Today is: Thursday, April 27, 2017
  Search

Intelligent Transportation Planning

What is ITS?

ITS is an acronym that stands for Intelligent Transportation Systems. ITS is about systems that make our streets and roadways work smarter, not harder. While the concept of automating traffic control is not new (i.e. early electro-mechanical traffic signals) the convergence of computer and advanced communication technologies have launched traffic management capabilities into new horizons.

A basic requirement for making the roadway network more responsive is having equipment that can automatically collect and transfer data between users, designers and operatives of the transportation network. Real time data moving over high speed communication networks allow complex calculations to trigger split-second decisions. This is how we can optimize traffic and allow for a quicker response to incidents that account for over half of all traffic congestion.

The deployment of ITS is necessary, ongoing and inevitable. The wonders of ITS have already succeeded in the commercial markets, i.e. freight tracking, On-Star "mayday" from passenger vehicles, on-board map navigation, etc. On the government side, deployment is taking place at so many different levels that an overarching description of the phenomena needed to be established. Therefore the federal government established a National ITS Architecture, which describes how transportation subsystem data needs to be shared with various agencies and businesses.

Per federal mandate, Eastgate developed a regional ITS architecture in May of 2004. This overarching document describes the functions that ITS will perform in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties between now and 2020. All highway and transit project seeking federal monies must conform to the ITS Regional Architecture.

To see the most updated ITS Regional Architecture, please click here.

To date the ITS deployment in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties includes:

Transit
The Western Reserve Transit Authority (WRTA) was one of the early adopters of Automated Vehicle Identification/Automated Vehicle Location (AVI/AVL) system on their buses, which used Lorenz C to calculate/predict the bus location prior to the availability of GPS. In 1998, WRTA updated to a Global Positioning System (GPS) to track buses in real time. Fortunately, WRTA partnered with a company that has emerged as a leader in transit tracking and scheduling (e.g. Trapeze). The communication link between the bus on the street and central dispatch is a dedicated 400MHz data channel that provides uninterrupted location monitoring. The agency has activated driver triggered silent alarms and installed on-board digital cameras to increase security. The central base has been equipped with new devices for both video and audio surveillance.

Advanced Traffic Control Systems
In 2000 Eastgate purchased 20 portable changeable message signs for use in construction zones and during special events throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The police have been using the signs at check points set up to apprehend drunk drivers.  Major upgrades of the central traffic control systems in the cities of Niles, Warren and Hubbard are complete and operational. Youngstown and Newton Falls are also planning to implement similar signal control systems along South Avenue and State Route 534 respectively.

In the future Eastgate will promote projects that include advancements in:

Broadcast Traveler Information
Coordinated Response
Road/Weather Information System (RWIS)
Highway Rail Grade Crossing
Traffic Control Systems
Commercial Vehicle Operations (trucks)

For more information on the ITS Initiative in the Mahoning Valley please contact Ed Davis at edavis@eastgatecog.org, or 330-779-3800.