What is Intelligent Transport System and how it works?

What is Intelligent Transport System and how it works?


With the conception of smart city transmuting cities into digital societies, making the life of its citizens easy in every facet, Intelligent Transport System becomes the indispensable component among all. In any city mobility is a key concern; be it going to school, college and office or for any other purpose citizens use transport system to travel within the city. Leveraging citizens with an Intelligent Transport System can save their time and make the city even smarter. Intelligent Transport System (ITS) aims to achieve traffic efficiency by minimizing traffic problems. It enriches users with prior information about traffic, local convenience real-time running information, seat availability etc. which reduces travel time of commuters as well as enhances their safety and comfort.

Intelligent Transport System
Intelligent Transport System (ITS) aims to achieve traffic efficiency by minimizing traffic problems. It aims to reduce time of commuters as well as enhances their safety and comfort.

The application of ITS is widely accepted and used in many countries today.  The use is not just limited to traffic congestion control and information, but also for road safety and efficient infrastructure usage. Because of its endless possibilities, ITS has now become a multidisciplinary conjunctive field of work and thus many organizations around the world have developed solutions for providing ITS applications to meet the need.

One such example is the city of Glasgow. In the city, Intelligent Transport System gives regular information to the daily commuters about public buses, timings, seat availability, the current location of the bus, time taken to reach a particular destination, next location of the bus and the density of passengers inside the bus.

Iain Langlands, GIS and Data Manager, Glasgow City Council explains, bus operators in the city have the sensors in their buses. So, if the bus is going to be early to the next bus stop the bus is temporarily and very slightly is slowed down at the red light little longer than it should be to make sure the bus is on time and do not ahead of the schedule”. The system has been designed so smartly that passengers and even drivers are unaware of the delay as they are very little delays.

Application areas of Intelligent Transport System

The entire application of ITS is based on data collection, analysis and using the results of the analysis in the operations, control and research concepts for traffic management where location plays an important role.

READ MORE: GIS in Transportation 

Here sensors, information processors, communication systems, roadside messages, GPS updates and automated traffic prioritization signals play an imperative role in the application of:

1-      Advanced Traffic Management System

2-      Advanced Traveler Information System

3-      Advanced Vehicle Control system

4-      Advanced Public Transportation System

5-      Advanced Rural Transportation Systems

6-      Advanced Commercial Vehicles Operations system

How Intelligent Transport System works?

Traffic Management Centre (TMC) is the vital unit of ITS. It is mainly a technical system administered by the transportation authority. Here all data is collected and analyzed for further operations and control management of the traffic in real time or information about local transportation vehicle.

Well-organized and proficient operations of Traffic Management Centre depends on automatized data collection with precise location information than analysis of that data to generate accurate information and then transmitting it back to travelers.  Let’s understand the entire process in a more detailed way.

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Data collection:  Strategic planning needs precise, extensive and prompt data collection with real-time observation. So the data here is collected via varied hardware devices that lay the base of further ITS functions. These devices are Automatic Vehicle Identifiers, GPS based automatic vehicle locators, sensors, camera etc. The hardware mainly records the data like traffic count, surveillance, travel speed and travel time, location, vehicle weight, delays etc. These hardware devices are connected to the servers generally located at data collection centre which stores large amounts of data for further analysis.

Data Transmission: Rapid and real-time information communication is the Key to proficiency in ITS implementation so this aspect of ITS consists of the transmission of collected data from the field to TMC and then sending back that analyzed information from TMC to travelers. Traffic-related announcements are communicated to the travelers through internet, SMS or onboard units of Vehicle. Other methods of communications are dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) using radio and Continuous Air Interface Long and Medium Range (CAILM) using cellular connectivity and infra-red links.

Data Analysis: The data that has been collected and received at TMC is processed further in various steps. These steps are error rectification, data cleaning, data synthesis, and adaptive logical analysis. Inconsistencies in data are identified with specialized software and rectified. After that data is further altered and pooled for analysis. This mended collective data is analyzed further to predict traffic scenario which is available to deliver appropriate information to users.

Traveler Information: Travel Advisory Systems (TAS) is used to inform transportation updates to the traveling user. The system delivers real-time information like travel time, travel speed, delay, accidents on roads, change in route, diversions, work zone conditions etc. This information is delivered by a wide range of electronic devices like variable message signs, highway advisory radio, internet, SMS, automated cell.

With urbanization expanding with speedy stride, number of vehicles on road is also increasing. Combination of both in return puts enormous pressure on cities to maintain a better traffic system so that the city keeps on moving without any hassle. For the purpose application of Intelligent Transport System is the only solution. ITS is a win-win situation for both citizens and city administrators where it provides safety and comfort to citizens and easy maintenance and surveillance to city administrators.

Watch Niraj Prakash of Oracle explaining intelligent public transportation system in developing countries