Diverse Coalition of Business, Environmental & Transportation Leaders Urge President Obama to Invest in Smart Technologies to Accelerate Job Creation & Economic Recovery

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A diverse coalition that includes the world's largest business association, environmental and Smart Growth advocates, public safety organizations, highway, transit and automotive associations, former Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters, and other transportation leaders joined forces to urge President Obama to invest in the deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to accelerate job creation and economic recovery.

Some of our members believe these benefits can be achieved at much lower overall costs and can be implemented nearly immediately if funds are made available specifically for this purpose.

A diverse coalition that includes the world's largest business association, environmental and Smart Growth advocates, public safety organizations, highway, transit and automotive associations, former Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters, and other transportation leaders joined forces to urge President Obama to invest in the deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to accelerate job creation and economic recovery.

The coalition of some 70 public and private sector and academic leaders joined the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) in signing a letter to Obama outlining the numerous economic, environmental, and transportation benefits of investing in ITS technologies.

"As you work with Congress to draft a jobs bill, we urge you to invest in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and operational improvements that will expand green jobs, small businesses and the smart-tech industry while also saving lives, time and money by preventing traffic crashes, improving emergency response, reducing congestion, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, improving transportation system performance, and creating more livable, sustainable communities," ITS America President and CEO Scott F. Belcher and the coalition wrote to Obama.

To read the coalition's entire letter to President Obama go to:
http://www.itsa.org/itsa/files/pdf/ITSAJobsLetterPresidentObama1217Signed.pdf.

ITS Creates "Network Effect" Throughout Economy, Spurs Jobs across Multiple Sectors,
And Are Quick to Deploy

The letter highlights a recent report by the London School of Economics and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation which finds that investment in ITS:
Creates a 'network effect' throughout the economy and directly benefits economic growth by stimulating job creation across multiple sectors, including green jobs, high-tech, automotive, information technology, consumer electronics, and related industries; and
Provides a foundation for long-term benefits, including government cost savings, economy-wide productivity, and an improved quality of life.

"While the U.S. does not currently dedicate funding to ITS deployment, an investment of 15 billion British pounds ($25 billion) by the United Kingdom in information and communications technology is estimated to create or retain 700,000 jobs. Nearly two thirds of the ITS jobs are created by small businesses," the letter stated.

The letter also highlights U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) data which finds that an average of 50 percent of ITS spending goes directly to wages and salaries, a significant return on investment when compared to other job creation alternatives, and that ITS technologies can be deployed quickly because they require minimal new construction or rights-of-way.

National Associations Signing Onto ITS America Letter
AAA                            
Institute for Transportation & Development Policy
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers        
Institute of Transportation Engineers
American Bus Association                 
Intelligent Transportation Society of America
American Highway Users Alliance            
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
American Public Transportation Association        
National Association of State EMS Officials
Association for Commuter Transportation        
Transportation for America (T4 America)
Building America's Future                 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

To view the entire list of signatories go to:
http://www.itsa.org/itsa/files/pdf/SignatoriesITSALetterPresidentObama1217.pdf.

U.S. Must Keep Pace with Other Industrialized Nations, Regain Competitive Edge

In the pending jobs legislation and the surface transportation authorization bill, the coalition stressed that it is time the U.S. joined the rest of the industrialized world in using 21st Century technology to improve competitiveness while addressing traffic congestion, environmental and safety problems.

"The international commitment to ITS is growing among leading industrialized nations. China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Great Britain, and other nations today view their ITS industry as a key industrial base, and one capable of generating considerable economic growth.

"It's time for the U.S. to make a similar commitment to ITS, both through jobs legislation as well as the multi-year transportation authorization bill."

ITS Technologies Are Deployment-Ready

A few examples of ITS include:
Advanced traffic and freight management systems;
Synchronized and adaptive traffic signals with transit and emergency vehicle priority;
Vehicle and intersection collision avoidance technologies;
Smart transit systems including bus rapid transit with automated vehicle location, computer-aided dispatch, smart fare collection and passenger information systems;
Smart parking systems;
Real-time integrated traffic, transit, parking, road weather, and multimodal transportation information systems and travel alternatives;
Weigh-in-motion truck inspections;
Electronic toll collection;
Variable pricing systems including congestion pricing and HOT lanes;
Incident management programs;
Truck congestion management;
Advanced condition assessment technologies to detect potential infrastructure failure and reduce maintenance costs.

The letter also cites several examples of ITS benefits, including:

Smart Traffic Signals Have At Least 40:1 Return on Investment - State and local agencies that have invested in ITS have found that every $1 spent on technologies like synchronized and adaptive traffic signals returns $40 or more to the public in time and fuel savings while reducing emissions by up to 22 percent. When combined with transit priority systems, smart signals can reduce fuel use for transit buses by up to 19 percent and bus emissions by up to 30 percent.

Collision Avoidance Systems, Other ITS Technologies Save Lives - An estimated 31 percent of the nearly 40,000 fatal traffic crashes each year could be prevented or have their impact reduced through lane departure warnings, blind spot detection and other collision avoidance technologies according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. New data from three of the nation's largest tolling agencies found that by converting traditional toll booths to open road tolling systems, they can reduce crashes by more than 60 percent while significantly reducing traffic congestion and emissions.

PrePass Saved Truckers $486 Million in 2008, Reduced CO2 Emissions - ITS systems like PrePass, which electronically verifies the safety, credentials and weight of trucks, reduced delays last year by over 4.6 million hours, eliminated nearly 111,000 metric tons of emissions, conserved more than 11 million gallons of fuel, and saved U.S. truckers an estimated $486 million.

Electronic Tolling, Dynamic Pricing Systems Reduce Congestion, Emissions and Fuel Use - The E-ZPass system reduced U.S. fuel consumption by almost 30 million gallons and eliminated nearly 265,000 metric tons of emissions in 2007 - the greenhouse gas equivalent of nearly 14,000 U.S. households. In Stockholm, a dynamic pricing system based on the flow of vehicles into and out of the city has reduced traffic by 18 percent, decreased wait times by 25 percent, and cut emissions between 14 and 18 percent while increasing public transit usage by 60,000 riders per day.

Real-Time Transportation Information Would Generate Over $30 Billion in Benefits - The letter also highlights a GAO study which finds that an investment of $1.2 billion for deployment and operation of real-time transportation system information programs in all 50 states and the nation's largest 50 metropolitan areas would generate more than $30 billion in environmental, mobility, and safety benefits. According to Belcher, "Some of our members believe these benefits can be achieved at much lower overall costs and can be implemented nearly immediately if funds are made available specifically for this purpose."

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) represents several hundred member organizations including public agencies, private industry leaders, and academic institutions involved in the research, development, and deployment of intelligent transportation systems that improve safety, increase mobility, and sustain the environment. http://www.itsa.org

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