ITS America 2013, Show Report: The future is closer than we think

ITS America

ITS America held their 2013 Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee from April 22-24 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center where the fantastic venue set the stage for great discussions and networking.

The theme for this year’s event was “ITS: Real Progress, Great Future” and showcased how much ITS technologies have progressed over the past year but how there are many more opportunities to create safer, more efficient and sustainable transportation networks.

Topics Reviewed at ITS America

The event covered all of ITS: cloud computing, the connected vehicle, adaptive signal systems, performance measurement, smart parking and transit systems to name a few. Throughout the show, there was a lot of coverage on the progression of ITS, even in comparison to the previous year. However this year, not only was there a lot of focus on the technologies themselves but also on the return on ITS investments.

In order to procure ITS, agencies need to increase their spending justifications. Agencies are approaching ITS investments as on-going projects rather than just a one-time investment. Providing a business case and completing continuous measurements for reporting is now a requirement in many instances.


Traffic Signal Management and Adaptive Signal Control

One of the sessions was about improving traffic signal management and operations and presented by Eddie Curtis from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). He is part of the Every Day Counts program whose goal is to identify and deploy innovation aimed at shortening project delivery, enhancing the safety of our roadways, and protecting the environment.

A focus of the Every Day Counts program is adaptive signal control. In order to procure ITS, including adaptive signal control, with federal budget, a state representative must review and approve a local agency’s Systems Engineering plan to grant funding for their ASC implementation.

The goal of the Systems Engineering approach is to improve the purchasing and validation processes associated with adaptive signal control systems. This should reduce the possibility of failure and set out how the solution and signals will be managed and measured successfully. According to Doug Noble, the Senior Director of Management and Operations at the Institute of Transportation Engineers, good traffic signal service is hard to measure. It should be a combination of travel time and travel time reliability rather than travel time alone.

Each year, the U.S. spends $1.2 billion on operations and maintenance for the $82.7 billion traffic signal infrastructure assets. There is an additional $859 million spent on traffic signal capital projects each year. However, the U.S. was graded as a D+ overall on the NTOC Traffic Signal Report Card, with traffic monitoring and data collection receiving an F. Doug Noble, who produces the report annually, states that the goal of the report card isn’t to be graded as A, but to identify areas that require improvement.

Currently, about 50% of operating agencies operate less than 50 traffic signals, but the number of signals is continuously growing.  Agencies are experiencing growth in signals but are not able to accommodate with additional staff. As a result, agencies are looking into maximizing their people resources with solutions such as adaptive signal control.

Miovision at ITSA

Miovision’s New ITS Offering

ITS America was well attended with many DOTs, other government agencies and even some familiar faces from City of Huntsville and State of Alabama. A number of attendees stopped by Miovision’s booth, mainly to check out our newest adaptive signal product, Spectrum. The focus for Spectrum is on ease of deployment, using wireless to bring down installation and maintenance costs, the predictive and adaptive algorithm and the chance to check out the live hardware demo.

We also showcased Traffic Data On Demand at the booth. This is a real benefit to agencies and organizations that outsource their traffic data collection. Traffic Data On Demand provides users the ability to quickly request data collection online and be matched with local data collectors. This solution is particularly valuable for multi-city studies and agencies that want to reduce the complexity of coordinating their own data collection.

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