Application Area Definitions

Application Area
Intelligent Transportation Systems
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Arterial Management
Arterial management systems manage traffic along arterial roadways, employing traffic detectors, traffic signals, and various means of communicating information to travelers. These systems make use of information collected by traffic surveillance devices to smooth the flow of traffic along travel corridors. They also disseminate important information about travel conditions to travelers via technologies such as dynamic message signs (DMS), highway advisory radio (HAR) and in-vehicle systems.
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Freeway Management
There are six major ITS functions that make up freeway management systems: Traffic surveillance systems use detectors and video equipment to support the most advanced freeway management applications. Traffic control measures on freeway entrance ramps, such as ramp meters, can use sensor data to optimize freeway travel speeds and ramp meter wait times. Lane management applications can address the effective capacity of freeways and promote the use of high-occupancy commute modes. Special event transportation management systems can help control the impact of congestion at stadiums or convention centers. In areas with frequent events, large changeable destination signs or other lane control equipment can be installed. In areas with occasional or one-time events, portable equipment can help smooth traffic flow. Advanced communications have improved the dissemination of information to the traveling public. Motorists are now able to receive relevant information on location specific traffic conditions in a number of ways, including dynamic message signs, highway advisory radio, in-vehicle systems, or specialized information transmitted only to a specific set of vehicles.
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Roadway Operations & Maintenance
ITS applications in operations and maintenance focus on integrated management of maintenance fleets, specialized service vehicles, hazardous road conditions remediation, and work zone mobility and safety. These applications monitor, analyze, and disseminate roadway and infrastructure data for operational, maintenance, and managerial uses. ITS can help secure the safety of workers and travelers in a work zone while facilitating traffic flow through and around the construction area. This is often achieved through the temporary deployment of other ITS services, such as elements of traffic management and incident management programs.
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Crash Prevention & Safety
Crash prevention and safety systems detect unsafe conditions and provide warnings to travelers to take action to avoid crashes. These systems provide alerts for traffic approaching at dangerous curves, off ramps, restricted overpasses, highway-rail crossings, high-volume intersections, and also provide warnings of the presence of pedestrians, and bicyclists, and even animals on the roadway. Crash prevention and safety systems typically employ sensors to monitor the speed and characteristics of approaching vehicles and frequently also include environmental sensors to monitor roadway conditions and visibility. These systems may be either permanent or temporary. Some systems provide a general warning of the recommended speed for prevailing roadway conditions. Other systems provide a specific warning by taking into account the particular vehicles characteristics (truck or car) and a calculation of the recommended speed for the particular vehicle based on conditions. In some cases, manual systems are employed, for example where pedestrians or bicyclists manually set the system to provide warnings of their presence to travelers.
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Road Weather Management
Road weather management activities include road weather information systems (RWIS), winter maintenance technologies, and coordination of operations within and between state DOTs. ITS applications assist with the monitoring and forecasting of roadway and atmospheric conditions, dissemination of weather-related information to travelers, weather-related traffic control measures such as variable speed limits, and both fixed and mobile winter maintenance activities.
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Transportation Management Centers
Transportation management centers (TMCs), sometimes called traffic management centers and traffic operations centers (TOCs), coordinate ITS operations. TMCs can be owned or operated by a single agency or multiple transportation agencies and perform an array of functions including data acquisition, command and control, computing, and communications for many types of ITS applications.
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Alternative Fuels

Alternative fuels applications involve electric, hybrid, hydrogen or other alternative fuel vehicles. Special traveler information needs to be given to drivers of these vehicles including charging station locations, availability of charging, and payment information. This application area includes fixed charging (stations) as well as inductive (wireless) charging. Inductive charging may be dynamic and charge vehicles while moving or charge vehicles stopped at traffic lights, parking spots, or charging stations.
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Traffic Incident Management
Traffic incident management systems can reduce the effects of incident-related congestion by decreasing the time to detect incidents, the time for responding vehicles to arrive, and the time required for traffic to return to normal conditions. Incident management systems make use of a variety of surveillance technologies, often shared with freeway and arterial management systems, as well as enhanced communications and other technologies that facilitate coordinated response to incidents.
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Transit Management
Transit ITS services include surveillance and communications, such as automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, and remote vehicle and facility surveillance cameras, which enable transit agencies to improve the operational efficiency, safety, and security of the nation's public transportation systems.
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Emergency Management
ITS applications in emergency management include hazardous materials management, the deployment of emergency medical services, and large and small-scale emergency response and evacuation operations.
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Traveler Information
Traveler information applications use a variety of technologies, including Internet websites, telephone hotlines, as well as television and radio, to allow users to make more informed decisions regarding trip departures, routes, and mode of travel. Ongoing implementation of the designated 511 telephone number will improve access to traveler information across the country.
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Driver Assistance
Numerous intelligent vehicle technologies exist to assist the driver in operating the vehicle safely. Systems are available to aid with navigation, while others, such as vision enhancement and speed control systems, are intended to facilitate safe driving during adverse conditions. Other systems assist with difficult driving tasks such as transit and commercial vehicle docking.
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Information Management
ITS information management supports the archiving and retrieval of data generated by other ITS applications and enables ITS applications that use archived information. Decision support systems, predictive information, and performance monitoring are some ITS applications enabled by ITS information management. In addition, ITS information management systems can assist in transportation planning, research, and safety management activities.
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Commercial Vehicle Operations
ITS applications for commercial vehicle operations are designed to enhance communication between motor carriers and regulatory agencies. Examples include electronic registration and permitting programs, electronic exchange of inspection data between regulating agencies for better inspection targeting, electronic screening systems, and several applications to assist operators with fleet operations and security.
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Intermodal Freight
ITS can facilitate the safe, efficient, secure, and seamless movement of freight. Applications being deployed provide for tracking of freight and carrier assets such as containers and chassis, and improve the efficiency of freight terminal processes, drayage operations, and international border crossings.
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Electronic Payment & Pricing
Electronic payment systems employ various communication and electronic technologies to facilitate commerce between travelers and transportation agencies, typically for the purpose of paying tolls and transit fares. Pricing refers to charging motorists a fee or toll that varies with the level of demand or with the time of day.