Letter to Stakeholders from ITS JPO Director Ken Leonard

Dear Colleagues,

As we begin to pursue our goals for 2014, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of our achievements from the past year.

2013 was a banner year for the Intelligent Transportation System Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), particularly with the success of the Safety Pilot Model Deployment. Years of research and collaboration across the industry and public and private sectors culminated in this yearlong demonstration of connected vehicle technology on the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our efforts have proven that a system of connected vehicles communicating wirelessly with each other can work in the real world and provide safety benefits.  USDOT has extended the model deployment for 6 months to collect additional data and further examine the effectiveness of the technology on motorcycles and roadside infrastructure.

Further supporting connected vehicles, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this past November that recognized the anticipated safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle technology. GAO also found that stakeholders were generally supportive of our direction. The report also noted several deployment challenges—all of which the USDOT is working with industry stakeholders to address.

This past year, the ITS JPO also started an affiliation of test beds for connected vehicle technology. Technology developers, manufacturers, and operators are able to share advanced infrastructure, resources, and tools and exchange information, all contributing to a consistent, standardized deployment of connected vehicle technology.

2013 also marked the launch of the Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) programs in Dallas and San Diego. The nation is watching as government agencies in these regions work closer than ever to empower travelers and provide a more predictable travel experience for all. These agencies cooperate to manage freeways, parallel side roads, and bus and rail lines as an integrated transportation network, instead of separate systems. Travelers in regions with ICM enjoy a more complete picture of the current traffic conditions. With better knowledge and information, these travelers have more control of their choices.

This year, up to ten other regions around the United States will continue to advance ICM with help from new planning grants sponsored by the USDOT.

The capture and sharing of robust data is critical to our work at the ITS JPO as well as to the transportation industry. This is why we were pleased to unveil two new products in 2013—the Research Data Exchange (RDE) and the ITS Asset Viewer. The RDE is a new data-sharing capability that supports the needs of ITS researchers and developers while reducing costs and encouraging innovation. The ITS Asset Viewer visually displays data on the location of ITS deployments nationwide, such as cameras, messages signs, ramp meters, speed sensors, and roadway weather information systems—providing a geographic picture of the status of ITS deployment.

We continued to make significant strides in accomplishing the agenda set forth in our ITS Strategic Research Plan 2010-2014. We are now looking forward to not only continuing to achieve our targets for this year, but in setting our vision and goals for the rest of the decade. We began developing a strategic plan to determine our ITS research initiatives for 2015 through 2019 that is planned for publication this spring. The strategic planning process began with a series of open forums and webinars to collect broad stakeholder input, as the USDOT is committed to engaging new and existing stakeholders throughout the research process.

Finally, I’d like to welcome Bob Sheehan and Kevin Dopart to our team at the ITS JPO. Mr. Sheehan joins us as a transportation specialist for our Vehicle to Infrastructure Connected Vehicle, Integrated Corridor Management, Transit, and Active Traffic Management Programs. He has over 17 years of experience in program management, operations, and ITS. Mr. Dopart will serve as the program manager for Connected Vehicle Safety and Automation. He comes to us with over 30 years of operations, engineering, and policy experience in vehicle systems, automation, and public safety for government programs. His extensive transportation career experience includes program management, federal policy, and system operations, as well as collaborating with diverse stakeholders to develop and implement innovative ITS technology program strategies. We look forward to the contributions of both as we continue to pursue the exciting initiatives here at the ITS JPO.

Thank you for your sustained interest in the USDOT’s ITS program. We will continue to share information and updates as our efforts progress.

Sincerely, Ken Leonard