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

Thursday, February 24, 2000
Contact: Virginia Miller
Tel.: (202) 366-0660
FHWA 10-00

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Announces
ITS Field Tests to Expedite Safe Freight Movement

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater today announced two new Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) field tests aimed at preparing America for the expected doubling of intermodal freight transportation over the first two decades of the 21st century.

"In his State of the Union message, President Clinton said that innovation will be the key to improvements in the quality of our lives and advances in the economy, and Vice President Gore has led the way in demonstrating that innovative technology can fuel economic growth and help make our communities more livable," Secretary Slater said. "Safety and productivity benefits from the use of ITS technologies in freight movement will be good for industry, and they will enhance the quality of life for all Americans who rely on the safe and efficient transport of consumer goods."

One field test, a partnership of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Foundation, is designed to improve operational efficiency and cargo security for freight shippers and operators.

The test, "An Integrated Cargo Information and Security System for Intermodal Distribution Channels," will use biometric smart card technologies to develop a secured, multimodal, Internet-based cargo manifest. The system will automate transfer of comprehensive cargo data from one mode of transportation to another and across jurisdictions. After successful installation and testing in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, a second airport and supply chain will be added in Newark, N.J.

This field test builds on the O'Hare Air Cargo Security Access System, which the Federal Aviation Administration, O'Hare International Airport and the ATA instituted jointly in 1997. The project uses a fingerprint smart card access system to expedite the transfer of cargo from trucks to airplanes and enhance security.

The second field test, a partnership between U.S. Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Transportation, will link public highway ITS technology with private port-side electronic data interchange systems. Access to traffic information will permit freight organizations to identify and bypass transportation bottlenecks, thereby reducing operating costs and congestion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has provided $1 million for the two field tests, with 50 percent or more matching funds from the partner organizations. Both tests will last for two years.

The ITS program was reauthorized in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, signed into law by President Clinton in June 1998. ITS combines information and communication technology to actively manage surface transportation networks to improve operational efficiency andsafety.


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