U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater has announced two new Intelligent Transportation Systems field tests. Both, says DOT, are aimed at preparing for the expected doubling of intermodal freight transportation over the first two decades of the 21st Century.

One test, a partnership of the DOT, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the American Trucking Assn's Foundation is designed to improve operational efficiency and cargo security for freight shippers and operators.
The test, "An Integrated Cargo Information and Security System for Intermodal Distribution Channels," will use biometric smart card technologies to develop a secured, multimodal, Internet based cargo manifest.
The system will automate transfer of comprehensive cargo data from one mode of transportaiton to another and across jurisdictions. After successful installation and testing in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, a second airport and supply chain will be added in Newark, NJ.
The test builds on the O'Hare Air Cargo Security Access System, which the Federal Aviation Administration, O'Hare International Airport,and the ATA instituted jointly in 1997. The project uses a fingerprint smart card access system to expedite the transfer of cargo from trucks to airplanes and to enhance security.
The second field test, a partnership between DOT and the Washington State Department of Transportation, will link public highway ITS technology with private port-side electronic data interchange systems. Access to traffic information will permit freight organizations to identify and bypass transportation bottlenecks, thereby reducing operating costs and congestion.
DOT has provided $1 million for the two tests, with 50% or more matching funds from the partner organizations. Both tests will last two years.