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ITS- Wider Impacts


Traffic related data is now collected in novel ways, automatically and at very low or zero cost, and thus potentially giving relevant information about nearly anything the public, the planners, the industry or the decision makers might desire to know about.
The traditional approach to using ITS, from the planners point of view, is to develop routines to collect information and use this to provide information to the travelers, and by so controlling their actions. Hence preventing them from making dangerous or suboptimal choices, and offering them smarter choices - in short "traffic management". Information about accidents, incidents, road maintenance, weather, delays etc. is already available for traffic centers and they convey this information to the travelers.
In the age of internet of things the vehicles are in them selves connected and can provide valuable information that used to be cost consuming to collect. There are new information sources, the internal knowledge that the vehicle has about it self which in the current situation is not utilized to its full potential.
Processing these data is probably not an activity for the general public, but is a fun challenge for people with some programming skills; evidently, as various traffic related information is increasingly available from apps for smart phones and web sites. As an example of a useful data source: The layman's access to the vehicle is through the Onboard diagnostics plug, which is required in every vehicle. A quick search of Itunes and Googles play app-store reveals a huge interest in exploiting these data for fun competitions and processing these data to get more information about vehicle and driver performance. It requires sharing data, but this is done voluntarily.
For example we get 79 hits on Itunes and more than 400 on Googles Play store for applications using OBD data. Thus there is a trend that indicates that more and more people are interested in what their vehicles know. Some of this information is also collected and structured in order to create a competitive environment. One example of such is Enerfy which uses extracted OBD data for establishing the most energy efficient driver. The public side of the system is based around an internet site and a Facebook group. This is one example how induviduals use ITS data to force their agenda. When more information is made available through the ITS directive and other open data initiatives then the public can us ITS data to prove their
Our prophecy is that the interest in collecting and exploiting these data will increase rapidly, given new legislation to utilize these data sources. This will provide information about the performance of the transport system, far beyond the data quality one could expect for data collected today.
More information about the dynamic performance of the transport system has wider impacts than giving processed information back to the drivers; it would provide all kinds of information to both the public in general and to the decision maker. For traffic management experts, it would enhance input data and thereby improving all kinds of traffic related planning tools. The cardinal impact however would be that it allows the decision makers to specify requirements for the performance of the transport system, and more importantly, the measurement of the performance according to these requirements would be generally available, regardless of who the data provider or the infrastructure owner is.


Academic article





  • SINTEF Community / Mobility and Economics



Published in

Proceedings : European Transport Conference



View this publication at Cristin