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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Contact: Bill Outlaw
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 20-03

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces Opening Of Crash-Preventing "Intelligent Intersection" Test Facility

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced the opening of a new test facility at which technologies will be tested that are designed to save lives by preventing crashes at intersections.

"President Bush and I have made reducing highway fatalities the number one priority for the Department of Transportation," Secretary Mineta said. "Intelligent vehicle technologies save lives by preventing crashes and are key to meeting our goal of reducing highway fatalities. The new intersection test facility will teach us important lessons that will lead to safer highways and many saved lives."

Secretary Mineta underscored the importance of intelligent vehicle technologies by pointing to the Administration's 2003 surface transportation reauthorization proposal - the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003 (SAFETEA). In it the Administration requests almost $1.7 billion in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) funding over six years beginning Oct. 1, 2003, a 20 percent increase over Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) levels. The Department's support for intelligent highway and vehicle development is part of its ITS program.

The test intersection, the first of its kind in the United States, is located at the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Highway Research Center in McLean, VA, and will be used to develop and evaluate vehicle-based and vehicle roadway cooperative systems that can save lives by helping drivers avoid intersection crashes.

Secretary Mineta commended the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) partnerships for developing and bringing to market vehicle technologies that help drivers avoid crashes and encouraged the continued commercialization of those technologies. The Secretary's announcement came in connection with the USDOT's National IVI Meeting and Demonstration being held June 24-26 in Washington, DC.

More than 6 million crashes occur each year on U.S. highways, and about 30 percent of those crashes are at intersections. Crashes kill more than 42,000 people, injure nearly 3 million and cost more than $230 billion a year. Despite public information campaigns and vehicle and infrastructure design improvements, driver error remains the leading cause of highway crashes.

Intelligent vehicle technologies prevent crashes by helping drivers avoid hazardous mistakes. The IVI program helps to accelerate development and application of vehicle-based driver assistance products that warn drivers of dangerous situations, recommend actions, and even assume partial control of vehicles to avoid collisions.

The national IVI meeting showcases accomplishments in intelligent vehicle technologies and sets the course for the future. It features demonstrations of the newest intelligent vehicle technologies nearing deployment as well as the new cooperative vehicle-highway intersection test facility. Products in testing and expected to appear soon in passenger cars include rear-end collision avoidance systems and roadway departure warning systems. Eight IVI operational tests also are underway.

The IVI program already has produced results. Intelligent vehicle products in the marketplace include automated collision notification, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning systems, as well as rear-end collision warning systems for trucks.

The IVI is a cooperative effort between the motor vehicle industry and four agencies of USDOT: the FHWA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. It is a major component of USDOT's ITS program, which was reauthorized in 1998 in TEA-21. ITS funding in TEA-21 amounted to almost $1.3 billion over six years.

Additional information on the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative is posted on USDOT's ITS web site, http://www.its.dot.gov.

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