US lagging behind in ITS finds ITIF report

The United States is lagging behind other world leaders in the use of new technologies to address traffic congestion, CO2 emissions, traffic crashes, and other major challenges according to a report issued by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

Japan, South Korea and Singapore were ranked as the top three nations in the effective deployment of ITS by the new ITIF report.

According to the report, the US federal government must assume a far greater leadership role in the deployment of ITS technologies, which it calls “the 21st Century digital equivalent of the Interstate Highway System.”

The report also calls for an annual investment of between US$2.5 to $3 billion in ITS deployment and large-scale demonstration projects, with federal transportation funding being tied to states’ actual improvements in transportation system performance.

The report found that nations that are ITS leaders:

* Demonstrate national-level commitment and vision;
* Make substantial investments in ITS;
* Have strong government leadership in setting the ITS vision and agenda, convening relevant stakeholders, and spearheading implementation;
* Have a high-degree of centralisation in ITS decision making and deployment (in some cases direct control of highways);
* Recognise ITS as a “force-multiplier” for the transportation network that enables a shift to performance-based transportation systems;
* View their ITS investments as a platform through which the private-sector can develop value-added products and services.

The report states that the major policy issues that have caused the United States to fall behind other nations include:

Lack of funding;

* Lack of sufficient federal vision and leadership. (By statute, federal role limited to ITS research, not ITS deployment.)
* Reliance on states for deployment;
* Systemic barriers: chicken-or-egg system interdependencies; scale challenges;
* ITS not politically compelling, in part because there is no assessment system to validate ITS benefits.

Courtesy: ITS International.

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