Frequently Asked Questions - ITS Benefits Database

What is an ITS Benefits Database entry?

ITS Benefits Database entries are short summaries of ITS evaluations and their findings with regard to the effect of ITS on transportation operations. The database organizes these findings into six goals of ITS deployment identified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT): safety, mobility, efficiency, productivity, energy and environmental impacts, and customer satisfaction.

A typical entry includes three elements:

  • System Description
  • Evaluation Techniques
  • Findings

Each entry begins with a brief description of the studied ITS application and other project context relevant to understanding the system's effect on transportation operations. The summaries then describe the evaluation methodology used in the study (e.g., survey strategies, data collection periods, and simulation techniques used). Finally, each entry recounts the findings of the evaluation (e.g., gallons of fuel saved, hours of delay eliminated).

What are the sources for ITS Benefits Database entries?

The benefits of ITS presented in this resource are drawn primarily from written sources such as ITS evaluation studies, research syntheses, journal articles and conference papers. The ITS Electronic Document Library (EDL), Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS), and conference proceedings are major sources for the documents reviewed for collection of benefits information. Correspondence with evaluators occasionally supplements information provided in these written documents. Each database entry provides links to relevant source documentation, when it is available online.

How is the ITS Benefits Database organized?

ITS benefits are presented in a number of classification schemes capturing various topics of interest of transportation professionals.

Each database entry is presented in the ITS application categories according to the type of ITS evaluated. This organization scheme will provide insight to the project managers, planners, and designers considering deployment of or responsible for a particular ITS application. This will allow, for example, a manager or planner seeking to improve transit system operations to search for example outcomes for the variety of ITS improvements intended to improve transit management (e.g., automatic vehicle location, transit signal priority, electronic fare payment).

Each benefit entry is also categorized by the ITS goal areas affected by the system. Browsing by goal area is helpful to executives, researchers, and planners, interested in learning more about successful approaches to maximizing benefits in key ITS goal areas ranging from safety to customer satisfaction. This categorization enables refined searching for experiences with ITS that, for example, improve safety through freeway management applications.

ITS Integration enables sharing of information among various systems as well as among agencies. Benefits presented in the integration links classifications show the impact that such sharing of information can have on transportation system performance.

Database entries are also organized by the location. Entries are categorized by the country or U.S. state where the subject ITS was deployed.

How many entries does the ITS Benefits Database include?

As of March 1, 2015 the database includes 877 entries drawn from 594 source documents.

How often is the ITS Benefits Database updated?

New entries are added continuously as new source documents are reviewed and summarized.

How can I find out if new ITS Benefits Database entries have been added to the Web site?

Users can sign up to receive notifications of new benefits database entries through the ITS Information Subscription Service, which provides updates for a wide variety of topic areas and is available in Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or email formats. From the ITS Benefits Database home page, click on one of the RSS or email subscription links at the bottom of the page. Also, our What's New page lists the 10 most recent additions to the database.

How can I contribute evaluation findings to the ITS Benefits Database?

Contributions are welcomed and can be made by clicking the "Contribute Data" link on the left menu.

Please upload documentation of ITS evaluations and findings, providing any additional insight in the space provided. All submissions are reviewed by an analyst, who may contact you with follow-up questions.

Are all entries in the ITS Benefits Database positive?

No. Experience shows that ITS deployments, in general, are overwhelmingly beneficial to transportation operations. While this database presents such benefits, it also documents adverse impacts of ITS, when experienced.

A handful of ITS Benefits Database entries discuss cases where ITS had a neutral or even negative effect on the transportation network. For example, one entry describes that safety risk for individual vehicles can increase when traveler information guidance directs them to alternate routes with higher crash rates (e.g. arterial routes to avoid congested freeways). In that example, network wide safety improved through overall reductions in traffic congestion and smoother traffic flow. Another entry documents an increase in toll plaza crashes due to driver confusion following the deployment of electronic toll collection, emphasizing the need for appropriate signage and guidance to drivers.

How can I learn more about the ITS Benefits Database?

Training sessions on how to use the ITS Benefits Database and the other ITS JPO-supported Knowledge Resources are presented throughout the year. An archived presentation of one training session from the T3 (Talking Technology and Transportation) series sponsored by the ITS Joint Program Office is available online.

For more information, see the About This Site and Help pages or Contact Us.

Last Modified: 03/01/2015