Demand for ITS technology growing, says study

Aug. 11, 2011
A new study concludes that demand for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in the U.S. and North America as a whole is on the upswing across a range of technological offerings, from telematics, to electronic toll collection systems, to smartphone applications

A new study concludes that demand for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) in the U.S. and North America as a whole is on the upswing across a range of technological offerings, from telematics, to electronic toll collection systems, to smartphone applications.

The study, conducted by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) and consulting firm IHS Global Insight, estimates the ITS market in the U.S. totals $48 billion, with revenues expected to climb between $2.7 billion to $4.2 billion each year due to demand.

During a conference call with reporters, Scott Belcher, president & CEO of ITS America, told Fleet Owner that large fleets in particular are fueling increased adoption of ITS technology within the trucking industry, particularly as a way to help them improve fuel economy.

“Clearly, fuel economy is getting a major push from fleets and we’re starting to see more use of technology to provide more detailed feedback to drivers in order to encourage more ‘eco driving’ habits,” he said.

Other ITS technologies touching on trucking that should witness an uptick in growth are electronic toll collection and “weight-in-motion” systems to provide for more seamless travel for commercial vehicles, Belcher said.

Safety is another area where ITS technologies are expected to play a larger role in trucking, as well, according to Christian Schenk, vp-product marketing for Xata Corp.

“For the last year and a half, firms have been contacting us related to the business challenges they have with being compliant, and especially the tighter restrictions on hours of service,” he told Fleet Owner in a separate interview.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in fleets saying they need to understand exactly what are the issues surrounding compliance and how they’re scoring,” he added. “They’re looking for tools to manage in real time – preventative medicine to help them proactively get in front of their compliance issues.”

And as an example of the breadth of ITS capability within trucking, Schenk noted that the company’s electronic logbook product, Xata Turnpike, can now be operated on most cell phones, smartphones and tablet computers.

ITS America’s Belcher went on to note that “intelligent transportation technology” includes information and communications systems 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.

A few examples include advanced traffic and incident management systems, electronic tolling and payment systems, vehicle crash avoidance technologies, smart traffic signals, and real-time traffic, transit, and parking information. “Such applications [provide] positive effects on transportation system efficiency and sustainability, safety, the environment, congestion, and traveler mobility and convenience,” he noted.

Belcher added that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) also commissioned ITS America and IHS Global to conduct this two-phase study in order to develop accurate and comprehensive estimates of the breadth and size of the ITS industry. Some of those industry findings include:

  • In terms of job creation, the report estimates the industry to have 180,000 U.S. end-use private sector jobs, with 445,000 total jobs in the value chain in 2009 – equal to 0.3% of the 138 million jobs in the U.S.
  • The U.S. ITS end-use market will add between 3,600 to 6,400 jobs each year through 2015, when private sector end-use market ITS employment is projected to reach more than 205,000.
  • Based on survey responses, average ITS salaries are well above the national average by more than 75%, with the lowest paid earning more than 8% above the national average wage. Three occupations (software developer, hardware developer, and other engineering) account for 32% of ITS jobs.
  • Almost 3,000 companies in more than 40,000 locations are 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.
About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

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