New "smart" technology, such as intelligent transportation systems (ITS), has the potential to squeeze more capacity from over-burdened, help commuters avoid traffic delays, and expand and improve transportation options, all while saving money and creating jobs, according to a new report from four transportation organizations. "Smart Mobility for a 21st Century America," released on Oct. 6, covers the value of advances in vehicle, fuel and traffic control technology in light of the nation's growing and aging population, tight budgets and shifts in consumer preference.
Many smart technologies are being deployed to improve system efficiency and reduce travel delays, provide more convenient access to transportation alternatives, and customize routes based on real-time traffic conditions and individual travel preferences, according to "Smart Mobility." The report contains case studies that demonstrate how the technologies have been applied to real-world transportation challenges. The report also offers policy recommendations as Congress and the Obama Administration consider a comprehensive transportation bill, such as providing incentives and dedicated funding for states and regions to adopt smart technology solutions and offering competitive grants to stimulate innovation.
ITS and other smart technologies are cost effective and quick to deploy, according to the report. As an example, the report says that synchronized and adaptive traffic signals yield a $40 return in time and fuel savings for every $1 invested while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions up to 22 percent and travel delays by 25 percent or more. "We can harness technology and tap America's creative potential to get a better bang for our buck and ensure the transportation options Americans rely on are available and affordable in the coming decades," said James Corless, director of Washington-based Transportation for America, one of the report's cosponsors. Other co-authors include the Washington-based Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the Association for Commuter Transportation and the University of Michigan's SMART Initiative.
Download "Smart Mobility for a 21st Century America."