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U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Inaugurates Intelligent Transportation System to Help Reduce Congestion

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Inaugurates Intelligent Transportation System to Help Reduce Congestion

Federal Highway Administration
September 25, 2000

Monday, September 25, 2000
Contact: Jim Pinkelman
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 56-00

PITTSBURGH—U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today joined federal, state and private sector officials in Pittsburgh to announce the debut of an Intelligent Transportation System that is designed to improve traffic mobility and reduce congestion in urban areas throughout the United States.

The system, known as the Traffic Pulse digital sensor network, uses roadside sensors to collect data that provide up-to-the-minute traffic speeds, point-to-point travel times, traffic volumes and forecasts to private and commercial motorists. It is an example of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), which use the latest communication and computer technology to improve the operation of transportation and infrastructure systems.

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to using technology to increase safety and enhance mobility on our roadways," Secretary Slater said. "By providing commuters and other travelers with readily accessible information to help manage their schedules and routing, this ITS system will help to reduce congestion in urban areas and to improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation systems – which in turn will contribute to improving the quality of life for all Americans."

With the Traffic Pulse system, data is delivered via a wireless network to the National Transportation Data Center where it is repackaged for delivery to the worldwide web, radio and wireless devices for consumer use. Users are then able to better plan their time on the road and make more informed choices about their routes.

The system was developed by Traffic.com, a company based in Wayne, Pa., in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The FHWA provided funding for the project under a provision in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the landmark surface transportation legislation that President Clinton signed into law in June 1998. A provision in TEA-21 calls for the Secretary of Transportation to support research, development and tests for Intelligent Transportation Systems and to advance the nationwide deployment of ITS systems.

Under the provision, Traffic.com was awarded a competitively bid contract to begin deployment of the system. Philadelphia will be next to launch the system.

"The new technology that we are launching today is a model for public-private partnerships as well as an outstanding example of ITS technology that will make our transportation systems work more safely and efficiently," Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "Through ITS solutions, we can help to save lives, save time and save money."

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