The continuing challenge of the transportation professional is how to do more with less. There are limitations on how much road widening can happen, additionally building new infrastructure is costly, leaving fewer and fewer options to reduce congestion. Employing new strategies are necessary to reduce congestion, improve traffic flow, and have positive effects on air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One way to provide a more effective transportation system is known as “Intelligent Transportation Systems” (ITS). Per the U.S. Department of Transportation, ITS infrastructure improvements “apply a variety of technologies to monitor, evaluate, and manage transportation systems to enhance efficiency and safety”.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, ITS Joint Program Office produced a primer on ITS technology. The primer explains:
“Traffic signal operation is one of the most visible services provided by transportation agencies to the traveling public. Traffic signals have significant impacts on the mobility, reliability, fuel consumption, and environmental impacts of the transportation system. Thus, it is critical to implement effective traffic signal operations and management”. – Module 3: Application of ITS to Transportation Management Systems, Page 18 Adaptive Traffic Control (ATC) systems optimize signal timing are designed to reduce travel time, the number of stops, and delay. ATC systems are also designed to cut down on fuel consumption and emissions. With the large amounts of traffic in Southern California ATC promises to provide necessary technology to take control of these everyday issues.