Future of Transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems

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Getting caught in a traffic jam often brings out the worst in most of us. We blame bad drivers, poor roads, burgeoning traffic, absence of a mass rapid transport system and unbridled urbanization for the troubles we face while navigating a city road. While all these may have contributed to the urban road chaos, seldom do we stop to consider why things aren’t changing despite the vast amounts of money being invested in transport infrastructure.

Besides increasing traffic congestion, the urban areas are also faced with several other transport-related problems such as increasing emission of pollutants and depleting fuel resources that adversely impact the overall wellbeing of any major city.

In response to this concern, poor economy and lack of funding for national departments of transportation maintenance the new trend is to dedicate resources to development of systems that help traffic move faster also known as intelligent transportation systems. Intelligent transportation includes information and communications technologies that lower driving costs, reduce traffic congestion, improve road and vehicle safety, or are otherwise applied to transportation to improve safety, mobility and the environment. One very popular example is EZ Pass.

Intelligent transportation systems basically are all the electronic systems that warn drivers about traffic jams or safety hazards. The $48-billion revenue ITS produced in 2009 is predicted to grow to $67 billion by 2015. The business will add anywhere from 3,600 to 6,400 jobs a year through 2015, says the report by ITS America and IHS Global Insight. It was commissioned by the Transportation Department. Researchers discovered almost 3,000 companies in more than 40,000 locations actively participating in some aspect of the intelligent transportation industry, from small start-ups that promote car-sharing to large corporations that supply state-of-the-art traffic management services to local governments.
On a side note, improving customers driving experiences is so important brands like BMW have even dipped their hand into the pool.  Not on the large ITS scale but BMW has developed a mobile app (The Ultimate Drive) that that grants users the ability to share and discover fun driving roads on the go as well as what traffic conditions are like in real time. This app is currently available for Apple and Android devices and is free to download.

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