Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)
The 12th Annual World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) was held in San Francisco, CA this week. The World Congress is the single largest conference for intelligent transportation systems throughout the world. The three main world organizations responsible for annually advancing ITS through one international World Congress are ITS JAPAN, ITS America and ERTICO – ITS Europe.
There were over 7,000 transportation and technology experts from over 80 countries at the conference. Around 100 exhibitors were hawking their intelligent wares at the Moscone Center and about 40 others were having live demonstrations of their driving developments at the SBC ballpark in China Basin, called Intelligent Mobility systems (IMS). If you ever saw the Saturday morning show “The Jetsons” when you were young you remember sitting in awe as the personal commuter car traversed the galaxies without wheels and without the need of a person. Just put the circular mobility unit on autopilot and away they went. Never an accident and never congestion.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council,
Public transit consumes less land than highways, roads and parking lots, and offers Americans more energy independence. In 1999, for example, public transportation saved nearly 890 million gallons of gasoline. This translates to about 47 million barrels or one month’s worth of imported oil from Saudi Arabia. Transit use also eliminates 97,000 tons of smog-forming pollutants from the air every year. According to government figures, from 1980 to 2000, the U.S. population grew 24 percent while the number of registered motor vehicles increased 46 percent and the number of vehicle miles traveled grew 80 percent
According to Michael J. Grillot, Industry Economist, International Energy Statistics Team, U.S. Energy Information Administration, the world consumed 75.5 million barrels of oil per day in 2002. Of that number, 20,185 million barrels per day were of motor gas; transportation. Of that number, 8,847 million barrels were consumed for transportation in the United States. That is equal to 3,212 million barrels a year or 134,904 billion gallons of gas per year.
The United States consumes 44 percent of the world’s usage of transportation gas. Japan (1,028 barrels a day) is second at 5 percent in 2002 and China (876,000 barrels a day) at 4.3%. China increased in 2003 in motor gas consumption to 939,000 barrels a day and according to the Wall Street Journal, China consumed 860,000 barrels a day in 2004 and will decline in 2005.
According to David Schrank, co-author of The Texas Transportation Institute. (TTI), “2005 Urban Mobility Report”, TTI studied 85 cities and found that congestion cost the 85 cities a total of $63.1 billion in 2003. This represented 5.7 million gallons of fuel used in traveling during peak periods of congestion, with 2.259 million gallons wasted during peak periods of congestion in those 85 cities. What does this mean to you?
If you fill your tank with 20 gallons of gas at $2.50 a gallon it costs you $50. Of that transaction, you wasted 8 gallons of gas commuting and $20. Literally, 40 percent of your gas is wasted in your commute because of congestion.
According to Schrank and the ITS World Congress, things have gotten better. In 2002 the wasted fuel was 2,189 million barrels, a decrease of three percent. Schrank says it is due to ramp metering, E-Z pass and intelligent technology that allows people to move more intelligently.
According to Paul Manuel, Vice President Sales and Marketing MarkIV, more than 14 million MARK IV transponders are reliably and accurately processing millions of (Electronic Toll Collection) ETC transactions each day on toll roads, bridges and tunnels in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Since 1994, MARK IV transponders have been the backbone of the E-ZPass ETC network, the continent’s largest interoperable ETC deployment. Operated by the InterAgency Group (IAG), a consortium of 22 transportation agencies and port authorities spread across 9 states, the E-ZPass network is powered by MARK IV transponders and readers.
In testimony at the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee at the World Congress Intelligent Transportation Systems this week Manuel said there were 14,000,000 patrons using the ETC E-Z Pass which averaged out to 60 percent market penetration. Manuel went on to say that this resulted in;
- reduced congestion
- reduced auto emissions
- less fuel consumed – 8,000,000 gallons of gasoline are saved per year
- reduced commuter travel times – every person using E-Z Pass saved approximately 40 hours of time per year; one full work week.Mr. Steve Heminger, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, noted that ETC was not working as well in California. According to Heminger, “Californias Fastrack has about 40 percent participation, while the Golden Gate Bridge has about 70 percent participation. Part of the reason is discounted. Golden Gate offers a $1 discount, but the state bridges cant offer a discount because we need all the money to finish the Bay Bridge. Hong Kong has 7,000,000 people and one executive director and they implemented the Fastpass in two years with 100 percent participation.” Some of the Bay Areas projects are the 511 transportation information phone (511.org), FasTrak, signs on Highway 24 telling drivers if there is availability at the Rockridge Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station, driving time displays on electronic message boards.
Another big saver was presented at the same testimony by Richard P. Landis, President, and CEO of HELP Inc. Senator Nell Soto, D-Ontario. Senate District 32, was the first to ask about freight and truck movement, but Senator Michael Machado, D-Linden (Sacramento, Vacaville, Stockton; Tully fog district) Senate District 05, was concerned about trucking integration as well. HELP Inc owns Prepass. PrePass is an automatic vehicle identification (AVI) system that allows participating transponder equipped commercial
vehicles to bypass designated Weigh Stations, Port-of-Entry Facilities and Agricultural Interdiction Facilities. Truckers no longer have to slow down, stop, get weighed and chug along for half a mile to regain speed to the flow of traffic. The savings are huge.
Every day almost 140,000 trucks legally bypass state inspection facilities. They save;
- over 11,000 hours in stopping, weighing and restarting per day. In 2004 that worked out to almost 3,000,000 hours savings for truckers.
- fuel consumption is reduced by over 68,000 gallons per day. In 2004, that was almost 18,000,000 gallons of gas saved by one less stop. Since its inception in 1997, this one-stop has saved over 57,000,000 gallons of gas wasted.
- big bucks. It is estimated that each stop cost $5 and since inception, it has saved the trucker over $574,000,000.According to Fabrizio Manarini, Administrator, Intelligent Vehicle Safety Systems, European Commission (EC), the EC may be on a different continent but they have the same problems. “traffic inefficiencies, fatalities, congestion is part of EC. A person can go into a dealership and they will know all about leather seats, but it is not easy to explain ITS. There are 25 democratic states working on this problem with a common objective. We have been working on intelligent transport systems for the last two decades at a cost of $220 million USD.”
According to Manarini,
- the global distance traveled by road vehicles has tripled in 30 years from 232 miles per thousand persons in 1975 to 469 miles in 2000
- the volume of road freight grew by 34% between 1991 and 2000
- 10 percent of the network is affected daily by traffic jams
- congestion costs $40 billion a year (.5% of community GDP)
- there are around 50,000 fatalities in the EC (there are around 43,000 fatalities in the United States) and 1.8 million people are injured every year in the European 25 roads.
- a study by the Dutch Ministry of Transport estimated that a 21% decrease in accidents would translate into a reduction in fuel consumption by 11%.Problems with personal transportation and the dependence on foreign oil are going to continue to compound as long as we measure our status in life on the type of car we drive and how far away from a highway we live. More and more, congestion has become of greater concern to the government and the public in general.
- ITS allows for the use of real-time data for performance management. There are systems in place that can gather information from cars and trucks about traffic jams and then put it on electronic message boards.
- If you live in Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco and Seattle you could take advantage of a location-efficient mortgage. Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest financing arm for home mortgages is testing a $100 million program that makes home-buying more affordable for people willing to locate near public transportation.