August 16, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to give you an update to the Intelligent Transportation Systems-Joint Program Office (ITS-JPO) Strategic Research Plan which we released at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting in January.  As you may recall, the plan is aimed at leveraging the power of wireless communications to transform transportation systems to make them safer, greener and more efficient.  Since TRB, several events have taken place to move us closer to this vision.

In April, the ITS-JPO released a white paper outlining how this strategic vision will be achieved. At the ITS America annual meeting in May, Secretary LaHood affirmed his commitment to IntelliDrive.  Five USDOT modal administrators and senior DOT officials also affirmed their commitment to the IntelliDrive research plan and its vision of a nationwide wireless information network connecting all vehicles and infrastructure to dramatically enhance safety, mobility and environmental performance.  Each administrator explained how wireless technology is being used today to help make cars, trucks, transit systems and even waterways safer.

As you know, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) is committed to using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) over the FCC’s 5.9 GHz band for ITS safety applications.  This technology allows for secure and reliable high speed transmissions by using low latency short range communications.  We see a whole new world of safety applications that will be developed using IntelliDrive’s open standards for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.  These applications will reduce deadly types of crashes through real-time advisories and warnings.  Data collected through IntelliDrive will be used for a myriad of mobility applications that will make travel easier and more efficient while maintaining privacy.

DOT could not be more committed to this vision.  The commitment comes from the very top – Secretary LaHood – and crosses all transportation modes.  The Department’s ITS Strategic Research Plan is focused on conducting the necessary research with stakeholder input and involvement to lay the technical and institutional foundation for this network and to test and prove its potential benefits.  This work includes engaging with partners to determine viable strategies for encouraging and accelerating deployment on both the vehicle and infrastructure sides. 

We invite you to join us by following developments on the ITS-JPO website, providing inputs to research products and activities, or joining us at an upcoming public meeting.  The next few months are critical as we work with stakeholders to develop the system architecture for application development build-outs.  We have three stakeholders meetings scheduled between now and the end of the year in Detroit, San Jose and Washington, DC.  I encourage you to check the ITS-JPO website for details. 

We are committed to continuing to provide information and engage stakeholders throughout the research process.  If you have questions about our program or would like to engage directly with our staff, please contact Mike Pina at  Thank you for your interest in DOT’s ITS program.

Peter Appel
Research and Innovative Technology Administration