U.S. Department of Transportation releases results of the 2010 ITS Deployment Tracking Survey

The U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration has released a new report detailing the rate of intelligent transportation system (ITS) deployment within the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The report presents summary results of the 2010 ITS Deployment Tracking Survey. The ITS Deployment Tracking Project has conducted a nationwide survey of state and local transportation and emergency management agencies nearly every year since 1997, with the scope covering agencies involved with freeway, arterial, and transit management; public safety (law enforcement and fire/rescue/emergency medical); and toll collection. The 2010 effort distributed nearly 1,600 surveys to state and local transportation agencies located in nearly all states. The overall response rate for all surveys was 85 percent.

For the first time, the most recent survey included a number of questions aimed at gathering the opinion of responding agencies concerning certain issues. Previously, agency opinions could only be inferred from the patterns of deployment observed. In the 2010 survey, agencies were asked to rank the impact of several factors on their decisions to deploy ITS technology. In addition, they were asked to provide a subjective assessment of the benefits of key technologies, based on their experience. Finally, agencies were asked to report on their plans to make new deployments or to expand existing deployments in the next 3 years.

In general, the results from the 2010 survey show a continued trend in which ITS deployment supports an evolution in traffic management. Specific observations include:

  • As ITS has moved from being experimental to mainstream, interest in additional investments in ITS continues to be very strong. When asked about future deployment plans, one-third to three-fourths of the different agency types report plans to expand current deployments and about half plan to invest in new technologies over the next 3 years.
  • The expansion of real-time data collection through traffic sensors and cameras has changed the focus of information gathering from planning support to operations support.
  • Advances in communications and development of interagency communications standards have advanced interagency integration from virtually none to close operational coordination, shown by strong support for integrated operations along corridors.
  • Technical advances have moved traffic management capabilities from relatively passive monitoring to data-driven incident management and proactive control of traffic through mechanisms like managed lanes, ramp metering, and adaptive traffic signals.
  • Public agencies place high emphasis on reaching their customers and are willing to try new methods like social media to do so.
  • The deployment of technologies to track and dispatch transit vehicles has made it possible to greatly improve customer service by providing travelers with real-time schedule information, supporting demand responsive operations, and improving route planning.
  • Toll collection has rapidly moved from a completely manual operation to one largely automated through deployment of electronic toll collection systems. These deployments have improved the safety, mobility, and accuracy of toll collection, while reducing costs.

Access to the complete database of survey results is available on-line at the ITS Deployment Statistics website (http://www.itsdeployment.its.dot.gov/). The website provides access to individual responses to each question as well as the responses for each agency surveyed. The website also provides a variety of downloadable reports, including a survey summary for each survey type and fact sheets for each metropolitan area.