U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) improve transportation safety and mobility and enhance American productivity through the integration of advanced communications technologies into the transportation infrastructure and within vehicles. ITS encompasses a broad range of wireless and wire line communications-based information and electronics technologies.
Located in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, the ITS program researches ways that information and communications technologies can improve surface transportation safety and mobility and contribute to America’s economic growth. ITS applications focus on both the infrastructure and vehicle as well as integrated applications between the two. Familiar ITS technologies include electronic toll collection, in-vehicle navigation systems, rear-end collision avoidance systems, and dynamic message signs.
Automated Vehicles – Automated vehicles are those in which at least some aspect of a safety-critical control function (e.g., steering, throttle, or braking) occurs without direct driver input. Automated vehicles may be autonomous (i.e., use only vehicle sensors) or may be connected (i.e., use communications systems such as connected vehicle technology, in which cars and roadside infrastructure communicate wirelessly). Connectivity is an important input to realizing the full potential benefits and broad-scale implementation of automated vehicles.
Connected vehicles are currently one of the main areas of focus of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (JPO). Connected vehicle safety applications will enable drivers to have 360-degree awareness of hazards and situations they cannot even see. Through in-car warnings, drivers will be alerted to imminent crash situations, such as merging trucks, cars in the driver’s blind side, or when a vehicle ahead brakes suddenly. By communicating with roadside infrastructure, drivers will be alerted when they are entering a school zone, if workers are on the roadside, and if an upcoming traffic light is about to change (see https://www.its.dot.gov/pilots/wave1.htm for more information).
The FHWA Office of Safety is currently working with the ITS JPO and other multimodal partners to ensure safety is a major component of the USDOT’s ITS Strategic Research Plan. Over the next 5 years, the Office of Safety will be working to promote the following connected vehicle-related programs: