US logistics professionals are tracking the status of the so-called Highway Bill (formally the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act”) which is being reviewed by the US Congress and they are concerned about the potential negative consequences that could further burden the country’s transportation network in case the Bill fails to ensure the necessary funding.
However, as Steve Banker notes in his post on the Logistic Viewpoints website, funding for the highways themselves is not enough for the transportation network to be revitalised and traffic problems to be effectively tackled. A more efficient approach would be one that also increases the available funding for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). ITS include a wide range of innovative applications of the latest technology, such as intelligent traffic signal management, video analytics through real-time video, and real-time information and alerts for drivers.
These main features of ITS are expected to provide a degree of immediate relief for the overburdened US traffic networks, while more spectacular features that utilise sophisticated technological additions that will become standard in all vehicles will allow the ITS to reach their full potential in the future.
Recent US activity in the area of ITS has been motivated by an increasing focus on homeland security, as ITS systems can involve surveillance of our roadways. However, it would be sensible to include additional funding for ITS in the Highway Bill as this sort of spending is quite likely to prove very effective.
Mr. Banker’s original article can be found here.