Intelligent Transportation Systems: Clearing Roadblocks to Better and Safer Traffic Management

Wireless technologies such as dedicated short range communication and wireless access for vehicular environments have had a profound impact on ITS applications.

by / August 13, 2007
Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are poised for strong growth and widespread deployment in a variety of applications as the governments of various countries realize the importance of efficient traffic and travel management using existing resources and infrastructure. With slow driver reaction time having been identified as a major cause of accidents the world over, governments are looking at novel ways of averting mishaps and ensuring safer roads through the use of ITS.

New research from Frost & Sullivan (, Intelligent Transportation Systems - Enabling Technologies and Innovations, finds that there are numerous applications such as collision avoidance, incident management, and weather alerts, among others, that benefit from the use of ITS. Large-scale deployment of these systems is expected to improve traffic and related problems in the years to come.

"ITS relies on various technologies for their optimal functioning, of which wireless communication technologies are perhaps the most important," observes Frost & Sullivan research analyst Arvind Arun. "In particular, wireless technologies such as dedicated short range communication (DSRC) and wireless access for vehicular environments (WAVE) have had a profound impact on ITS applications due to their ubiquity and ability to facilitate rapid and simultaneous intimation to all drivers involved in an emergency as opposed to an information relay from one driver to the next."

Almost all ITS applications from collision avoidance to traveler information systems make use of wireless technologies, with safety undeniably being the most important application. Technologies such as DSRC and WAVE are unique in that they have been specifically designed to meet the needs of the ITS sector and have desirable features such as low latency and high data rate.

DSRC, which operates in the 5.9 GHz licensed band is almost exclusively used for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, while WAVE is used in collision avoidance and vehicle safety services. GPS is another valuable technology as it eliminates the need for cell phone towers and is used for applications such as automatic vehicle location and intimation of drivers and pedestrians that are unwittingly moving along collision paths.

Apart from communication technologies, the automotive and electronic industries also have an integral part to play in ITS. While the cost of technology deployment poses a major challenge, the biggest difficulty of all is the need to achieve interoperability and cooperation between the various enabling technologies and stakeholders. The ultimate objective of ITS cannot be realized by a single technology working in isolation.

"It is absolutely imperative that the various ITS technologies deployed in a particular region are not only compatible with each other, but also capable of complementing one another," says Arun. "Sensors, wireless technologies and electronics all need to work in tandem for ITS to be truly effective."

"Technology interdependence that is widely prevalent in this domain necessitates the need for collaboration among stakeholders in the value chain if deployment efforts have to be successful," notes Frost & Sullivan industry manager Vedavalli Rangan.