Smarter Traffic Discussed


Traffic experts from throughout the Asia Pacific Region are meeting in Auckland today for an  inaugural Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Summit.

One of the main themes will be to examine how smart technology systems can help ease congestion on the city’s overburdened motorways and highways.

Delegates from Australia, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and New Zealand will discuss how advanced and emerging technologies can improve road safety, reduce congestion and pollution while providing integrated transport solutions and making best use of existing road infrastructure.

ITS New Zealand president, Deryk Whyte, says the ITS Summit will provide senior leaders from key agencies within the New Zealand transport sector the opportunity to hear from colleagues from other Asia Pacific countries on how ITS within their own transport infrastructure contributes towards productivity, the wider economy and international competitiveness.

“At the same time we will be able to showcase our own operational ITS applications throughout Auckland, including the NZ Transport Agency’s Traffic Operations Centre at Smales Farm and in particular our journey time information and co-ordinated traffic management systems such as ramp signalling,” he says.

Mr Whyte explains that ITS refers 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 says.

Mr Whyte says ITS can help reduce the use of the private car by supporting genuine alternatives; providing cost effective travel choices; improving transport services to areas with poor access, and by fostering economic regeneration without increasing the level of car traffic.

“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.

“Studies worldwide show that intelligent transportation systems are cost effective and quick to deploy. According to ITS America, synchronised and adaptive traffic signals yield a US$40 return in time and fuel savings for every US$1 invested, while also reducing CO2 emissions up to 22 per cent and travel delays by 25 per cent or more.”

According to Mr Whyte 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 benefits.

In addition, researchers for the London School of Economics and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that investing in ITS creates a network effect throughout the economy and stimulates job creation across multiple sectors. These include green jobs, high-tech, automotive, information technology and electronics.

“I have no doubt that New Zealand would find similar benefits through the implementation of its own ITS strategy,” he says. “Now more than ever, we need innovative solutions to help in reducing the number of accidents on our roads, reduce co



  1. richard says:

    Suggest traffic would flow better if more and better public transport provided, build the central rail tunnel now etc. more bike lanes and ban mega suburban shopping malls! Increase harbour ferries with say a circular stopping service up the harbour to Beach haven and Hobsonville etc.

    Restrict weekend trading thus stopping the hobby of touring shopping malls

    Remove half the sets of traffic lights in Auckland and replace with turn bans etc.

    Use red turn arrows only where an intersection is unduly complicated and activate them only when pedestrians on ped crossing have the “cross now”
    Adjust phasing better.

    Introduce the flashing amber phase to controlled ped crossings similar to Europe

    Close half the city motorway on/off ramps preventing local commuting on the motorways. With less on ramps ramp lights would be totally unnecessary.

    Many traffic lights should be turned off when not needed at night. The main road should have a flashing amber meaning caution, the minor road a flashing red which means stop and give way.

    etc. etc.

  2. Andy says:

    NZ is going to showcase their own ITS? Oh dear. I hope its not from Auckland.


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