As Congress struggles to pass a long-term surface transportation bill with tightening budgets, leaders and policymakers are recognizing that intelligent transportation systems (ITS) offer a fiscally and technologically sound solution to America's infrastructure crisis combined with the potential for thousands of new jobs. In what promises to be a frank discussion on America's transportation legacy, more than 2,000 of the nation's transportation and technology leaders will meet at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America's (ITS America) Annual Meeting & Exposition being held from May 21-23, 2012 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., just outside Washington D.C.
The three-day event entitled, "Smart Transportation: A Future We Can Afford," will focus on affordable strategies to create smart cities and communities that are safer, cleaner, more affordable and less congested. As cities and states are being asked to do more with less, transportation leaders are turning to innovative technology solutions to optimize taxpayer dollars while lowering driving costs, reducing traffic congestion and improving the environment as well as road and vehicle safety.
"Rarely has there been a time when America's transportation system is in as dire need of innovation as it is today," said Scott Belcher, president and CEO of ITS America. "Studies show that the intelligent transportation industry is not only creating jobs, but new technology can help solve many transportation challenges quickly and at a fraction of the cost of building new roads." According to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT)-funded study of the industry, intelligent transportation is an economic driver accounting for $48 billion in end-use revenue in the United States alone while creating thousands of new jobs each year.
A few examples of intelligent transportation include vehicle crash avoidance technologies, smart traffic signals, advanced traffic and incident management systems, electronic tolling and payment systems as well as real-time traffic, transit and parking information. One future ITS application, known as "Connected Vehicles," is estimated by U.S. DOT to have the potential to address a staggering 81 percent of all unimpaired driver-related crash scenarios.
This year's Annual Meeting and Exposition follows on the heels of the highly successful 18th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems in Orlando, which showcased ITS in action and brought industry leaders together. Ford Motor Co.'s Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other decision makers at the meeting all agreed that intelligent transportation is an essential element of America's surface transportation future. Click here for the video and preliminary program.
The event at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in May will feature Congressional fact finding sessions with ITS America members providing testimony on topics ranging from the current surface transportation reauthorization bill to infrastructure financing, as well as other issues affecting the industry. The venue will also host several special roundtables for investors and the media in addition to holding discussions on the future of technology with the U.S. DOT and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. For the latest ITS technology offerings, attendees will be able to browse the technology showcase and take tours of some of the newest innovations being used around the nation's capital.