First publishedin ITS International
Georgis draws up plans in the event of another Snowmageddon
Snowmageddon response sweeps award
Following the 2014 Snowmageddon whiteout in the US state of Georgia, its Department of Transportation created a winter emergencies reaction programme which has won the ‘Out of the box’ category of ITS Georgia’s 2015 Best of ITS Awards. The DOT’s Winter Weather Response Plan, said chapter president Tom Sever, has had “huge impacts throughout the state”.
Named after the 2011 film about an Alaskan town menaced by a mysterious frozen globe, the crisis brought about by winter storm Leon caused days of urban and interurban gridlock in the state capital, Atlanta, and surrounding townships. The DOT’s resulting plan involves maximising the potential of its NaviGAtor ITS resource.
This draws on recently extended arrays of road weather information systems, CCTV cameras to monitor driving conditions, changeable message signs to keep the travelling public informed and the DOT’s network of highway emergency response operators (HEROs). These last, introduced to relieve police from traffic control duties, have the key role of minimising congestion by clearing wrecked or disabled vehicles from highway lanes and running traffic control at incidents, of which they handle between 55,000 and 60,000 a year.
New push for seamless European travel
Seamless European travel, a vision dear to the heart of former EC Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas, “is neither a fiction, nor yet a reality, but a vision capable of being realised through evolution”, believes Network of National ITS Associations chair Roman Srp. He was speaking at a conference of the European Parliament’s Alliance of Liberals and Democrats grouping in the Czech capital, Prague, where he is also executive director of ITSS Czech and Slovak.
A future European multimodal, door-to-door journey planner, he said, needs to have a decentralised, continental-level architecture. This should provide for a distributed journey search function being available via a network of interconnected servers operating at regional level.
He identified key components as the standardisation of international timetable data exchange, the interconnection of public transport dispatch with traffic information and management centres, interoperable electronic fare management at all levels and the mutual acceptance of public transport and multimodal products and tickets.
While Kallas’ EU-wide vision remains clear and general guidance is available, Srp concluded, practical obstacles remain, and concrete roadmaps for the regional perspectives are “still missing”. (ITS Nationals)
ITS World Congress
Young professionals group launched at ITS (UK)
The first ITS Diversity Award, established by a team representing the three world congress-organising regions, has gone to international infrastructure consultancy Mouchel for its support for the ITS(UK) Women in ITS group, as well as for its own encouragement of female staff.
The award recognises initiatives aimed at promoting the creation of ITS workforces that reflect the needs of the communities the industry serves.
Bestowing the award at the 2015 ITS World Congress in Bordeaux was ERTICO-ITS Europe chair Cees de Wijs; the next winner will be announced at the 2016 ITS World Congress in Melbourne. The scheme’s creators have been working towards achieving more inclusive recruitment since the 2009 ITS World Congress in Stockholm. Judging the submissions was an international panel of eminent ITS professionals.
ITS South Africa
Green transport initiatives
Following the staging of a successful workshop in Cape Town, ITS South Africa
(ITSSA) is developing a position paper on green and sustainable transport issues to promote a framework for strategic ITS deployment in the field. A keynote presentation by city transport leader Councillor Brett Herron “showed how seriously environmental and sustainability concerns are being taken on the political level”, ITSSA’s CEO Dr Paul Vorster told ITS International.
The paper forms part of a wide-ranging roadmap of actions. These include defining the role of transport as a smart cities enabler; and supporting the establishment of transport authorities as institutional means of integrating transport planning and operations, to enhance their efficiency.