Cities reap benefits from ‘intelligent transportation systems,’ but challenges remain

Intelligent transportation systems — technologies such as those that give emergency vehicles priority at traffic lights and adapt signals to improve the flow of traffic — can reduce crashes and improve emergency response times, according to a September report from the Government Accountability Office.

While some of these technologies have been in use since the 1960s, state and local officials complained in the report of operational problems and said the ability to reap benefits from their investments “depends on sustained funding and leadership.”

Cities primarily choose where and how to use ITS technologies based on their local priorities, which can range from lessening traffic on existing roads to dealing with weather-related incidents, the GAO report says.

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