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Moving Forward with Intelligent Transportation

 Long ago, (in November 1999), at the 6th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems held in Toronto, Canada presented its plan for providing “the leadership and support necessary to advance the application and compatibility of ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) technologies to make Canada’s transportation system safe, integrated, efficient and sustainable.”  This plan is online at the Transport Canada website at www.tc.gc.ca  on the Transportation Technology and Innovation page.  The Executive Summary cites the importance of Canada’s ground transportation system to its “economic and social well-being” and the potential improvements from adopting the “advances in smart technologies or intelligent transportation systems.”

ITS, summarily described, enable an information exchange between and amongst system users, vehicles and infrastructure.  The expected benefits of this innovation include better management and use of available resources, smoother traffic flow and improved mobility on congested corridors while making them safer, improved intermodal transfers, and speedier processing of travelers and goods across international borders.  The plan is about the government’s role in bringing together the various partners —(all levels of government, the private sector, ITS Canada, academia, and consumers) necessary to engage in the activities that will achieve the objectives: —developing, deploying and integrating ITS applications across Canada, or as more precisely stated, “to integrate the ground transportation system into the knowledge economy.”
Ten years is a very long time in the world of smart technologies and intelligent systems.  This year the 16th ITS World Congress is being held from September 21 to 25 in Stockholm, Sweden. The 156-page program is online at www.itsworldcongress.com.  Descriptions of the opening plenary sections indicate an intention to focus on the challenge faced by all nations to support economic growth by having efficient, reliable and interconnected transport systems at the same time as they work to reduce emissions. ITS is described as “a tool in these long-term efforts to combine growth with climate responsibilities; focusing on benefits, on multimodal transport solutions and on efficiency.”
This year’s program includes presentations on research activities, experimentation and early adoption results, implementation plans, and envisioning in a host of specific areas including, to mention only a few, automated connected driving, cooperative safety, human behavioural adaptation to ITS benefits, smart ‘Park & Ride’, smarter traffic control systems, and privacy and data protection.
Over 5,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend this year’s conference, including representatives from international organizations and national governments, regional, local and municipal authorities, security and safety organizations, industry CEOs, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, service developers and providers, software developers and systems integrators, automotive and industrial designers, public transport and freight operators, ITS project management and financiers, ITS consultancies and advisors, ITS users and members organizations, public interest groups and the media.
Just as the next generation of personal mobility devices is already further advancing the media accessing and social networking revolution, so advances in ITS technologies will further advance the mobility revolution.  Improved road safety, including the vision of a crashless future through the refinement of “intellidrive” systems will be the subject of future Road Rules articles.

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