Can Auckland's traffic jams be solved by tech? International experts meet

The Intelligent Transport Systems summit seeks a high tech answer to motorway congestion in the City of Snails. 

Experts from Australia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand have arrived today to attend the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) summit, where they will discuss how technologies can improve road safety, reduce congestion and pollution, and make the best use of existing infrastructure while providing integrated transport, a release from host organisation ITS NZ said today. 

One of the main themes would be how smart technology could ease Auckland's traffic, the release said.

President Deryk Whyte said it will provide leaders from New Zealand agencies the opportunity to hear from Asia Pacific colleagues about ITS in their countries and how such systems have contributed to productivity and the wider economy.  At the same time, he said, it would be a chance for New Zealand to "showcase" its own operational ITS applications, such as the NZ Transport Agency's Traffic Operations Centre at Smales Farm.

ITS, he said, referred to the application of advanced and emerging technologies from basic management systems, such as car navigation, traffic signal control systems, variable message signs, automatic number plate recognition or speed cameras, to monitoring applications such as security CCTV.

“ITS also covers more advanced applications that integrate live data and feedback from a number of other sources, such as fleet management systems; weather information; crowd source applications on smart phones and the like. All in all, such smart technology applied to transportation can save lives, time, money, energy and the environment,” he said.

He said such systems can provide genuine alternatives to travel by car, and can improve transport to areas with little access and provide cheaper travel options.

"As government spending is restrained and its agencies are being asked to do more with less, investing in smart technology is becoming increasingly vital for improving transport system efficiency, optimising the public’s return on investment and creating a more connected transportation network," said Mr Whyte.

Mr Whyte said studies worldwide had shown the benefit of intelligent traffic systems, which were cost effective and quick to deploy.  He said the US Government Accountability Office found the benefit-cost ratio of a nationwide real time traffic information system to be 25 to 1, with a US$1.2 billion investment returning more than US$30 billion in safety, mobility and environmental benefit.

"Now more than ever, we need innovative solutions to help in reducing the number of accidents on our roads, reduce congestion and pollution, and meet the growing demands of our transport network more cost effectively.”
 

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