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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-006    Date:  September/October 2015
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-006
Issue No: Vol. 79 No. 2
Date: September/October 2015


Internet Watch

by Carrie Boris

Connecting with ITS on the Web

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are a growing area of interest for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the transportation industry, and the Nation as a whole. Even private companies not normally associated with transportation are conducting research and development on innovations like self-driving cars. By integrating advanced communications technologies into vehicles and infrastructure, ITS can improve transportation safety, mobility, and the environment.

USDOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, housed under the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, is responsible for conducting research on ITS across all major transportation modes and coordinating the work of the modal administrations. The ITS Joint Program Office recently released the ITS Strategic Plan 2015–2019, outlining the direction and goals of the Federal ITS program and providing a framework for research, development, and adoption activities. The plan has six research areas: connected vehicles, automation, emerging capabilities, enterprise data, interoperability, and accelerating deployment.

To support the increased focus on this area, USDOT has introduced resources for a range of audiences, including a video explaining connected vehicle systems and Web pages with an emphasis on safety-related programs and projects.

An Award-Winning Video

Connected vehicles offer the possibility of improved safetyand mobility thanks to integration of technologies like GPS and dedicated short-range communications that enable high-speed, real-time communication between vehicles, roadside infrastructure, and mobile devices. These vehicles can share data anonymously to help prevent crashes and reduce congestion, which can lessen the impact of transportation on the environment by minimizing idling time, reducing fuel use, and lowering emissions.

The ITS Joint Program Office recently produced a 7-minute video using computer-generated animation to help illustrate how connected vehicle technology works. The video shows connected vehicles in action, moving through several scenarios that highlight the technology’s benefits in safety, mobility, environment, road weather, and emergency response. The video is available at www.its.dot.gov/library/media/15cv_future.htm.

The video won two prestigious awards: a 2015 Silver Telly Award and a 2015 Communicator Gold Award of Excellence. A highly respected national and international competition, the Telly Awards annually showcase the best work of advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments from around the world. The Communicator Awards honor creative excellence for communications professionals working in print, video, interactive, and audio.

ITS Safety on the Web

The ITS Joint Program Office’s Web site at www.its.dot.gov offers a variety of resources to help transportation professionals find the information they need. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Safety launched the “Intelligent Transportation System Safety” Web site in fall 2014 at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/its.

Aimed at State and local agencies, the ITS safety Web pages are a subsection of the Office of Safety’s main site. They highlight the role of the office in USDOT’s ITS initiatives. “We wanted to let our stakeholders know we are getting more involved in ITS safety,” says Karen Timpone, a program manager with the Office of Safety. “The goal is to provide safety-related resources for ITS professionals, especially as connected vehicle technologies begin to be deployed.”

As part of the new strategic plan for ITS, the Office of Safety will be working over the next 5 years to promote five safety-related connected vehicle programs: (1) vehicle-to-vehicle communications for safety, (2) vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for safety, (3) vehicle-to-pedestrian technologies, (4) road weather management, and (5) cross-cutting activities, which include architecture, standards, professional capacity building, technology transfer, and evaluation tasks. The ITS safety Web site includes information about each of these programs, as well as links to other resources.

In addition, from the “Useful Links” page, users can access Federal and association resources related to ITS research and programs, including information about standards, national ITS architecture, and professional capacity building.

Screen capture from the video Connected Vehicle: The Future of Transportation. The animated video shows cars and other vehicles with circles emanating outward representing the wireless connectivity among vehicles and infrastructure.
An award-winning video from USDOT uses computer-generated animation to explain connected vehicle technology.

For more information about ITS safety programs and initiatives, visit http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/its, or contact Karen Timpone at 202–366–2327 or karen.timpone@dot.gov.

Carrie Boris is a contributing editor for Public Roads.



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