Traffic control has been an issue since humans put the first wheels on the first cart. The modern world demands mobility. Intelligent traffic system (ITS) sometimes called as an Intelligent transport system, apply communication and information technology to provide solutions to this congestion as well as other traffic control issues. ITS represent a major transition in transportation on many dimensions. ITS is an international program intended to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the surface transportation system through advanced technologies in information system communication and sensors. ITS is a system which is designed to promote advanced technology to ensure that the Electronic Toll Collection system (ETC) is effective and to support safe driving. With this system people, roads and vehicles use the latest information technology.
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is the application of computers, communications and sensor technology to improve the efficiency or safety of surface transportation systems. The ITS initiative has been taken up by most developed countries including US, Canada, Australia and the European Union The growing demand to expand transportation capacity has put intense pressure on existing transportation infrastructure; moreover, there are a lot of hurdles – social, political and economic in achieving the same. There is an ever-increasing need to deliver goods and passengers quickly and safely. All this has motivated the evolvement of newer concepts in transportation. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) apply well-established technologies in communications, control, electronics, and computer hardware & software to improve surface transportation system performance. ITS aims to transform surface transportation into an effectively managed, well integrated, universally available, customer-oriented and affordable system that ensures quick and safe movement of people and goods. ITS takes the first step towards meeting this challenge by providing effective, reliable and meaningful knowledge to motorists in time. Problems like high traffic congestion; low transportation efficiency and endangered environment can be solved through innovative and sophisticated ways of handling latest techniques that have emerged in recent years in integrating information technology, Electronics and Telecommunication with roads and traffic management. ITS encompass a broad range of wireless and wired line communications-based information control and electronics technologies.
ITS in COMMERCIAL VEHICLE OPERATIONS
The commercial motor carrier industry is a complex mix of businesses ranging from small owner-operators to huge fleets with thousands of vehicles transporting both goods and passengers. Trucking is more than $300 billion per year industry in the US alone. The lifeblood of the economy depends on the ability of the transportation system to safely and efficiently bring products to market – everything from groceries, furniture and computers to hazardous chemicals. ITS is used in commercial vehicle operations to help improve the commercial vehicle safety and regulatory processes and enhance the efficiency by continuously reassessing and adjusting the operations, both of the motor carrier industry and the state-run motor carrier agencies. In this pursuit, ITS is significantly changing the way Federal and state agencies conduct business with the motor carrier industry.
ITS applied to commercial vehicle operations include the following:
A: Safety Information Exchange
Safety information exchange is the electronic exchange of safety data and supporting credentials information regarding motor carriers, vehicles, and drivers involved in commercial vehicle operations.
This information is used by the enforcement community and the related agencies and organizations to take better-informed decisions based on historical safety performance information.
Safety information Exchange Systems facilitates the following:
- Automated collection of information about safety performance
- Augmentation of safety information with the automated collection of supporting credentials information
- Improved access to carrier, vehicle & driver safety and credentials information.
- Proactive updates of carrier, vehicle & driver safety and credentials information
- Support for programs that identify and encourage unsafe operators to improve their performance.
In the US, safety information exchange systems have found widespread acceptance due to the numerous initiatives taken by the U.S. DOT and other federal and state agencies. As part of the CVISN initiative, the biggest breakthrough has been the development of two systems, namely SAFER and CVIEW, containing all the safety and credential information and providing them on demand to other systems.
B: Electronic Screening:
‘Screening’, in the context of Commercial Vehicle Operations, is a selection mechanism to target high-risk operators and make efficient use of weigh station and inspection resources. Electronic Screening, popularly known as e-screening is the application of different technologies to make more informed screening decisions resulting in improved traffic flow, increased safety and reduced operating costs. It allows certain commercial vehicles (i.e. with good safety and legal status) to bypass roadside inspection and weigh stations.
Different technologies used for Electronic Screening Systems are as follows:
- Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC): DSRC provides data communications between moving vehicles having a transponder.
- Electronic tag: mounted on them and the roadside reader equipment to support the screening process.
- Weigh in Motion (WIM): WIM technology enables vehicle weights to be determined without the need for it to stop on a scale. High-Speed WIM enables trucks to be weighed at highway speed.
- Automatic Vehicle Classification (AVC): AVC uses axle detectors to classify the various vehicle types at the WIM-equipped sites. This classification information is used to actually calculate the weight of the vehicle.
- Automatic Signing: Lane signals and variable message signs are automatically controlled by roadside operations and are coordinated with the detected location of the vehicle. The vehicle locations are detected using Vehicle Tracking Loops1.
The various Electronic Screening systems are deployed at the roadside inspection sites as well as at the ends of the carriers and vehicles opting to participate in e-screening. All the different systems are deployed as per the CVISN framework.
There are two aspects to the effective implementation of Electronic Screening. Firstly, the states will have to make their roadside inspection infrastructure equipped with necessary screening systems. Secondly, the carriers desirous to opt for the electronic screening of their moving vehicles will need to enroll themselves into different Electronic Screening programs of the states. This is facilitated to the carriers via a process called Electronic Screening Enrolment (ESE). Different programs namely HELP (Heavy Vehicle Electronic License Plate), NORPASS (North American Preclearance and Safety System), EZPASS, and Oregons Greenlight etc. already have many states as well as many motor carrier fleets participating in these screening programs. Electronic Screening will offer tangible and time-saving benefits both to the carriers as well as to the state agencies. The benefits vary by carrier type and operating practice. Test statistics show that it provides time-saving to the participating carriers between 1.5 and 4.5 minutes per bypass. Smooth traffic and reduced inspection queues save the states the need and costs of building bigger weigh stations. Electronic Screening will also facilitate the vehicles to operate with the same equipment and similar rules as they travel from one state to the other.
C: Electronic Credentialing:
A credential is some form of evidence of meeting specified qualifications. It is issued by an authorized source and it entitles the holder to specified rights, privileges or authority. Operating a commercial vehicle requires many “credentials”; these credentials vary depending on the area of operations namely Intrastate (single state) or interstate (multiple states).
Different credentials are required for carriers, vehicles and drivers, such as: Motor carrier registration, purchase of liability insurance, registration and title of vehicles, fuel taxes payments, oversize/overweight (OS/OW) permits, hazardous materials hauling permits (HAZMAT), Federal heavy vehicle use tax payments and compliance with other state-specific regulations.
The state agencies need to administer and manage these credential requirements efficiently in order for commercial vehicles to legally operate on the roadways.
The credential administration process includes managing:
- All aspects of applying for, reviewing, and granting commercial vehicle credentials; paying the associated fees
- Filing returns on fuel taxes, paying the associated taxes and fees
- Managing information about credentials and tax payment status, providing information to users
- Supporting base state agreements (International Registration Plan – IRP & International Fuel Tax Agreement – IFTA) and associated fee payment reconciliation amongst states for interstate carriers.
Earlier, most credentials were issued in paper form, with supporting records on file in the issuing jurisdiction’s system. However, an electronic credential is an electronic record of the credential and through electronic credentialing systems carriers can send credential applications and fuel tax returns to the state as well as receive electronic notification of their credentials status. Through the use of these systems, electronic payment from carrier to state agencies and distribution of apportioned registration fee and fuel taxes to other states can also be undertaken.
Motor carriers can use the following options for electronic credentialing:
- Personal Computer Carrier Automated Transaction (PC CAT): In this case, the motor carrier or independent service provider uses stand-alone software that provides a user interface to enter application information and transmit/receive state responses via a personal computer using EDI standards.
- World Wide Web: Here an applicant (motor carrier or independent service provider) uses commercial web browser software for access to a state or service provider’s web site that accepts application information and forwards the information to state systems.
- Fleet Management Systems: Motor carriers can use their Fleet Management Systems to send messages to a Credentialing Interface (CI), which passes on the information to state legacy systems which in turn process the information and send back the response via Credentialing Interface.
Electronic credentials administration shall result in more efficient and responsive administrative processes for carriers and government agencies. Since data interchange among states, carriers, and other stakeholders will be electronic, it will be more timely, accurate, and less expensive. Credentials issuance, tax filing, interstate reconciliation, and audits will be automated to proceed more effectively and efficiently. Both administrators and enforcement personnel will have rapid, electronic access to required data. All this will result in better enforcement of registration, licensing, and tax regulations and better customer service to motor carriers and drivers.
BENEFITS OF ITS
The benefits of ITS will help increase the benefits and efficiencies of the transportation system, thereby reducing the need of much costlier physical expansion of systems. This optimism is not to be confused with any kind of illusion that new infrastructure expansion in India can be together by restoring to ITS. Significant development strategy of India’s transportation system can increase the number of beneficiaries of the system, significantly enhance the transportation-related safety which is a major concern in most parts of India and in some cases reduce the scale of infrastructure expansion.
Following is a list of benefits of ITS projects:
- Reduce rush hour congestion and delay
- Increased safety and personal security
- Time savings and operation efficiencies
- Reduced fuel consumption and emissions
- Improved customer service and reduce frustration
- Reduced road accidents and facilities and
- Enhanced economic productivity
CLASSIFICATION OF ITS
- Advanced public transport system (APTS): APTS technologies are a group of technologies that increase the efficiency of public transportation systems and offer users great access to information on safety operations. The implementation of APTS technologies is transforming the way public transportation systems operate and changing the nature of the transportation services that can be offered by the public transportation system. The goal is to provide public transportation decision-makers more information to make effective decisions on systems and operations and increase travelers convenience and ridership.
- Advanced traveler information system (ATIS): ATIS a part of new technology application in transportation provide accurate and timely information that helps travelers to select routes, times of travel and travel modes. They work even better with the inclusion of geographic tourist guides and yellow pages that enable the traveler to select a destination based on proximity to other places. Deliver data correctly to traveler s, empowering them to make better choices about alternate routes and modes of transportation. When archived, this historical data provides transportation planners with accurate travel pattern information, optimizing the transportation planning process.
- Advanced traffic management system (ATMS): This system can benefit the public with improved traffic and public safety, by monitoring the flow of traffic and making appropriate decisions in a timely manner. Additional benefits include less fuel consumption and reduced environmental impact.
To achieve the overall efficiency in the area of commercial vehicle operations, both at the ends of the motor carrier industry users and the various state/federal motor administration agencies, it will become essential that all the different systems exchange information among them in a seamless manner by communicating in a standard way. This ever-increasing need for saving time, money and human lives by improved efficiency in CVO has opened tremendous opportunities for the IT industry. ITS is one of the very important upcoming fields in developing countries like India and is of great importance to the society.