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Smarter Cars, Roads and Parking Ahead

April 20, 2011

Drive Smarter Initiatives

I’m working on an extension of our Intelligent Transportation Systems Series (ITS). Future posts will discuss reducing traffic pinch points and urban gridlock by using innovative smart cars and roads, phones and social media. So the below news release from ITS America caught my eye.

ITS America President Scott Belcher (center) testifies during a  House T&I Committee hearing.

Excerpts from, April 20, 2011  ITSA release…

In a joint letter to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders, the coalition urged lawmakers to support the Smart Technologies for Communities Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by ITS Caucus co-chairs Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Russ Carnahan (D-MO) to establish competitive pilot projects in up to six communities across the country that would serve as models for large-scale deployment of high-tech, integrated transportation solutions.

“As state and local agencies look for cost-effective solutions, smart technologies offer the most bang for the buck when it comes to reducing traffic congestion, improving safety and providing better traveler information, while helping keep our nation’s infrastructure in a state of good repair,” said Scott Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) which organized the letter and represents a national and statewide network of more than 1,600 public and private sector transportation and technology organizations. See our exclusive Innovational Musings interview with Scott Belcher

“ITS technologies constitute a growing industry supporting tens of thousands of high-tech, high-paying jobs which are critical to fostering the competitiveness of the domestic automotive and IT industries,” continued Atkinson, whose also served as Chair of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission. “And the social return on federal investments in ITS are substantial; for instance, a $1 billion investment in a real-time traffic information system could generate over $30 billion in economic benefits for American citizens.”

One area that could be pursued under the bill is a regional connected vehicle network, which the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates has the potential to – if deployed nationwide – prevent or mitigate the impact of 4 out of 5 unimpaired vehicle crashes, preventing thousands of deaths and millions of injuries on U.S. roads each year. Read full ITSA release…

Highway of the Future

Illustration By Dimitris Ladopoulos - Popular Mechanics

Smart Roads. Smart Bridges. Smart Grids.

BY MICHAEL TOTTY, Wall Street Journal

It’s time the U.S. got a lot smarter.

Federal, state and local governments are about to pour tens of billions of dollars into the nation’s infrastructure. The big question: Will we simply spend the money the way we’ve been doing for decades — on more concrete and steel? Or will we use it to make our roads, bridges and other assets much more intelligent?

Imagine highways that alert motorists of a traffic jam before it forms. Or bridges that report when they’re at risk of collapse. Or an electric grid that fixes itself when blackouts hit. See article & video…

Smart Parking Systems Make

PHOTO: Baltimore/Washington International Airport

It Easier to Find a Parking Space

From an airport system that directs drivers toward open spaces to cities’ replacing meters with pay stations, technology is changing the way we park

By ROBERT N. CHARETTE -Excerpt from IEEE Spectrum

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport also strives to make parking less painful. The airport installed a smart parking system for its hourly and daily garages, which combine to offer 13 200 parking spaces.

Sensors embedded in each parking space at BWI detect whether the space is occupied, with that information fed into a central parking management system.

As drivers approach BWI on their way to departing flights, they see signs showing the availability of parking at the airport’s garages. As a passenger enters a garage, signs indicate the total number of parking spaces available and the number on each level. At the levels, there are additional signs that tell the passenger how many spaces are available per row. A light over each space indicates whether it is available: green for open, red for occupied.

BWI was the first airport in the country to use smart parking technology, says Jonathan Dean, spokesman for the Maryland Aviation Administration. The technology came to BWI after Maryland’s transportation secretary saw it in use while on a trip to Europe.

”The smart-park system helps the airport manage the parking inventory,” Dean says. ”The technology allows the airport to obtain accurate up-to-the-minute data.” Read full article…

More to come on Smart Roads Ahead…

Related articles:

Smart Parking Reduces Traffic and Carbon Emissions…

San Francisco launches ‘smart’ parking…

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