In the past, the nation responded to traffic congestion and other transportation problems by constructing new highways, widening existing roads, and expanding rail transit systems; but adding new capacity to the nation's surface transportation network was becoming increasingly expensive and difficult. So, transportation researchers investigate high-technology alternatives to infrastructure growth. As a result, in 1991, the Congress authorized a program called the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to apply U.S. scientific and engineering advances, developed for space, energy, and defense, to transportation.
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) can be defined as a wide range of diverse advanced technologies and information systems applied to transportation networks for making the systems safer, more efficient, more reliable and more environmentally friendly, without necessarily having to physically alter the existing infrastructure.
The technologies involved include sensor & control technologies, communications & safety systems, and computer informatics that span multiple disciplines including transportation, engineering, telecommunications, computer science, finance, electronic commerce and automobile manufacturing. The key focuses of ITS operations include:
According to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) the following benefits of ITS can be cited as the achievements of the ITS in metropolitan and rural areas: