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An introduction to intelligent transportation systems

An introduction to intelligent transportation systems

Technology is ever-evolving in today’s world, across several industries. Among these is the transportation industry, which is welcoming highly advanced software to improve operations.

Enter intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

For many of you, this might be the first time you’ve heard about ITS. So, we’ve put together this detailed introduction to ITS, to explain what they are, how they work, and how they can enhance several areas of transportation — for you, your drivers, and most importantly, your riders.

What are intelligent transportation systems?

ITS are used to bring technologically advanced insights to various areas of your transportation network, so you can improve your services in several ways.

Traditional forms of transit network management involved manual intervention, monitoring, and planning, but ITS allow for automated processes to handle your operations.

ITS are driven by artificial intelligence, so they not only gather data from your network, but analyse this to make predictions, and suggestions and offer insights into how you can manage your operations more effectively – in real-time.

What types of ITS can you use in your transit agency?

There are several ITS you can incorporate into your transit agency, and each one will focus on a different area of your network:

  • Real-time vehicle monitoring – the software can track the exact positions of your vehicles and offer insights into the arrival times at each stop, as well as the best routes to take in real-time.
  • Real-time passenger information – this provides riders with real-time information on the arrival times of each vehicle at their stop, as well as the routes they’re taking. This information changes as the predicted times alter.
  • Operations control – this provides command centers with tools to control operations in real-time, such as solving issues and incidents on the road through schedule adjustment and communications.

How can ITS improve your transportation network?

Using ITS in your transit agency can bring a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Improved journeys 

ITS can help improve your journeys using real-time vehicle monitoring. The insights you receive can show you the best possible route for every vehicle to arrive at the next stop as quickly as possible, considering heavy traffic or road closures in real time.

Also, the software can help analyze the best arrival time for each vehicle, so that each stop has a good spread of vehicles arriving not too close or too long after one another.

  • Easy planning for riders

Riders can also receive real-time passenger information to make their journey planning much easier and more accurate.

You can place displays on-street, on-premise, in-vehicle, and on-platform to show this information to passengers, so they always have access to the most up-to-date arrival times of each vehicle.

They will also be able to see any changes to the vehicle times or specific routes, so they have a clear idea of how to best embark on their journey.

  • Faster issue resolution

Using ITS can also help you resolve issues promptly, as well as predict certain problems before they occur.

The software can monitor and pre-empt things such as delays in any service, transportation gaps, or broken equipment such as ticket machines.

This can allow you to continuously ensure your network is running smoothly and uninterrupted for both your drivers and riders, to ensure efficient journeys as well as increased rider satisfaction.


ITS continue to bring vast benefits to transit agencies, whether it be more efficient journeys, accurate information for riders, or prompt resolution for transportation issues. Moving forward, these expert systems might be the way to go for transportation networks across the world.

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