Memorandum by ITS Focus (IT 178)
THE CONTRIBUTION OF INTELLIGENT TRANSPORT
SYSTEMS (ITS) TO TRANSPORT POLICY
One of the Government's key commitments is to
develop an integrated transport policy and its intentions were
spelt out in the Transport White Paper "A new deal for transport:
better for everyone" published in July 1998.
The purpose of this submission is to draw specific
attention to how Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) might contribute
to delivering that policy and identify what actions are required
if we are to fully exploit its potential.
The White Paper commits the Government to making
the fullest possible use of new technologies to deliver the "New
Deal for transport". It recognises that developments in information
technology will produce more reliable and comprehensive information
to help public transport users and motorists plan their journeys
and that technology can also help to make transport safer.
Recently announced initiatives such as the Highways
Agency's Traffic Control Centre(s) and the further development
of road pricing technology with trials in Scotland and England
are examples of the Governments commitment.
The European Union's strategy and framework
for the deployment of technology ("Community Strategy and
Framework for the Deployment of Road Transport Telematics in Europe")
recognises that ITS will:
benefit individual citizens by making
driving safer and easier with fewer delays;
provide logistical and management
support to transport service providers and fleet managers;
allow highway authorities to make
more efficient use of the infrastructure;
give policy makers an alternative
to road building; and
have a positive effect on the environment
by encouraging the use of public transport.
The Government has stated that the European
strategy is broadly consistent with UK's current activities and
The range of services that can be made available
through the application of ITS facilities include:
information services both pre and
route guidance and navigation;
traffic management and control;
public transport enhancement;
electronic financial transactions;
commercial vehicle management and
vehicle safety systems;
emergency vehicle management;
It is evident that ITS based services can make
a significant contribution to the wider aims of integration, the
environment and the economy and a major contribution to the network
based aims of accessibility and safety.
In-trip information can potentially make
a major contribution to increased efficiency and accessibility
of both public transport and the wider road network. It is delivered,
among other methods via on-street and on-station information kiosks
containing computer terminals, and on-line information at bus
stops. It can also be delivered via in-vehicle radios (e.g., Radio
Data SystemTraffic Message ChannelRDS-TMC), in vehicle
screens and voice-over. Pre-trip information can also make
a major contribution to integration by providing displays of on-line
information about bus/train departures in the home or work place.
Route Guidance can make a major contribution
to efficiency and accessibility via the provision of in-vehicle
navigation systems of two main types:
a digital map of the area through
which the vehicle is travelling displayed on a small screen with
the position of the vehicle located;
arrows, diagrams and words displayed
on a screen, with voice over, giving route guidance at each junction.
The second of these has considerable safety
advantages over the first.
Traffic Management Systems potentially
make a major contribution to efficiency, and accessibility as
well as significantly contributing to safety, by the use of Automatic
Incident Detection which alerts the Emergency Services instantly
to accidents, etc., on main highways and enables them to clear
them more quickly. This is even more effective if linked to on-line
information provisions to drivers via Variable Message Signs (VMS)
and in-vehicle systems.
Public Transport EnhancementThe
value of the provision of real time information in conjunction
with other quality bus initiatives has been demonstrated in London
(Countdown), Southampton (Stopwatch), Glasgow and other cities:
evidence of resulting increased bus patronage is emerging. New
real time portable electronic travel guides are seen as one way
to promote public transport as a seamless journey. Smartcard ticketing
will also help to make journeys by public transport easier to
Electronic Financial TransactionSmartcards
can be automatically debited within an electronic tolling or congestion
charging system or for the debiting of fares on public transport
or by drivers booking a parking space at their destination from
within their vehicle during the journey. The use of smartcardsin
particular contact less smartcards will make a significant contribution
to the integration of transport systems (enabling easy use of
car, train and bus in one journey, for example) and efficiency.
Once set up, they will be economical to run and will enable a
larger volume of transactions to be handled in a short space of
Commercial Vehicle ManagementIntelligent
Transport Systems in the form of Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL)
and emergency call systems enable fleet managers to monitor the
position of their entire fleet on a computer screen: the emergency
call systems, in particular, make a major contribution to safety.
The AVL systems also enable fleets to be managed more efficiency.
If the vehicles are fitted with on-line driver information systems
they can avoid traffic jams and enable goods to be delivered on
time which is an important requirement particularly where a Just-in-Time
delivery service is in operation.
Vehicle SafetyDriver Assistance
Systems currently being developed (e.g., those that monitor driver
fatigue and use head-up displays to help in monitoring the vehicle)
will make a major contribution to safety as will Collision Avoidance
Systems. Systems such as Automatic Intelligent Cruise Control
(which monitors a computerised distance from the vehicle in front)
will enable motorway capacity to be doubled or possibly trebled.
Emergency Vehicle ManagementAutomatic
Vehicle Location systems (AVL) together with information systems
are being used successfully as management systems for the emergency
services thus making a major contribution to efficiency of these
services and also improve safety.
Facilities ManagementThe use of
a variety of ITS systems will enable transport system managers
to attain higher levels of control over the networks they operate
with consequent improvement in network management performance.
There is considerable stress in the transport
network which is likely to worsen over time. Accidents cost of
the order of £14 billion per annum whilst routine congestion
costs between £15 billion and £20 billion per annum.
Currently, it is estimated that there are an average of 15 major
incidents every day on the motorway network involving at least
two lane closures and lasting for at least an hour. The total
annual cost is over £350 million. In addition, the cost of
delays at roadworks can be as high as £100,000 per day on
the busiest sections of the motorway network. Even if ITS services
were able to reduce these costs by relatively small percentages,
the potential savings are significant.
Some specific examples of the efficiency, safety
and environmental benefits of ITS are illustrated below.
The five cases outlined below indicate the level
of efficiency benefit that can be realised by the deployment of
Case 1Application of SCOOT traffic
signal system in Aberdeen produced a 38 per cent reduction in
total delay and 32 per cent reduction in the number of congested
intervals. The approximate savings are of the order of £4
million per year.
Case 2After implementation of
a SCOOT system in Toronto significant benefits were gained in
terms of improved operational efficiency, reduction in use of
resources and enhancement of environmental air quality.
Case 3Application of a regional
inter-urban Variable Message Sign system in Central Scotland has
led to savings per application as shown.
Roadworks on Forth Road Bridge£85,000
Forth Road Bridge closed to high
In an eight month period savings in vehicle
operating costs and driver time amounted to over £200,000.
Case 4Efficiency has been gained
by the introduction of an Automatic Vehicle Location System (produced
by Terrafix of Stoke on Trent) to several ambulance fleets. Whereas
the Manchester Ambulance Service previously achieved 60 per cent
of "activations" of its ambulances within three minutes,
it now achieves 99 per cent of them. The response of the service
has also improved, from 58 per cent within eight minutes to 68
per cent. (The Government target is 50 per cent).
Case 5The SCOPE/ROMANSE research
and development project in Southampton found that an automatic
bus location system allied with passenger information systems
(known as STOPWATCH) produced a benefit/cost ratio in excess of
two. Time equivalent savings of the order of only two minutes
per passenger were required to justify the cost of the new equipment.
ITS has been deployed successfully to bring
about safety improvements as indicated by the four cases outlined
Case 1Injury accidents over a
three year period were reduced from 11 to 4 by the use of an intelligent
signing system at the Bramham Interchange (A1/A64) in Yorkshire
providing an annual saving of approximately £180,000 per
year which meant that the entire cost of the system was paid in
Case 2A hazardous goods monitoring
and control system was evaluated within the European FRAME research
project. It was found that over £1 million of benefits would
accrue if 3,000 vehicles were fitted with the device. The benefits
would be in the form of a reduction in the consequence of hazardous
goods related accidents.
Case 3The VRU-TOO research project
investigated improved infra-red detection of persons using pedestrian
crossings. Results indicated significant reductions of up to 50
per cent in the level of pedestrian accidents at signalised crossings
and a 10 per cent reduction in the number of children crossing
against a red man signal.
Case 4Figures for the first three
years of the Highways Agency's West London Speed Camera Demonstration
fatal accidents are down 70 per cent
from 62 to 19;
serious accidents are down 28 per
cent from 666 to 483;
slight accidents are down 8 per cent
from 3,074 to 2,832;
the value of total accidents savings
is estimated at £20 million per year.
An environmental assessment of the impact of
VMS has been undertaken as part of the evaluation of the National
Driver Information Control Systems (NADICS) in Scotland. Overall
fuel consumption and vehicle missions were used as indicators,
and a network-wide evaluation model was used to evaluate the impact
of VMS on incidents.
The impacts of VMS on fuel consumption and vehicle
emissions for major incidents related to the closure of the Forth
Road Bridge traffic indicate savings of 5-10 per cent in fuel
consumption and 5 per cent savings in the emission of hydro carbons
and nitrous-oxide. These savings are small but significant.
In order to realise the potential that current
and future ITS developments can have on the transport system the
following actions will be required:
the setting up of an ITS programme
unit within DETR/Highways Agency that would be guided by a permanent
inter-Departmental ITS Strategy Group;
the establishment of a public/private
task group to determine a way of taking forward specific ITS policy
and formulate and publish a National ITS strategy;
a public/private task group be set
up, in parallel, to consider a new approach to standards and specification
development as well as the adoption of a system architecture;
the establishment of a national research
programme and research priorities within the context of both the
European 5th Framework research programme and a national research
the establishment of a clearly defined
programme of showcase projects with appropriate funding; and
the Government (DETR and DTI) should
be closely involved in the preparation of the bid to host the
ITS World Congress in the UK (Europe) in 2003.
It is important that those responsible for implementing
the new transport policy recognise the value that the range of
ITS developments can have in bringing about a more integrated,
safer, sustainable and operationally more efficient transport
systems. The UK can become a world leader in this field by combining
the public and private sectors into one team to exploit the potential
ITS has to offer.
Richard J Brown
Chairman of Task Force G of ITS Focus