Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are defined as the use of information and communication technology to improve transportation performance. The term ITS refers to a set of tools, facilities and specialties such as traffic engineering concepts, software, hardware and telecommunication technologies that are used in a coordinated and integrated manner to improve efficiency and safety in the transportation system. The existence of efficient and safe transportation is one of the most basic requirements for economy productivity and increasing the level of social welfare in any country. The use and planning of intelligent transportation systems is dates back to the early 1990s. The use of ITS has so far had very positive effects on governments in solving transportation challenges.
Intelligent transportation systems are not just a new technology or tool. In fact, ITS makes it possible to integrate the transportation system. Different technologies are used in an intelligent transportation system. From basic systems such as car navigation, traffic lights control systems, traffic signs, traffic counter, speed camera (speed limit enforcement) and automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR) to more advanced and complicated systems simultaneously integrate different information from different sources. Information such as weather conditions, traffic and road conditions and so on.
Intelligent transportation systems could have many benefits.
Benefits of ITS:
- Decrease and smoothness of traffic in urban and road transport
- Increase of road safety and reduce of car accidents
- Reduce of energy consumption and environmental pollution
- Inform the passenger by advanced information systems
- Ease of selecting the transportation system for the passengers
- Ease of payment due to the use of electronic payment system
- Support and management of rescue vehicles
- Management of electronic toll collection, parking fee, ticket purchase and so on
- Monitoring and control of heavy vehicles transportation
- Pedestrian management and support
Installation of video surveillance cameras, vehicle traffic counting systems, spot and average speed limit enforcement systems and weigh in motion systems (WIM) are among the most important examples of the emergence of ITS in Iran.
Establishment of traffic control centers, informing drivers about roads and streets traffic through radio and other means of mass communication and use of routing software are other examples of ITS presence in the country. With the establishment of the Tehran traffic control center in 1994, for the first time, traffic news was broadcast on Payam Radio in Tehran. It was done with the help of city-wide cameras and people were informed about the traffic conditions. Although that informing was one-dimensional, it made organizations such as the traffic police perform better in this area.
Although good steps have been taken so far to implement ITS in the country, we still need coordination between organizations and the development of a comprehensive national plan.