United States              Air and Radiation         EPA420-F-97-033
                    Environmental Protection                           December 1997

                    Office of Mobile Sources
vxEPA        Environmental
                    Fact Sheet
                    Intelligent Transportation Systems
                    ITS applies new communication, monitoring, and computer technologies
                    to improve our national transportation systems and to lessen the need
                    to build new roads.
                   What is ITS?
                   ITS stands for Intelligent Transportation Systems. ITS can help people
                   and goods move more safely and efficiently by providing information
                   links between travelers, vehicles, and infrastructure. The goal of ITS is to
                   apply modern computer and communications technologies in transporta-
                   tion systems, resulting in improved mobility, safety, air quality, and
                   productivity. ITS products and services:

                   • collect and transmit information on traffic conditions and transit
                     schedules to aid travelers before and during their trips

                   • relieve congestion by reducing the number of traffic incidents, clearing
                     them more quickly when they occur, rerouting traffic flow around
                     them, and automatically  collecting tolls

                   • raise the productivity of  commercial, transit, and public safety fleets
                     by using automated tracking, dispatch, and weigh-in-motion systems

                   • help drivers in reaching a desired destination with in-vehicle naviga-
                     tion systems
                                                              I Printed on Recycled Paper

  benefit public and government agencies at all levels through lower
  costs, enhanced services, and a healthier environment for all
Why Do We Need ITS?

Congestion. Inefficiency. Crashes. Pollution. These are all too often
associated with today's transportation infrastructure—and everyone
knows it. Traffic congestion costs the American people billions each year
in lost productivity. Crashes claim thousands of lives and injure millions.
Vehicle emissions are a major cause of air pollution. Trucks, buses, and
cars idling in traffic emit millions of tons of pollutants each year and
waste billions of gallons of fuel.

For years, we have sought to solve many of these problems by merely
building more highways. Pouring additional asphalt and concrete added
capacity but did not address the underlying problems of our transporta-
tion system. Fulfilling the need for a national system that is both eco-
nomically sound and environmentally efficient requires a new way of
solving our transportation problems.
What Can ITS  Do For the Environment?
An area's transportation system has a big impact on its air quality. The
way an area chooses to use ITS technologies in meeting transportation
needs can influence that impact.

In the short run, using ITS technologies to increase speeds and capacity
on severely congested highways can reduce emissions of some pollut-
ants. However, there is a point at which higher speeds cause pollutant
emissions to increase again. Moreover, as less congestion encourages
more driving, the impact of increased traffic volumes on air quality is
clearly negative.
ITS technologies can reduce congestion without encouraging more traffic
by improving public transit and other alternatives to driving alone. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working closely with the U.S.
Department of Transportation (DOT) to evaluate the environmental
impacts of the different ITS technologies in several areas of the country.
This will give areas considering ITS the information they need to choose
technologies that will improve air quality. These evaluations are sched-
uled for completion in 1999.

Where Did This Program Come From?
In 1991, Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Effi-
ciency Act (ISTEA). ISTEA provided funding to DOT for ITS research,
development, testing, and implementation. The program has received
about $200 million/year since then.
Who Will Carry Out ITS?
The various elements of ITS are being used by a broad range of state and
local government agencies, transportation service providers, private
entities, and through the consumer markets for electronics, automobiles,
and information services.  No part of ITS will be owned or operated by
the federal government; however, federal funding will play  a large role
in ITS development by funding state and local transportation improve-
ments. A few of the areas  already using ITS include:

• for personal travel improvements: Atlanta, Seattle, Phoenix, San
  Antonio, and the metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey and

• for commercial vehicle improvements: Connecticut, Kentucky, Michi-
  gan, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington
For Further Information
For more information on intelligent transportation systems, please
contact the DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program
Office (ITS JPO):

  Phone: (202) 366-9536
  Fax: (202) 366-3302

Information regarding Intelligent Transportation Systems is available
electronically on the Internet World Wide Web (WWW) at:

  http: \\www.its. dot.gov.