In the latest issue of BE Magazine, published by Bentley Systems Inc., freelance writer Al Karr explores high-tech solutions to the mounting challenges of America’s surface transportation systems. In the article “More ITS Sightings,” which first appeared in Transportation Management & Engineering Magazine, Karr says that by the year 2043 vehicle-miles traveled will leap by 135% while highway capacity will grow by just 9%. This, he warns, could result in the average motorist spending 160 hours a year–or four eight-hour-day work weeks–sitting in traffic tie-ups.
Traffic conditions like this, he says, are the raison d’être for intelligent transportation system (ITS) technology, which is designed to make surface transportation more efficient, safer and more economical.
Among the solutions currently being used are cell phones, PDAs, vehicle navigation systems, electronic toll-collection systems and highway traffic monitoring and reporting networks.
But as Karr explains, there are obstacles to the widespread deployment of these systems as well as to their integration, which is the key to their future success. He goes on to examine the progress being made and challenges that remain.