California Department of Transportation
Headquarters - Public Affairs Office
March 1 , 2006
CALTRANS TESTIFIES ON GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED INVESTMENT IN INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS TO SAVE MOTORISTS' TIME IMPROVE AIR QUALITY AND ENHANCE ROAD SAFETY
SACRAMENTO – California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Will Kempton yesterday introduced Chief Deputy Director Randell Iwasaki, a leading authority on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), to testify before the state Joint Committee on Transportation and Housing on the $200 million ITS component of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Strategic Growth Plan.
“Improving California’s transportation infrastructure is more than just building new roads and railroad tracks,” Iwasaki said. “As part of his Strategic Growth Plan, the governor also has proposed for the state to invest in new technologies that could assist in saving motorists’ time, decreasing air pollution and improving roadway safety.”
The governor has proposed an additional $200 million to be invested in ITS during the first General Obligation bond cycle of the Strategic Growth Plan. Caltrans already has dedicated about $2.5 billion for ITS field elements now integrated into the state’s transportation infrastructure.
“The $200 million investment proposed in the Strategic Growth Plan represents a significant commitment to the role that ITS could play in the future of California’s transportation system,” Iwasaki said. “These technologies have been effective in other countries. California needs to take advantage of existing and future ITS technologies to enhance the mobility of our people and goods.”
Current ITS technology already in use includes Changeable Message Signs that provide motorists with instant traffic warnings, projected travel times and Amber Alert notifications. The versatility of this technology allows motorists to make appropriate travel decisions by providing them with accurate information in addition to being available for use by law enforcement agencies.
Another technology that Iwasaki described in his testimony includes Open Road Tolling where cars do not have to stop or even slow down to pass through a tolling station. The advantages of this technology include the ability to prevent traffic bottlenecks and decrease air pollution caused by idling cars lining up for toll booths.
ITS also can enhance safety. One example is Curve Speed Warning signs that show drivers how fast their vehicles are moving as they approach sharp curves. In areas where such signs have been installed, roadway incidents and injuries due to speeding have been reduced. The result is not only improving roadway safety, but also decreasing the costs associated with incidents, including traffic congestion.
“We are impressed by the results we have seen with current ITS applications and are confident that the additional $200 million proposed in the governor’s Strategic Growth Plan would be a wise investment in improving the future of our transportation infrastructure,” Iwasaki said.