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ITS America urges Congress to upgrade traffic technology

In a letter to House and Senate leaders signed by 37 stakeholders, the Intelligent Transportation Society of America urged funding for Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies.

“Nearly every state and municipality has ‘ready-to-go’ projects that require funding to get started,” the letter said. “In order to maximize the economic benefits of these investments, Congress should fund ITS technologies and strongly encourage ITS solutions to be considered as part of any appropriate infrastructure project.”

An ITS America spokeswoman said the organization did not specifically call for VII (vehicle infrastructure integration) funding since it would not have met the requirements that Congress was imposing for “shovel-ready” projects that could be implemented in 120 days. “However, we did suggest funding for infrastructure upgrades, many of which would ultimately enable VII.

What has been called VII by the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) in the U.S. Department of Transportation is now known as IntelliDrive. RITA describes IntelliDrive as combining advanced wireless communications, on-board computer processing, advanced vehicle sensors, GPS navigation, and smart infrastructure, to enable vehicles to identify threats and hazards on the roadway and communicate over wireless networks to give drivers alerts and warnings.

In its letter to Congress, ITS America said “one example of a high-impact infrastructure investment that would yield short- and long-term economic benefits while improving safety, mobility, and the environment is the synchronization of traffic lights at signalized intersections using the latest technologies including dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and other telecommunications capabilities.” It cited benefits including reduced traffic congestion, environmental improvement, and improved productivity, “while creating infrastructure that would become part of a nationwide ITS communications network…that will enable real-time communication between vehicles, the roadway, first responders, and traffic operations centers.”

ITS America noted that successful VII test networks already operating in California, Michigan, New York and Virginia are demonstrating ITS solutions including advanced collision avoidance systems, active traffic management and emergency response systems, real-time multimodal traveler information, and e-commerce.

It said ITS will stimulate job creation, including green jobs, high-tech, automotive, IT, consumer electronics, manufacturing, and related industries.

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