Transportation has been a key element to global economic success since the days of the Egyptian pharaohs, the Chinese dynasties, and the Roman legions. In the beginning, land and water vias were the dominant transportation paradigms. With the industrial revolution came improvements in road construction, the railroad and the airplane. The ability of the latter two to move vast amounts of goods and people in a short period of time have made them the preferred long distance haul paradigms. Today, in the information age, the quest is for global economic efficiency in a world economy governed by environmental concerns, economic alliances, and trade agreements. This paper discusses some of the socio-economic factors driving the various on-going, national transportation programs. The U.S. program is used, as an example, to establish the technical and social thrusts being addressed by these programs. Each thrust is described in sufficient detail to give the reader a feel for the objectives that have been set, the accomplishments made, and the challenges that lay ahead. The evolution of intelligent transportation programs in the U.S., Japan, and Europe is also discussed.
- Intelligent transportation systems
- Public and rural transportation
- Traffic management
- Traveler information
- Vehicle control