and control technologies. (ITS Japan)
  • An innovative transportation system that may be able to secure a cheap and safe transportation environment as well as an efficient operation by connecting up-to-date skills including electronic, communications, and control systems to existing transportation systems such as road, railway, airway, and sea transportation. (ITS Korea)

The term ITS is elastic and capable of broad or narrow interpretation. ITS covers all transport modes and is understood to include consideration of the vehicle, the infrastructure, and the driver or user, interacting together dynamically.

Information is at the heart of ITS. Most ITS tools are based on the collection, processing, integration and/or supply of information. Whether offering real time information about current conditions of a network, or on-line information for journey planning, ITS tools enable authorities, operators and individual travellers to make better informed, more "intelligent" decisions (ERTICO, 1998b).

Application fields of ITS

ITS covers broad development fields, and is or will be implemented in various schemes, but the fields of ITS can be identified by user services which represent what the system will do from the perspective of the user. The concept of user services allows system or project definition to begin by establishing the high level services that will be provided to address identified problems and user needs.

In USA, DOT (Department of Transport) and ITS America is focused on the development and deployment of a collection of inter-related user services in the national ITS program, called the National ITS Architecture which provides a common framework for planning, defining, and integrating ITS. The following table presents the 32 user services which formed the basis for the National ITS Architecture development effort, grouped into eight bundles for convenience.

User Service Bundle

User Service

Travel and traffic management

Pre-trip travel information

 

En-route driver information

 

Route guidance

 

Ride matching and reservation

 

Traveler services information

 

Traffic control

 

Incident management

 

Travel demand management

 

Emissions testing and mitigation

 

Highway-rail intersection

Public transportation management

Public transportation management

 

En-route transit information

 

Personalized public transit

 

Public travel security

Electronic payment

Electronic payment services

Commercial vehicle operations

Commercial vehicle electronic clearance

 

Automated roadside safety inspection

 

On-board safety monitoring

 

Commercial vehicle administrative processes

 

Hazardous material incident response

 

Commercial fleet management

Emergency management

Emergency notification and personal security

 

Emergency vehicle management

Advanced vehicle safety systems

Longitudinal collision avoidance

 

Lateral collision avoidance

 

Intersection collision avoidance

 

Vision enhancement for crash avoidance

 

Safety readiness

 

Pre-crash restraint deployment

 

Automated vehicle operation

Information management

Archived data function

Maintenance and construction management

Maintenance and construction operations

In Japan, user services are set by allocating users for each of the nine different development fields in accordance with individual users' needs and conditions under which these needs arise by MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport).

Development Area

User Service

Advances in navigation

Provision of route guidance/ traffic information

systems

Provision of destination-related information

Electronic toll collection systems

Electronic toll collection

Assistance for safe

Provision of driving and road conditions information

driving

Danger warning

 

Assistance for driving

 

Automated highway systems

Optimization of traffic

Optimization of traffic flow

management

Provision of traffic restriction information on incident management

Increasing efficiency in

Improvement of maintenance operations

road management

Management of special permitted commercial vehicles

 

Provision of roadway hazard information

Support for public

Provision of public transport information

transport

Assistance for public transport operations and operations management

Increasing efficiency in commercial vehicle

Assistance for commercial vehicle operations management

operations

Automated platooning of commercial vehicles

Support for pedestrians

Pedestrian route guidance

 

Vehicle-pedestrian accident avoidance

Support for emergency

Automatic emergency notification

vehicle operations

Route guidance for emergency vehicles and support for relief activities

In Europe, ERTICO offers ITS Toolbox, which aims to be a first source describing how ITS can be used to attain transport policy and business objectives. The Toolbox describes a number of ITS application tools and contains supplementary information about the selection of appropriate tools for particular objectives and about the benefits of integrated ITS tools. Tools are grouped into six areas (ERTICO, 1998b):

Area

Application Tool

Traffic management

Access control

 

Environmental traffic management

 

Highway management

 

Intersection control

 

Parking management

 

Ramp metering

 

Supervisory management

 

Traffic regulation enforcement

 

Urban incident management

 

Urban intelligent speed adaptation

 

Urban traffic control

 

Vulnerable road user facilities

Payment systems

Public transport payment systems

 

Parking payment systems

 

Urban tolling

 

Advanced urban road pricing

Collective and public transport

Fleet and resource management

management

Public transport priority

 

Car pooling/sharing management

 

Demand-responsive transport

Traffic and travel information

Pre-trip journey planning

 

Public transport information

 

Route guidance and navigation

 

Traffic information

Freight transport management

Co-ordinated city logistics

 

Fleet management

 

Freight management

 

Hazardous goods management

Security and emergency

Rescue service incident management

management

Breakdown and emergency alert

 

Public transport security


Technology

The concept of ITS is based on advanced communication technologies, that are used in the fields of each user service or application tool. The main developing technologies are (Japanese MLIT, ERTICO (1998b), IHT (1997)):

  • Advanced cruise-assist highway systems (AHS) aims to reduce traffic accidents, enhance safety, improve transportation efficiency as well as reduce the operational work of drivers.
  • Automatic incident detection (AID) aim to detect incidents automatically and quickly in order that the problem can be dealt with and the roads returned to normal operation as soon as possible. The detection system could be CCTV using image processing.
  • Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a standardised form of electronic communication used mainly for electronic commerce and document interchange.
  • Automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems are needed in many ITS application. There are many technological possibilities, such as GPS, vehicle-beacons, map matching and dead reckoning.
  • Electronic toll collection (ETC) system is non-stop payment transaction at a tollgate utilizing bi-lateral radio communication between roadside unit and on-board unit. ETC is almost same technology as Electronic Road Pricing (ERP).
  • Radio data system - Traffic message channel (RDS-TMC). RDS is a one-way broadcast, point-to-point transmission system. No information is sent back from the vehicles to the RDS service provider. With RDS it is possible to transmit additional digital information alongside normal FM radio transmission by superimposing a silent data channel. RDS-TMC provides a common European facility for transmitting dynamic and event related traffic and weather information.
  • Real-time driver information systems and route guidance are covered in a separate section.
  • Smart cards are a generic term for a credit card size device that contains several semiconductor devices including memory and an associated microprocessor. Data can be written to be read from and stored upon the card and manipulated in conjunction with other devices such as a smart card reader. Smart cards have been used for public transport payment contact and contactless.
  • Variable message signs (VMS) are covered in a separate section.
  • Weather data monitoring systems are designed to monitor current meteorological conditions. The information is then used to forecast poor weather. They enable network managers to act in good time, informing drivers of likely bad weather and initiating appropriate winter maintenance or emergency procedures.

Why introduce intelligent transport systems?

ITS are a group of innovative tools based on information and communications technologies applied in the transport sector. Reasons to implement ITS (ERTICO, 1998b):

  • ITS can give significant benefits to the efficiency, safety and environmental impacts of a city's transport system;
  • ITS can lead to cost savings for authorities, operators and users;
  • ITS measures can help give the city a modern, high tech image, and improve the quality of life for citizens;
  • ITS programmes can strengthen the local economy, help business and create new jobs.
  • The followings describe briefly some of the various ITS tools available and the benefits they offer (ERTICO, 1998a).
  • Advanced traffic management tools ensure that road network capacity is used to its maximum. For example, Urban Traffic Control systems minimising delays and controlling queues, "green wave" through traffic lights for emergency service vehicles, and public transport vehicles priority over other traffic.
  • Electronic payment, access control and automatic enforcement systems are important and flexible ITS tools for managing a better distribution of traffic in overcrowded networks.
  • Electronic payment systems such as smart cards offer operators more flexible ticketing, lower administrative costs and better marketing information. Passengers save time boarding and alighting, and appreciate the cash-free travel.
  • Multi-modal trip planning systems help travellers plan their journey before leaving home or the office. One telephone call, a quick check on the website, or even a hand-held terminal can give details of public transport services, including timetables, fares, interconnection as well as current service disruptions. With complete, up-to-the-minute information, people can choose the best way to travel.
  • Variable message signs (VMS) display current traffic information or suggest alternative routes.
  • In-vehicle electronic journey planners guide drivers along their route to any chosen destination, especially useful in an unfamiliar location. Adding real-time traffic information about current incidents, road works and special events lets drivers change routes and save time.
  • In-vehicle parking information leads drivers to the nearest available parking spaces, and can even allow them to book and pay in advance.
  • Pollution monitoring systems offer cities the opportunity to use traffic management tools to reduce the levels of pollution caused by traffic. Telling drivers about the pollution their vehicles are creating also improves public awareness of the problems.
  • ITS tools such as adaptive speed control, and camera systems for speed and traffic signal enforcement will increase safety of vulnerable road users, particularly children, elderly people and the disabled.

Demand impacts

The demand impacts of ITS depend on the types of implemented fields, but ITS can have a tremendous impact on all stages of a journey in terms of time required. The large amount of information available to ensure wise travel planning greatly reduces wasted time. Pre-trip information, for example, enables accurate planning of the most efficient and effective routes as well as appropriate selection of a public transport option through real-time itineraries. In-journey information, such as real-time traffic data and arrival/departure times, increases journey speed and decreases waiting for public transport (ERTICO).

In addition, drivers also benefit from ITS use in infrastructure, enjoying speedy (and automatic) toll payments as well as variable message signs / ramp metering that warns drivers of potential slowdowns or suggests alternate routes. Fleet operators can also use ITS to streamline delivery times thanks to tracking systems, routing systems, electronic weigh-in-motion and the digital tachograph.

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
Decrease in peak by providing better real-time information.
Reduce overall where route choice is improved by providing better real-time information.
Possible with some trip planning systems.
Where reducing journey times and better real-time information may attract car users, and may induce re-routing within the network.
Some increase where reducing journey times and better real-time information may attract car users, but some decrease where priority for public transport improves reliability.
Some increase where reducing travel times and better real-time information may attract car users.
No impact expected.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Short and long run demand responses

Most implications of ITS were implemented in recent years, so that it is difficult to judge their effectiveness in the long run, but expected impacts might be evaluated.

Demand responses
Response - 1st year 2-4 years 5 years 10+ years
-
  -
  Change job location
- Shop elsewhere
   
   
  -
  -
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Supply impacts

There will physically be no increase in the supply of road space and public transport service by applying ITS technologies. However, reduced journey times and stop start conditions, and rerouting less traffic-congested roads may in practice increase road capacity. Public transport supporting systems such as smart cards also will generate benefits for public transport users. The scale of these impacts is still difficult to judge.

Financing requirements

Some ITS technologies need special equipment and communication networks for utilising technology effect such as non-stop payment system on a toll road network. This will require a considerable initial infrastructure cost. Others also need the costs to research and develop a new technology. These estimated costs of the investment will be strongly influenced by both the technical specification and amount of equipment required. It is very difficult to define the technological specification, but the key factors affecting the volume of equipment required are as follows (Perrett and Stevens, 1996):

  • the geographic coverage required
  • the density of beacons
  • the requirement for gantries on which to mount beacons
  • the design of the centralised architecture
  • the penetration of installation of in-vehicle equipement

The following total costs have been estimated at 1994 prices for common ITS infrastructure(Perrett and Stevens, 1996).

  Capital cost Annual operating cost
Cost of beacons £ 500m £ 60m
Cost of gantries £ 1,700m £ 90m
Cost of centralised architecture £ 400m £ 200m
Cost of in-vehicle equipment £ 1,200m £ 100m
Total implementation cost £ 3,800m £ 450m

Expected impact on key policy objectives

ITS have potential to contribute to all key objectives, but the scale of contribution is dependent on the types of implemented field.

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  By reducing journey time, improving reliability and rerouting a less congested roads.
  Unlikely to be directly affected.
  By reducing air pollution.
  By improving public transport conditions.
  By reduction in the number of road casualties.
  By freeing up potentially productive time currently involved in delays.
  By investment and operating technological equipment, though the cost varies considerably with type of measure.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

By using less congested routes for providing real-time traffic information.
Community impacts By using less congested routes and knowing reliable arrival time to destination for providing real-time traffic information.
Environmental damage -
Poor accessibility -
Social or geographic disadvantage -
Accidents By reducing stop start conditions such as electronic toll collection system or offering pollution monitoring.
Economic growth By reducing stop start conditions such as electronic toll collection system or offering pollution monitoring.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

Each ITS instrument would generally be introduced to improve specific objectives such as efficiency, environment and safety. This will result in more winners than losers.

Winners and losers

Group

Winners/Losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

May benefit from reduced journey times and better information on routes or areas used by freight vehicles for ITS based fleet management systems.

Small businesses

May benefit from reduced journey times and offering a better and more efficient service.

High income car-users

May benefit from reduced journey times, increased safety and better information even if some ITS tools are very expensive to use.
People with a low income May benefit from reduced journey times, increased safety and better information, but purchase of some ITS tools need to pay high price.

People with poor access to public transport

By increasing access to various transport service on the multi-modal information systems.

All existing public transport users

May benefit from the introduction of electronic payment systems or automatic vehicle location systems to guide the bus location.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

May benefit from reduced journey times, increased safety and better information, but the level of benefit is lower than ITS tools users.

People making high value, important journeys

Where these journeys such as emergency vehicles will have higher values of time, so that they may be selected as priority vehicles.
The average car users May benefit from reduced journey times and better information by route guidance systems.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal There are usually no obvious legal barriers to the introduction of ITS.
Finance In many cases, the significant cost of the communication infrastructure would be borne by the application. However, ITS might lead to cost savings for authorities, operators and users in the long term.
Governance A wide range of organisations is involved in the implementation of ITS facilities.  In many cases collaboration will be needed between public and private sector.
Political acceptability There are usually few political barriers to the introduction of ITS. However, some ITS tools might be difficult to accept for users when they need to pay high user charges or buy expensive instruments to use these ITS systems.
Public and stakeholder acceptability Many ITS measures are widely accepted.  However, those which restrict freedom of use or facilitate charging may be unpopular.
Technical feasibility Many ITS measures are now fully operational; others still require proof of concept.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

Although there is considerable research into ITS measures, most is concerned with operational issues, rather than assessment against the kinds of objectives considered, and for many measures it is still too early to judge their effectiveness in widespread application.

In the absence of a detailed assessment of individual applications, the First Principles assessments are repeated here.

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  By reducing journey time, improving reliability and rerouting a less congested roads.
  Unlikely to be directly affected.
  By reducing air pollution.
  By improving public transport conditions.
  By reduction in the number of road casualties.
  By freeing up potentially productive time currently involved in delays.
  By investment and operating technological equipment, though the cost varies considerably with type of measure.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

By using less congested routes for providing real-time traffic information.
Community impacts By using less congested routes and knowing reliable arrival time to destination for providing real-time traffic information.
Environmental damage -
Poor accessibility -
Social or geographic disadvantage -
Accidents By reducing stop start conditions such as electronic toll collection system or offering pollution monitoring.
Economic growth By reducing stop start conditions such as electronic toll collection system or offering pollution monitoring.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

References

ERTICO (1998a) Intelligent city transport: A guidebook to intelligent transport systems. Brussels. ITS City Pioneers

ERTICO (1998b) Intelligent city transport: ITS toolbox. Brussels. ITS City Pioneers

ERTICO (1998c) Intelligent city transport: ITS planning handbook. Brussels. ITS City Pioneers

IHT (Institution of Highway and Transportation) (1997) Transport in the urban environment. Chapter 18 Technology for network management.

Perrett, K.E. and Stevens, A (1996) Review of the potential benefits of road transport telematics, TRL Report 220. Crowthorne. TRL.

Links

ERTICO ITS Europe (http://www.ertico.com/)
(European Road Transport Telematics Implementation Coordination Organization)

ITS Assist (UK) (http://www.its-assist.org.uk/)

ITS America (http://www.itsa.org/)

ITS Australia (http://www.its-australia.com.au/)

ITS Canada (http://www.itscanada.ca/)

ITS Japan (http://www.vertis.or.jp/)

ITS Korea (http://www.itskorea.or.kr/)

ITS Online (http://www.itsonline.com/)

Japanese MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) Road Bureau ITS
(http://www.mlit.go.jp/road/ITS/)