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

Monday, July 21, 2003
Contact: Bill Outlaw, 202-366-0660
FHWA 25-03

U.S. Transportation Department Conducts ITS Tests In Public Safety Partnerships with Washington, Utah

The U.S. Transportation Department today announced that two Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) tests are being conducted to expedite emergency services such as ambulances and medical personnel by improving electronic communication between public safety and transportation agencies. The tests are underway in Washington and Utah.

"Safety is the Bush administration's top transportation priority," Secretary Mineta said. "By improving communication between transportation management centers and public safety agencies, we can save lives through faster responses to traffic crashes and other emergencies."

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is conducting the tests in partnership with the states of Utah and Washington. The two ITS projects are part of DOT's effort to enhance public safety operations by improving information-sharing across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries. Use of the same information and compatible communications systems by police, fire department and transportation agencies helps provide for faster dispatch of emergency response vehicles, faster clearance of traffic crashes and safer accident scenes.

Utah's Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Department of Public Safety are integrating their advanced transportation management systems and computer-aided dispatch systems. A key goal of the Utah project is to demonstrate that incident data can be formatted and managed so that each agency receives only useful and relevant information. Also, the project uses automated vehicle location and digital mapping functions to more quickly identify incident locations.

"UDOT and the Utah Department of Public Safety have been working across organizational boundaries for years and are setting a great example of partnering," said John Njord, UDOT's executive director. "This grant will allow us to take our past experience, build upon it, and share the results with the rest of the country."

The Seattle project integrates the Washington State Patrol's (WSP) new computer-aided dispatch system (CAD) into the Washington State Department of Transportation's (WSDOT) Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS). The CARS network is a secure Internet-based system that allows state, local and regional agencies to collect and share information regarding road incidents, weather conditions, traffic delays and other situations. The project will demonstrate how open communication between Washington State's CAD system and the CARS network can improve emergency response and traveler information distribution without causing additional burdens on the already busy emergency response and radio operations staff. "This is a great opportunity for the Department of Transportation and Washington State Patrol to work together to improve roadway-condition reports for the traveling public," Washington State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald said. "Consistent and timely information delivered through our traveler-information systems will help save lives and make the most efficient use of our highways."

The tests are taking place in Salt Lake City and Seattle. The projects are expected to be completed in late 2005. The Utah project cost is $1.25 million with a federal share of $1 million. The Washington project cost is $462,194 with a federal share of $294,596.

ITS improves transportation safety and relieves congestion through the application of traffic management, communication and information technologies. For additional information on ITS applications, go to DOT's ITS website at www.its.dot.gov.


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