But what is ITS?
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) covers all ICT technology use in the transport industry to make transport systems safer, more efficient, and sustainable. This includes solutions, ranging from real-time information to providing decision support to transport users and operators to fully automated transport systems where the decisions are made for you.
ITS will play an essential role in developing smart cities and the next-generation logistics and mobility solutions.
Traffic monitoring and management
In the road sector, ITS technology was introduced in the 1990s as the implementation of driver support systems such as ABS brakes, GPS-based navigation tools, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in cars, and as enhanced traffic monitoring and management tools for the public road authorities.
Road traffic management centers in all the Nordic countries use ITS to help them control the traffic on roads, tunnels, bridges, and mountain passes. ITS America was founded in 1991, but the term ITS became a common term in most of Europe in the 2000s.
Not just roads – ITS is multimodal
In the railway sector, remote-controlled systems began back in the 1940s. The current automatic train control system was introduced in Norway in the late 1970s after the major accident at Tretten, which caused 27 deaths. The new rail traffic signaling and management system, ERTMS, is often referred to as a digital revolution for railways. ERTMS represents the largest single ITS investment currently taking place in Norwegian and European railways.
In the maritime transport sector, the term ITS was introduced as recently as 2020. Until then, this kind of technology was referred to by other words like e-navigation, eksempler. In Norway, Maritime ITS technology has developed for at least two decades. It has led to the introduction of dedicated monitoring satellites and systems to communicate between ships and shore and paving the way for the first fully automated ships and navigation operations.
Aviation has always been in a league of its own. As in the case of railway and maritime transport, its technology has developed under international rules, which means that it has been highly dependent on international bodies. Nevertheless, the Norwegian aviation community has been heavily involved in several areas relating to aviation safety. Although these technologies can be considered ITS for aviation, the term is not common in the aviation industry.
Towards integrated mobility solutions
Mobility services will all develop in the same direction. Increasingly, numerous transport service providers (mass public transport, taxis, hire car rental, and micro-mobility) will integrate their services to make life easier for travellers. The EU’s ITS Directive also provides a framework for developing integrated mobility services, or Mobility as a Service (MaaS). The same legislation will facilitate standardization of the flow and sharing of transport data.
The most interesting, novel ITS applications are probably those related to transport hubs, like terminals, ports, stations, and stop places. Making nodes more efficient is a growing priority, and ITS is increasingly being referred to as the enabling technology for that process.
There are two types of ITS technology for the various modes of transport and hubs: Mobility and C-ITS (communication between vehicles and infrastructure). While mobility technology helps to simplify passenger and freight transport, C-ITS represents the next generation of traffic monitoring and management.