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Public Roads - Mar/Apr 2007

Mar/Apr 2007
Issue No:
Vol. 70 No. 5
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Internet Watch

Redesigned Web Site Measures ITS Progress

by Brittany Boughter

Federal and State staff, private companies, academics, and the public visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Web site on deployment statistics for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to access the latest ITS information and seek assistance in making deployment decisions.


The "ITS Deployment Statistics" Web site is shown here.


"We developed the site to serve several categories of users and have experienced steady growth since we began tracking use in 2000," says Dr. Joseph Peters, managing director of the USDOT's ITS Joint Program Office. The recently updated site,, now hosts 10,000-15,000 visitors each month.

Trend Watching

Peters points to the "National Trends" section, which houses the results from the seven national surveys on ITS deployment, as one of the most popular on the Web site. That section provides links to graphs showing deployment trends for ITS technologies in nine broad areas, ranging from incident management to electronic toll collection.

"The current site provides access to results from our two most recent surveys in 2004 and 2005," Peters says. The 2004 survey covered 108 metropolitan areas and each of the 50 States and gathered information on metropolitan and rural deployment. The 2005 survey covered deployment in 78 metropolitan areas.

The site also provides data on 12 major application areas, 7 of which are metropolitan: arterial management, freeway management, transit management, public safety (fire rescue), public safety (law enforcement), electronic toll collection, and metropolitan planning organizations. The other 5 areas are primarily rural: crash prevention and safety, operations and maintenance, surface transportation weather, traffic management, and traveler information.

"Within each of these application areas, we provide information on a number of topics covering specific technologies as well as interagency integration," Peters adds. "For each item, users can select multiple views: a national summary, a statewide or metropolitan view, or an individual agency view."

Additional Features

The site also features a "Compare Results" section, enabling users to compare ITS deployment activities. "The 'Compare Results' feature is...helpful to people trying to plan for ITS [deployments] in their own areas," says Amy Polk, outreach coordinator for ITS Program Assessment. "Transportation managers can easily see how their peers are deploying ITS technologies. Someone responsible for operating the freeway network in Indianapolis, IN, can view what ITS technologies have been deployed in St. Louis, MO, and also what ITS technologies have been used for freeway management on a national level."

In addition to benefiting transportation managers in the public sector, Polk says the site also appeals to vendors who are trying to determine the size of the market for their ITS products.

The "ITS In My State" section provides access to all deployment information available for a particular State. Another section provides access to national trends for key applications from 1997-2005.

Looking Ahead

The ITS Joint Program Office is embarking on an effort to survey state-of-the-practice ITS technologies. Although previous surveys focused on the national prevalence of ITS implementation, the new survey will generate specific details about how people are employing these technologies. For example, the program already knows how many lane miles in the United States are instrumented with traffic monitoring devices such as loop detectors. In the new survey, a team at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will ask agency officials how far apart they are spacing the devices (every mile or every half mile) and what types of detectors (loop, ultrasonic, radar, or video) they are using.

"Through a number of user sessions we have held to gather feedback, we have discovered an unmet need for state-of-the-practice information," Polk says. "Users have told us...they need more than just deployment information. They outlined additional data needs such as funding ITS maintenance and operations, training and keeping staff, contracting ITS procurement, and using planning tools for ITS. We plan to develop a national survey for 2007 that will focus on these issues."

To view the "ITS Deployment Statistics" Web site, visit For more information, contact Dr. Joseph Peters at 202-366-2202 or

Brittany Boughter is a contributing editor for Public Roads.