Government agencies and private companies interested in tapping into the $211 million in federal funds available for intelligent transportation system projects will have to comply with new evaluation guidelines established by the Department of Transportation.
The guidelines, ordered by Congress when it appropriated ITS funds for 2000, establish general criteria for evaluations and reporting. A key objective is to assure objectivity and uniformity.
Increased funding for the ITS program was included in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and is intended to bring technology from the research and test stages to actual use. The general goal is to increase safety and efficiency of the nation's transportation network - including freight and passenger transportation - and to reduce negative impacts (congestion, pollution, etc.) on communities and the environment.
Project categories are defined in the procedural guidelines. Commercial Vehicle Intelligent Transportation System Infrastructure Deployment, for instance, is aimed at improving the safety and productivity of commercial vehicles and drivers through ITS. Priority areas include improved efficiency of enforcement, registration, driver licensing and fuel tax information. However, the guidelines do not recommend specific technologies or systems to be tested and are not intended to determine what projects will receive funding.
General recommendations for evaluating projects, setting goals, and establishing test plans were published in the September 20, 1999, Federal Register, available on the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html. A more detailed ITS Evaluation Resource Guide is available on the ITS Joint Program Office web site (http://www.its.dot.gov) through the Program Assessment/Evaluation link.