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GAO Encourages Investing in Local Transportation Tech

Not enough transit providers are taking advantage of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), according to a Government Accountability Office study released on Tuesday.

“Most small urban and rural transit providers are not using other ITS technologies—such as automatic passenger counters or electronic fare payment—due to the cost of the technologies or because there is no perceived need,” the study said.

ITS technologies such as automatic vehicle location and electronic fare payment are able to provide local governments with greater amounts of data on the state of transportation systems in their area, as well as improving the consumer experience with those systems. Transit providers surveyed by GAO reported improved scheduling and routing, on-time performance and schedule adherence, and customer satisfaction through the use of ITS.

However, the study found that these systems are most often deployed by larger, more urbanized areas, whereas smaller transportation providers are unable to justify investing in such systems. The study found that the large- and medium-sized urban areas have especially used the various ITS technologies in combination to gain a more comprehensive picture of their transportation needs, something that smaller areas aren’t taking advantage of.

“Transit providers GAO interviewed and surveyed noted that it can be difficult to quantify the benefits of using ITS technologies because, as reported by large and medium urban providers, it may be difficult to identify a unit of measurement, such as for greater staff efficiency, or attribute benefits to either ITS deployment or a specific technology,” the study said.

Though the Department of Transportation (DOT) has released resources on the benefits of ITS and how best to deploy them, GAO found that most transit providers aren’t using them. GAO is therefore recommending that the Secretary of Transportation develop a plan to increase awareness.

Jessie Bur
About Jessie Bur
Jessie Bur is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Cybersecurity, FedRAMP, GSA, Congress, Treasury, DOJ, NIST and Cloud Computing.
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