ITS  “cooperative” systems aim to manage national transport needs

ITS “cooperative” systems aim to manage national transport needs

The U.S., Japan and several European Union nations are endeavoring to deploy “cooperative” intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to improve the safety and efficiency of national, multi-modal surface transport networks

The U.S., Japan and several European Union nations are endeavoring to deploy “cooperative” intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to improve the safety and efficiency of national, multi-modal surface transport networks.

The “overwhelming consensus” behind this technology strategy, according to analysis by research firm Frost & Sullivan, is that such cooperative ITS platforms will help to decrease traffic congestion and improve traffic/road safety, while maximizing freight movement efficiency.

“As countries worldwide brace themselves for ever increasing traffic density, cooperative systems promise to deliver close to accident-free, efficient and clean road systems,” said Aswin Kumar, senior research analyst with Frost & Sullivan’s automotive and transportation group. “Cooperative systems are the next big wave in ITS, gaining momentum in Europe as well as in U.S. and Japan.”

Kumar told FleetOwner that the timeline for implementation on such a scale depends on the goals orchestrated for the technology. That is an issue he’ll delve into more deeply during Frost & Sullivan’s online analyst presentation tomorrow, Thursday Sept. 2.

“If we are talking about cars talking to each other about upcoming obstacles and other safety aspects as envisaged by NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] then the timeline is about five to seven years,” he explained. “The U.S. DOT [Department of Transportation] intends to decide whether the applications show enough promise to merit deployment and to determine whether regulatory action will be needed to speed up deployment of potentially lifesaving applications.”

In Europe, however, Kumar thinks there might be a broader ITS roll-out with pro-active countries like The Netherlands. That would be due the specific need there to control congestion, increase traffic efficiency and improve safety. The freight perspective for such ITS development, he added, is to build more effective logistics systems.

In Japan, between 2011 and 2012, ITS will be taken to the next level. “In addition to the spread of infrastructure and in-vehicle equipment, legal and social systems will be enhanced to firmly establish ITS as a ‘social system,’ so that the effects will be felt nationwide,” Kumar noted.

He stressed that Japan’s effort highlights another key aspect of the cooperative ITS strategy: heavy involvement by government.

“Governments is already deeply involved establishing standards, a process ongoing in Europe as well as the U.S., for ‘cooperative’ ITS cannot be managed by private companies alone,” Kumar pointed out. “The role of regional and local transport authorities [plus] road operators and governments are essential for successful deployment. [That’s why] the national governments are the primary driving force behind ITS initiatives in Europe as well as in North America, Japan and Korea.”

For cooperative ITS “business models” to be created, he noted, each stakeholder must see an opportunity in the deployment of cooperative systems.

“This, however, makes the business models complicated, as different stakeholders have different perspectives. As government has public policy goals and companies have monetary goals sometimes there is a possibility of a clash of interests,” Kumar emphasized. “Yet cooperation will be essential-- it will make the difference between success and failure.”

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