U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) introduced a bipartisan bill to spur innovation and accelerate the deployment of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to help communities address their transportation challenges. Rogers, Carnahan and Intelligent Transportation Society of America CEO Scott Belcher hosted a telephone press conference on the issue on Wednesday, March 30.
“We cannot continue to simply build our way into a transportation system necessary for the demands of the 21st Century,” Rogers said. “Technologies and information exist today to cost-effectively, safely and efficiently manage our nation’s roads and infrastructure.”
“Our roads, bridges and traffic lights desperately need repair, and with budgets tight, we have to look for solutions that stretch every dollar,” Carnahan said. “By tapping into new technology we can address those problems while at the same time solving traffic congestion problems, preventing accidents and putting gas money back in the pockets of families and businesses. It’s the kind of common-sense solution that will help our economy grow and make sure taxpayers get a better bang for their buck.”
The Smart Technologies for Communities Act would create a competitive pilot program in up to six communities across the country to serve as model deployment sites for large-scale installation and operation of ITS technologies to improve safety, mobility and the environment. Examples of technology solutions include “connected” vehicles that avoid crashes, stress-sensing bridges, active traffic management to reduce congestion, electronic tolling systems to avoid the wait at the toll booth, and real-time traffic, transit and parking information for commuters.
Congestion on U.S. roads currently interferes with America’s daily activities, from slowing down commerce, polluting the environment and wasting fuel. It is estimated that in our metropolitan communities alone, more than 4.8 billion hours are wasted sitting in traffic, resulting in 3.9 billion gal of wasted fuel and costing our economy more than $115 billion annually.
Rogers and Carnahan also announced endorsements for the bill from a broad range of transportation, business and environmental leaders, including private-sector employers such as AT&T, Ford, General Motors, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola and Verizon. The list of supporting organizations and endorsement letter are available at http://www.itsa.org/SmartCommunities.html.