Transportation systems have not traditionally utilized computer managed systems. That has changed in the recent over the past 10 years through “Intelligent Transportation Systems” or ITS. ITS is the application of modern computer technology to manage congestion by improving transportation, signal and other traffic systems, including goods movement for the GCOOG area. ITS improves traffic flow, air quality as well as safety.
An integrated ITS plan for the GCCOG area will increase mobility and safety and freight on complete end-to-end trips as efficiently as possible using technology. This technology will improve connectivity among different transportation modes, eliminate bottlenecks and unnecessary delays, improve travel time and expand the options available for interregional and intra-regional travel.
To address transportation technology, the GCCOG has developed the following ITS Mission Statement:
To improve safety and mobility of people and goods on freeways and arterial highways; to enhance economic competitiveness; and to improve the quality of the environment of residents for today and in the future by using technology to address traffic congestion, roadway deficiencies, pavement degradation and traveler information by serving commuters, tourists and commercial vehicles.
Some specific ITS Applications and a summary of their uses follow:
Traveler Information – This ITS Application would provide “real-time” (or current) roadway information for freeways and arterial highways to drivers through such devices as computers, PDA’s, cellular phones and transponders so that drivers will have current information on the roadways ahead of the them (congested or not, e.g.) so that they can make route decisions.
Air Quality Monitoring – Air quality is currently monitored via air quality monitoring stations in the GCCOG area. This information is not currently readily available to residents and improved (and additional) air quality monitoring stations are being examined for the GCCOG area.
Alternative Cargo Movement Technologies – Currently cargo moves into and from the two ports by either rail or trucks. Alternative technologies are potentially available to move cargo via other methods. These other methods would use methods to “shuttle” cargo on platforms (similar to conveyor belts) from the ports to other destinations. These other methods include (but not limited to) magnetic-levitation, shuttles on rubber wheeled tires or induction motors (electricity) to move these platforms. All of these alternative cargo movement technologies would be non-polluting automated. These alternative technologies are currently being evaluated by the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, the Ports and the MTA.
Automated Truck Safety Inspections – Safety inspections are currently only performed on diesel trucks manually. This is time consuming manpower intensive and not very productive. Automated truck safety inspections are planned to be developed that could perform these inspections without having to stop the trucks. This would include downloading truck operations from transponders located in the truck, automatic brake inspections, automatic size and width dimensions determination for trailers, automatic tire inspections, etc.
Automated Truck Security Inspections – Automatic truck security inspections would include radiation detection equipment, gamma ray (x-ray) truck equipment, automatic license plate identification and other methods to provide automated security inspections for trucks.
Automated Truck Weigh Inspections – Automatic truck weight inspections would include Weigh-in-Motion devices that would weigh trucks in motion at freeway or ramp speeds to determine if any trucks are overweight and then direct any overweight trucks to enforcement facilities for more precise weighing and enforcement.
Truck Traffic Management – Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies would be used to provide both dispatchers and truck drivers “real-time” traveler information so that they can better manage their trips for both efficiency and safety.