The relevance of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in sub-sub-Saharan Africa

Booysen, Marthinus J. (2013-07)

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Countries like the United States, Japan, and a number of countries in Europe, have led the way in a field that has become known as Intelligent Transportation Systems. The term broadly describes any intelligent intervention in the transportation industry, specifically the road transportation industry. Initially, these countries applied ITS for simple traffic control (e.g. traffic light coordination) and later Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), but it has since evolved to include electronic ticketing and automated fare collection, in-vehicle navigation and route guidance, real-time public transportation information distribution, monitoring and active control of traffic flow, and even vehicles that intercommunicate to prevent accidents. As could be expected, every region decided on a different approach, and the companies responsible for implementations used proprietary technologies. This haphazard approach has led to various incompatible standards and systems, which is seen as a major impediment to large scale implementation of ITS. Because of its dependence on wireless communications, electronic sensing, and computer-based data aggregation and visualization, successful deployment and maintenance of ITS is heavily dependent on advanced, and expensive technology and Information Technology (IT). Currently, the main drivers for ITS adoption are safety, efficiency, and environmental impact reduction.

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