New Long-Term Highway Funding Bill Puts Major Focus on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Last week, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act - a five-year, $305 billion highway bill. This multi-year reauthorization will provide guidance to improve and sustain our transportation systems and allow all entities in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) ecosystem to have some level of certainty regarding funding for research.
Yesterday, at TIA’s Vehicle Connectivity Workshop, Mary Brown, Senior Director for Technology and Spectrum Policy at Cisco, said the FAST Act is a major emphasis by Congress on ITS technology. “From a U.S. perspective we are at the dawn of a pretty big moment as a result of the FAST Act, which basically is throwing open the doors to the Internet of Things in the surface transportation sector,” Brown said.
Industry has been preparing for the future of our roadways for a while and the projections are that the connected transportation marketplace will only continue to grow. According to Digital Journal, P&S Market Research found that the global intelligent transportation system (ITS) market is expected to hit $38 billion in 2020, up from $18.2 billion in 2014. Automakers and TIA’s member companies have been implementing research initiatives to find the best solutions to address the projected market demand.
TIA is pleased that the FAST Act is forward-looking and technology focused. The bill includes funding, requirements, and initiatives for government to implement research on ITS, infrastructure development, and other research regarding traffic congestion, funding alternatives and highway efficiency. Other technology-focused sections of this bill address include provisions for a technology and innovation deployment programs, web-based training for emergency responders, traffic congestion, and a future interstate study.
The bill also calls for a Smart Cities Transportation Planning Study, which will examine the steps cities are taking to integrate the use of information technology with new infrastructure and other city operations, such as the local economy and improved response times for emergencies and natural disasters.
TIA applauds Congress and the President for recognizing the value of funding research and develop initiatives focused on ITS. Many TIA members are developing equipment for the growing ITS marketplace. ITS services and devices are already beginning to transform the transportation arena and the ability to have assured funding will enable the technology in this space to reach its full potential for the benefit of American consumers.