This report is BCC's most recent review of intelligent transportation systems,
a compilation of 2011 coverage of the market for intelligent transportation
technologies in our newsletters covering ITS, The Intelligent Highway and
- Many aspects of today's vehicles including green technology, new safety
features, more intelligent navigation, and electrically powered as well as
more fuel efficient engines.
- Fleet management for automobiles like cabs and ambulances, electronic
signs, and traffic flow optimization.
- Many other areas such as bridge testing, health hazards from pollution,
toll operation, government involvement and the latest developments in the
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a major story in November 2011 titled
“The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams.” The objective of intelligent
highways is to move vehicles and their passengers along in a safe,
non-congested manner to their work places or for shopping or sightseeing.
Though the WSJ is more focused on the U.S., it included the frustrations and
bad health results of traffic congestion that occur globally. In the U.S.,
the Washington, DC area had the most wasted hours for commuters in 2010
followed by Chicago and New York.
Where are the “hidden tolls” most serious? Los Angeles is the
most congested city in the U.S. There are high levels of traffic fumes from
the freeways and these toxic gases may extend to cars 1.5 miles way. Children
born to mothers living within 1,000 feet of a major road or freeway in Los
Angeles, San Francisco, or Sacramento were twice as likely to have autism. In
China, third graders in the city of Quanzhou exposed to high levels of traffic
exhaust did more poorly on cognitive and behavior tests than children in a
nearby area. Congested cities are becoming test tubes for scientists studying
the impact of traffic fumes on the brain.
Roadways choked with traffic impact brain cells and synapses key to learning
and memory and are implicated in heart disease, cancer, and respiratory
ailments. The evidence is largely circumstantial but worrisome. Cars and
trucks of 2011 generate one-tenth of the pollution of a vehicle in 1970. The
opposite side of that is that there are many many times more people and
vehicles on the roads than in 1970. Breathing “normal” city air
with high levels of traffic exhaust for 90 days can change the way that genes
turn on or off among the elderly and can have a molecular mark on the genome
of a newborn for life. Children in areas affected by high levels of
emissions, on average, scored more poorly on intelligence tests and were more
prone to depression and anxiety problems than children that breathed clean
air. Emissions may heighten the risk of Alzheimer's disease. How to pay for
curing the ills of highway transportation is an issue.
Can intelligent highways and transportation help change this problem? Yes
they can, but results are not instantaneous. The first chapter of this review
includes focus snapshots of several countries that have been featured in The
Intelligent Highway newsletter in 2011. Current population figures are from
“The Economist” and its “World in Figures.”