I've provided, below, an overview of ITS activities in the U.S. and
Europe, along with some perspective on the factors involved in
implementing ITS, and the data on costs and benefits. The information
is largely excerpted from the key ITS websites in the U.S. and Europe.
I hope this is exactly what you need for your proposal work, but if
not -- if you find you need a particular type of information, or more
detail on a certain facet of ITS -- just let me know through a Request
for Clarification, and I'll be glad to provide additional detail.
ITS is used in the U.S. as shorthand for "Intelligent Transportation
Systems" while the same initials are used in Europe for "Intelligent
Transport Systems". In either case, the meaning is the same. ITS
refers to the application of "smart" technologies to improve
transportation systems by: improving travel times; increasing the
efficiencies and throughput of existing systems; lowering costs;
minimizing environmental impact; and increasing safety.
In the U.S., ITS research and implementation is largely coordinated
through the US Department of Transportation, while in Europe, ITS work
is coordinated through a government-private sector consortium known as
ERTICO. The information presented below is taken from the USDOT and
From the FAQs at:
What is ITS?
Intelligent Transportation Systems represent the next step in the
evolution of the nation's entire transportation system. As information
technologies and advances in electronics continue to revolutionize all
aspects of our modern-day world, from our homes and offices to our
schools and even our recreation, they are also being applied to our
transportation network. These technologies include the latest in
computers, electronics, communications and safety systems.
Where can they be applied?
ITS can be applied to our vast transportation infrastructure of
highways, streets, and bridges, as well as to a growing number of
vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks, and trains. These information
and communications technologies can also be used to better manage and
improve how transportation providers such as governments, transit
agencies and truckers offer services to the public.
What are the key elements of the ITS metropolitan approach?
Traffic signal control
Electronic toll collection
Electronic fare payment
Regional multi-modal traveler information
What are the benefits of the ITS metropolitan approach?
Advanced traffic surveillance and signal control systems have resulted
in travel time improvements ranging from 8 to 25%
Freeway management systems, primarily through ramp metering, have
reduced crashes by 24 to 50% while handling 8 to 22% more traffic at
speeds 13 to 48% faster than pre-existing congested conditions.
Electronic fare payment technologies for transit systems have resulted
in increased revenues of 3 to 30% due to fewer evasions.
Incident management programs can reduce delay associated with
congestion caused by incidents by 10 to 45%.
Electronic toll collection increases capacity by 200 to 300% compared
to attended lanes.
What are some of the benefits of ITS [for commercial vehicles]?
Onboard safety systems, along with electronic clearance and automated
roadside safety inspections, are estimated to reduce fatalities by 14
Cost savings associated with hazardous materials incident response
programs are estimated to be $1.7 million annually per state, or $85
Automated administrative processes yield benefit/cost ratios of 4:1
for medium-sized carriers and 20:1 for large-sized carriers; and
electronic clearance systems have been shown to reduce motor carrier
labor costs resulting in a benefit/cost ration of 7:1.
Freight mobility systems have shown productivity gains for private
carriers of sometimes more than 25% per truck per day.
With what is the rural ITS program concerned?
Traveler safety and security technologies
Fleet operations and maintenance systems
Public traveler and mobility services
Roadway operations and maintenance technologies
Tourism and travel information
Commercial vehicle systems
What are some of the ITS benefits in the rural area?
Widespread use of Mayday emergency notification devices could reduce
the time its takes to discover a rural crash from an average of 9.6
minutes to one minute.
Advanced lane-keeping and collision-avoidance technologies could
prevent 19,000 crashes in rural areas every year due to vehicles
running off the road.
What is the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative?
Where the metropolitan, the commercial vehicle and the rural programs
are focused primarily on the ITS infrastructure, the Intelligent
Vehicle Initiative aims to accelerate the development and availability
of advanced safety and information systems applied to all types of
vehicles. The goal is to integrate driver assistance and motorist
information functions so that vehicles operate more safely and
What are the benefits of the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative?
In-vehicle devices addressing lane-change, rear-end and
roadway-departure crashes are estimated to offset 1.1 million crashes
In urban areas, 52,000 crashes could be prevented annually by advanced
lane-keeping and collision-avoidance technologies.
Enhancements in nighttime and bad weather vision applications may
significantly improve drivers' abilities to stay in lanes and
distinguish hazards in the road.
USDOT maintains a detailed database of ITS costs and benefits, which
is searchable and easily manipulated to present data in many different
formats. A good summary sheet of the data can be found here:
The table would not reproduce here at Google Answers, otherwise I
would have included it directly -- it is probably your best single
source of information on the benefits of ITS.
ITS IN EUROPE
What is ERTICO?
ERTICO is a Europe-wide, not-for-profit, public/private partnership
for the implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services
Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (ITS) describes any system
or service that makes the movement of people or goods more efficient
and economical, thus more "intelligent".
Whether offering "real-time" information about current traffic
conditions, in-vehicle destination guidance, or on-line information
for journey planning, the variety of ITS tools available today enable
authorities, operators and individual travellers to make better
informed, more intelligent transport decisions.
The benefits of ITS technology are multifaceted. Through the hard work
and innovations of ERTICO Partners and other key industry players, a
variety of products and services have demonstrated their effectiveness
saving human lives
augmenting the overall safety of our roads
decreasing journey times and journey-related trip planning
reducing some of the harmful effects of transport on the environment
The most important benefit of ITS is undoubtedly the increased safety
of our vehicles and our roads. Thanks to the strides made in ITS
technology, there has been a reduction in the overall number of road
casualties. In the vehicle, active support systems such as vision
enhancement, lane-keeping, collision avoidance, and alertness monitors
have lessened driver error and fatigue. The after-effects of potential
road tragedy have also been lessened by the presence of in-vehicle
automatic emergency call systems. All combine to give drivers an extra
boost of confidence and security no matter what the journey
Safety is also key priority of infrastructure operators, who use a
variety of ITS technologies to enhance the quality of our motorways.
Systems such as coordinated traffic control, ramp metering, variable
message signs, traffic and incident detection systems are all utilised
for monitoring road conditions and providing for smooth and sure
journeys. In addition, many infrastructure operators make use of
weather monitoring systems to warn drivers in advance of perilous
The use of ITS technology also has an indirect but positive effect on
the Earth's environment. Most benefits are based on the principle that
fewer vehicles operating means reduced fuel consumption and fewer CO2
emissions. Various systems make this possible, including:
navigation devices and traffic information services that inform
drivers about the most efficient routes to use in order to avoid
traffic delays and roundabout directions
parking availability information that sends drivers directly to an
available space rather than making multiple tours around the area
real-time, multi-modal arrival/departure information that encourages
public transport use
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
A list of about a hundred ITS "success stories" throughout Europe can
be found here:
I wanted to post this answer as quickly as possible, so that you have
an opportunity to review it, and let me know if you need any
If you do, and if you can respond in the next few hours, I can
probably provide any needed follow up information later this evening.