What is ITS?

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) is a collective term for the use of new technology in the transport sector to make transport systems safer, more efficient, and more sustainable. ITS can be many different solutions; from real-time information to provide travelers and transport operators the ability to make safer and smarter decisions, to fully automated transport solutions where decisions are made for you. ITS is important for the development of future smart cities and societies characterized by good mobility and logistics.

Traffic monitoring and traffic management

In the road sector, ITS began in the nineties as the implementation of driver support systems such as ABS brakes, GPS-based navigation aids and Advanced Driver Assistant Systems (ADAS) in cars, and as improved traffic monitoring and traffic management for the road administrations.

What is now called mainstream ITS is now used by the road traffic centers as a management tool for roads, tunnels, bridges and mountain passes in all the Nordic countries. Although ITS America was established in 1991, ITS developed in many places in the first decade under other terms, and in the 2000s ITS became a common term in much of Europe.


Not just road – ITS is multimodal

In the railway sector, remote control of trains already began in the forties, and the current system for automatic train control was introduced in Norway in the late seventies after the major accident at/in Tretten. Today, the new signaling system for the railways ERTMS represents the largest single ITS initiative within the railways, and is often referred to as the railways’ digital revolution.

The technology in the maritime sector developed under other names and concepts right up until 2010, before the term ITS began to be used. In Norway, what we today call Maritime ITS has been developed for at least 20 years and has resulted in the development of own monitoring satellites, messaging systems between ship and land, and laid the foundation for the first automatic ship operations.

Aviation has always been in a separate division. As with the maritime sector, it develops under an international regulatory framework and has therefore been heavily dependent on foreign actors. Nevertheless, Norwegian aviation communities have been leading the way in several areas within aviation safety. Although these areas can be considered ITS for aviation, the term is not used to any particular extent in this sector.

A larger overall mobility offer

Mobility services will see the same development line. More and more transport providers (public transport, taxis, rental, bicycles and micromobility) will integrate their services in a seamless way to the benefit of the traveller. The ITS directive also supports the development of integrated mobility services / Mobility as a Service MaaS and the flow of transport data will thus see a similar degree of standardization.

At present, perhaps the most interesting and new areas for ITS development are in the hubs/hubs of the transport chain, terminals, ports, stations and stops. There is an ever-increasing focus on increasing the efficiency of these nodes, and the term ITS is increasingly used for technology that is developed to support this.

Both for the different forms of transport and hubs, there are two technology areas within ITS: Mobility and C-ITS (communication between vehicles and infrastructure). While mobility technology contributes to the simplification of passenger and freight transport, C-ITS represents the next generation of traffic monitoring and management.

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