Truman Mast Federal Highway Administration
The Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Program is a cooperative effort by government, private industry, and academia to apply advanced technology to resolving the problems of surface transportation. The objective is to improve travel efficiency and mobility, enhance safety, conserve energy, provide economic benefits, and protect the environment. The current demand for mobility has exceeded the available capacity of the roadway system. Because the highway system cannot be expanded, except in minor ways, the available capacity must be used more efficiently to handle the increased demand. Traffic congestion in urban areas and on heavily traveled intercity corridors continues to rise rapidly with the annual cost to the nation in lost productivity alone being about $100 billion. The enormous costs of wasted fuel and environmental damage are not included in this estimate. Moreover, traffic accidents kill more than 40,000 people and injure another five million every year (DOT IVHS Strategic Plan, 1992).
ITS will apply advanced information processing, communications, sensing, and computer control technologies to the problems of surface transportation. Considerable research and development efforts will be required to produce these new technologies and to convert technologies developed in the defense and space programs to solve surface transportation problems.