ITS America’s 22nd Annual Meeting: Major Policy Makers and Industry
Officials Agree that Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) will be the Key to Improving Travel Efficiency, Safety and Commerce
WASHINGTON D.C. - ITS America's 22nd Annual meeting brought together public and private leaders whose vision and ingenuity are reshaping transportation as we know it today. The nation’s top transportation and technology leaders gathered for a three day event entitled, “Smart Transportation: A Future We Can Afford” at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, just outside Washington D.C.
The focus was on affordable strategies to create smart cities and communities that are safer, cleaner, more affordable and less congested. As cities and states are being asked to do more with less, transportation leaders are turning to innovative technology solutions to optimize taxpayer dollars while lowering driving costs, reducing traffic congestion, and improving the environment as well as road and vehicle safety. The key is combining a solid and efficient infrastructure with a cost effective formula.
Major events included:
Opening Plenary: Ursula Burns, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox spoke at the Opening Plenary and gave her views on the expansive intelligent transportation industry in America. She said, "Intelligence is about safety and sustainability. It is most significantly about the transportation systems and the users of that system and creating efficient ways for people to go about their lives."
Emergency Response Event: Building on the success of the inaugural Emergency Responder Day at the 2011 World Congress on ITS in Orlando, this year’s ITS America Annual Meeting continued the new tradition by holding Emergency Responder Day to emphasize the importance of incident and emergency management in our transportation system.
WTS Breakfast: ITS America and Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) hosted the fifth annual Women in ITS Breakfast sponsored this year by Keolis Transit America. The breakfast was an important event for emphasizing the growing role and importance of women to promote smart transportation solutions. Shelley Row, Director ITS Joint Program Office, as keynote speaker was very excited that research has moved into implementation on a number of initiatives. "The excitement is growing not just with the industry but with the public. ITS applications have transformed the users experience around transit. Our work is changing people's perspectives on transportation."
Connected Vehicles: Scott Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America declared that "Intelligent transportations systems and connected vehicle technology have long held promise for improving both safety and mobility in this country and we believe we are on the cusp of significant breakthroughs.
Connected vehicle technologies are the next evolution of safety and allow cars to avoid crashes by communicating with each other and the roadway infrastructure. Using GPS, Wi-Fi sensors and a special Federal Communications Commission approved short-range radio frequency, these vehicles share safety information in real-time and drivers receive safety warnings when there is a risk of a crash or other safety hazard. The U.S. DOT estimates that these technologies have the potential to address a staggering 81 percent of all unimpaired driver-related crash scenarios.
"Vehicle-to-vehicle technologies have the potential to significantly reduce fatalities and injuries in crashes and could one day help motorists avoid crashes altogether," said David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator. “These technologies may prove to be the next game-changer as we look at the future of auto safety."
The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) invited delegates and media to experience the "Connected Vehicle” demonstration in collaboration with a host of private sector companies including Ford, General Motors and Toyota.
NHTSA and RITA announced the launch of a year-long second phase of the Connected Vehicle (talking cars) Program this summer, during which approximately 3,000 equipped vehicles will test crash-avoidance technologies in real world situations. The program, headed up by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute will take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
David Strickland closed the Connected Vehicle demonstration with these words: "ITSA's leadership and work not only in the United States but as a world wide effort means that we have research experts from all the aspects of our work. Private entity and governments came together face to face this week to talk about new applications, new equipment and new possibilities. This year especially, I want to thank ITSA for making this happen."
For more information go to www.itsa.org/annualmeeting
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