Planning for Intelligent Transportation Systems in Small Urban Areas

Report No: 98-R9

Published in 1997

About the report:

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) has been a primary program focus of the U.S. Department of Transportation since its origination in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. The federal ITS program funded early deployment planning studies for the 75 largest metropolitan areas, where significant congestion and pollution problems, as well as the size and complexity of the transportation systems, presented the greatest need for operational improvements. Recent ITS benefit studies have shown that a number of ITS technologies can have a significant effect on increasing the efficiency and safety of a region's transportation system. Now that the federal ITS program is mature, and benefits have been realized, the transportation system outside large urban areas in the United States is beginning to look toward information and communication technologies to address transportation goals. The federal government has recently initiated a rural ITS program, ARTS, to deploy ITS in rural areas. However, no specific program has focused on the needs of small urban areas, where 16.5 percent of the U.S. population lives. This study considers how ITS planning can aid small urban areas in determining appropriate ITS solutions for their transportation networks. This was accomplished through a case study of the Charlottesville, Virginia, region. Based on the findings, a number of recommendations for how best to plan for ITS in small urban areas in Virginia and other areas were made. These results include recommending the use of the Federal Highway Administration's ITS Planning Process, Version 2.1 for small urban area ITS studies and suggesting that the Virginia Department of Transportation incorporate the method in its planning for small urban areas. Other recommendations include using an additional market package screen for the ITS Planning Process and calling for the federal ITS program to fund planning studies in small urban areas throughout the United States.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Richard V. Taylor, Brian L. Smith, Ph.D., Michael J. Demetsky, Ph.D.

Last updated: December 15, 2023

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