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Thinking Highways North America November 2007

Thinking Highways North America November 2007

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Thinking Highways North America November 2007: DARPA Urban Challenge special
Thinking Highways North America November 2007: DARPA Urban Challenge special

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Published by: Thinking Highways on Nov 11, 2008
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Vol ume 2 • I ssue 4 • November /Dec ember 2007

T H IN K IN G
H IG H W A Y S
NORTH AMERI CAN EDI TI ON

Advanc ed t r anspor t at i on management
pol i c y • st r at egy • t ec hnol ogy
f i nanc e • i nnovat i on • i mpl ement at i on
i nt egr at i on • i nt er oper abi l i t y
t he
I NTELLI GENT
c hoi c e
ROBOT WARS
An emot i onal r ol l er c oast er r i de:
Ri char d Bi shop’s DARPA Di ar y
LOUDER THAN WORDS
Phi l Tar nof f ’s c al l f or
i nc r eased pr oduc t i vi t y
EMI SSI ON STATEMENT
Amy Zucker man on t he
cl i mat e change t r ai l
PAY AS YOU DON’T GO
Thr ee di f f er i ng vi ew s of
c ongest i on pr i c i ng
UNTHI NKABLE, BUT...
Br uc e Aber net hy on t he r ol e
of I TS i n t he war on t er r or
OSI LASERSCAN.
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or in tandem, you’ll soon realize lower life cycle costs, increased accuracy and increased reliability.
To see how well we can fit into your environment, contact Eric Carr, eric.carr@osi-ls.com today.
AutoSense is a product line of OSI LaserScan focused on the development and deployment
of sensor and system solutions for the toll and traffic management markets worldwide.
Idris is a registered trademark of Diamond Consulting Services Ltd.
www.osi-laserscan.com
Vehicle Separation
Axle Counting
Vehicle Classification
Vehicle Enforcement
Security Camera Trigger
Data Collection and
Transmission
OK, that’s maybe going a
little too far. And if anything
is going to s et a writer up for
a fall of equally epic
proportions it’s when his
editor publicly des cribes his
lates t contribution as the
bes t article he has ever
received.
But hey, Richard Bishop’s a
man of exper ience (you don’t
get to be recognized as the
world’s leading expert on
intelligent vehicles without a
certain smatter ing of praise
and disappointment in equal
measure) and I’m sure he can
deal with it in his own way.
His “DARPA Diary”, to which
we have given over a record
nine pages (pp 12-20) is an
extraordinary tale of the highs,
lows, accomplishments and
accidents that took up six days
of his (and a lot of other
people’s) life in November.
As leader of Team LUX
Richard was involved in every
stage of development and
build up to the event which
took place in an abandoned US
Air Force Base in Califor nia.
This pr ivileged insight into a
highly competitive robot battle
has made for fascinating
reading since Richard started
Edit or- in- Chief
Kevi n Bo r r as
Sales and Market ing
Lui s H i l l , T i m G uest
Design and Layout
Pho ebe Bent l ey, Kevi n Bo r r as
Associat e Edit ors
Ri char d Bi sho p, A my Z ucker m an
Cont ribut ing Edit ors
Br uce A ber net hy, Lee J N el so n, A ndr ew
Pi ck fo r d, Phi l Sayeg, Phi l Tar no ff, D ar r yl l
T ho m as, H ar o l d W o r r al l
Cont ribut ors t o t his issue
Br uce A ber net hy, Bi l l A daw ay,
D r W i l l i am Ber t el sen, Ri char d Bi sho p,
T i m o G at so ni des, A l G ul l o n, M ar k
Jo hnso n, Bo b Kel l y, D r A ndr eas Ko ssak ,
Bo b M cQ ueen, Lee J N el so n, D avi d
Scho nbr unn, M i ke Sena, Phi l Tar no ff,
H ar o l d W o r r al l , Jo hanna Z mud
A my Z ucker m an
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© 2007 H3B Media Lt d. All right s reserved.
T he vi ew s and o pi ni o ns o f t he aut ho r s ar e no t necessar i l y t ho se o f H 3B M edi a Lt d.
Repr o duct i o n ( i n w ho l e o r i n par t ) o f any t ex t , pho t o gr aph o r i l l ust r at i o n co nt ai ned i n t hi s
publ i cat i o n w i t ho ut t he w r i t t en per m i ssi o n o f t he publ i sher i s st r i ct l y pr o hi bi t ed.
Pr i nt ed i n t he U K by St o nes t he Pr i nt er s
It ’s a long st ory...
As s o c i a t e Ed i t o r Ri c h a rd Bi s h o p ’s e p i c f i rs t - h a n d
a c c o u n t o f t h e DARPA Urb a n Ch a l l e n g e d e s e r v e s a
p l a c e a m o n g t h e l i t e ra r y g re a t s . . .
1 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Fo re w o rd Th i n k i n g
CEO
Lui s H i l l
l ui s@ h3bm edi a.co m
Vice- President ,
Publishing
Kevi n Bo r r as
kevi n@ h3bm edi a.co m
www.h3bmedia.com
Kevin Borras is
publis hing director
of H3B Media and
editor-in-chief of
Thinking Highways
North American
Edition.
contr ibuting to Thinking
Highways on a regular basis
earlier this year, but his
chronologically structured
story, wr itten on a daily basis
“live” from the Challenge is
almost as good as being there.
Like a beautifully wr itten war
repor t can make you feel like
you are on the battlefield (for
me, it’s all in the adjectives),
Richard’s blow-by-blow
mirror the events. I won’t give
the game away by telling those
of you that haven’t seen the
result of the DUC and whether
or not Team LUX won it, but
just as interesting as the
technical stuff and the tales of
other teams’ occasionally
calamitous and sometimes
hilar ious mishaps, were
Richard’s thoughts on the
boredom, frustration and
evident helplessness that are
just part of the terr itory when
you are leading a team in the
DARPA Urban Challenge.
I wouldn’t typically
encourage you to skip past
other articles, and I’m still very
much hoping that you’ll go
back to the beginning of this
issue and read them all, but
this is no typical article.
“It was fun to wr ite,” said
Richard last week. It was
certainly a joy to read.
Incidentally, we have now
added two more Think Tanks
to our range of activities in
Nor th Amer ica in 2008, one
looking at Congestion Pr icing
and the other a VII Deployment
Workshop, both at Booz Allen
Hamilton’s Washington, DC
facilities on 20/ 21 May. Robot
vehicles most welcome. T H
Sub- Edit or and Proofreader
M ar i a Vasco ncel o s
Subscript ions and Circulat ion
Pi l ar i n H ar vey- G r anel l
Visualisat ion
To m W al dschm i dt
Conferences and Event s
O di l e Pi gni er
Websit e
C o de Li qui d
Financial Direct or
M ar t i n Br o o k st ei n
EDI TORI AL AND ADVERTI SI NG
H 3B M edi a Lt d, 15 O nsl o w G ar dens,
W al l i ngt o n, Sur r ey SM 6 9Q L, U K
Tel + 44 ( 0) 208 254 9406
Fax + 44 ( 0) 208 647 0045
Email i nfo @ h3bm edi a.co m
“Richard’s blow
by blow account
transports you to
the warm
Californian
sunshine”
(literally sometimes) account
transports you to the warm
Califor nian sunshine, where
you are surrounded by teams
of engineers all frantically
tweaking and twiddling,
making last-minute
adjustments to their automated
vehicles.
And, just as any great wr iter
will fur nish you with, there’s no
small amount of the required
balance needed to make a
story truly and accurately

COLUMNS
0 4 Bob Kelly and Mark Johnson ‘s Legal Br ief
0 8 Harold Worrall’s Br ight Ideas
COVER FEATURE
1 2 Thinking Highways’ associate editor Richard
Bishop led one of the teams taking part in the
DARPA Urban Challenge last month. His
enthralling account of how events unfolded is
essential reading

THE THINKER
2 2 ITS guru Phil Tar noff suggestis an increase in
productivity would improve transportation
agency effectiveness
ROAD P RICING
3 8 Mike Sena, on the other hand, wonders if
anyone has come up with a better congestion-
busting alter native in the last 20 centur ies
3 4 Johanna Zmud on what would make the idea of
road pr icing publicly acceptable...

3 8 ...although according to Al Gullon, congestion
is all a matter of personal choice
ITS a n d t h e WAR ON TERROR
4 2 Bruce Aber nethy assesses the crucial roles that
Intelligent Transportation Systems could and
should play if the US comes under terror ist
attack again
BUSINESS MATTERS
4 6 Kevin Borras caught Dutch speed camera
specialists GATSO enter ing the US market
AUTOMATIC LICENCE P LATE
RECOGNITION
5 0 Bill Adaway is credited with starting the
ALPR industry in the UK almost 30 years ago.
Here’s how he thinks the Nor th Amer ican
market will shape up over the next decade




6 2 Lee J Nelson joins TH and starts with a look at
some smart cross-border plate applications
SMART HIGHWAYS
5 4 Does the humble highway really need
an extreme makeover? Or would the addition
of a few smart, new accessor ies do the tr ick?
Bob McQueen has some fashion tips
CLIMATE CHANGE
5 8 Amy Zuckerman canvasses opinion on just
how damaging idling cars are to our
environment
THE THOUGHT P ROCESS
6 8 David Schonbr unn, President, TRANSDEF
7 2 Advertisers Index
D
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CONTENTS
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 3
p58
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
St unt ed
growt h
Photos by Krithika Srinath
Co v e r Fe a t u re
13 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 12 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Richard Bishop’s DARPA diary
Di n g s , b u m p s a n d s o m e a m a z i n g s m a rt s : RICHARD
BISHOP g o t a f i rs t - h a n d v i e w o f t h e DARPA Urb a n
Ch a l l e n g e
89 contenders
The UC began with an announcement by DARPAin May
of 2006, and by the deadline in October of last year, 89
teams had signed up. DARPAwanted to see a successful
event as much as anyone, so 11 teams were selected for
“Track A” and received funding of US$1m each. The rest
were on their own.
In Apr il 2007, teams were required to submit shor t vid-
eos to prove they had working vehicles which complied
to DARPA rules. Based on this, 53 teams were selected
for the next stage – site visits in which DARPA officials
obser ved the vehicles executing a var iety of basic mis-
sions. After the site visits were completed, 36 semi-
finalists were announced in August. Most, but not all, of
As fate would have it, on the very s ame day in late
October my teenage s on Jimmy went for his driving
tes t in Maryland, while 3000 miles away in the Cali-
fornia des ert, my robot went up agains t California
traffic laws in the DARPA Urban Challenge s emi-
finals. One pas s ed, the other didn’t.
DARPA’s Urban Challenge (UC) took intelligent vehi-
cle technology into new terr itory – could sensor-laden
vehicles plus some really smart software algor ithms
enable a vehicle to dr ive on regular streets, interact with
traffic and negotiate intersections, at the same time
using road knowledge to navigate efficiently? Could
they do this without crashing into each other or imped-
ing traffic while thinking?
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
St unt ed
growt h
ALP R
57 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 56 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
If t h e f u t u re i s a s s u re d , w h a t f o r m w i l l i t t a k e ? BILL ADAWAY,
t h e m a n c re d i t e d w i t h s t a rt i n g t h e a u t o m a t i c l i c e n c e p l a t e
re c o g n i t i o n ( ALP R) i n d u s t r y, p u t s h i s v i s i o n i n t o w o rd s
Image
consult ant
It is well over 25 years s ince I developed the world’s
firs t automatic licence plate reader for the UK Home
Office in 1979.
Since that time CRS systems have been used for virtu-
ally every imaginable vehicle related application. Some
examples are congestion charging, toll violation
enforcement, average speed measurement, secure
access control, car park management, stolen vehicle
detection, detection of road tax evasion, border control,
or igin/ destination analysis, jour ney time measurement,
vehicle overweight detection and vehicle pollution
detection.
To be at the forefront of such a diverse range of appli-
cations requires a considerable investment in research
and development. This investment has helped CRS to
deliver many world firsts. Apart from the first ever ALPR
we developed the first pulsed infrared illuminator, the
first use of high resolution digital camera technology,
the first use of multiple ALPRalgor ithms, the first use of
loop storage for imaging before and after an event and
the first delivery of vehicle make and colour
recognition.
The res t will follow
Other vendors have followed and now a significant mar-
ket exists which is growing all the time. It is hard to
imagine any developed country not requir ing ALPRfor
some form of traffic monitor ing whether it is for secur ity,
efficiency, enforcement or revenue collection.
So what of the future? One question that is often posed
is whether there is a long term future for ALPRgiven the
possibility of electronic licence plates. The answer is an
emphatic ‘yes there will!’
Legislation currently requires all vehicles to have a
visible registration mark. I cannot see this changing. Its
purpose is to enable witnesses to identify vehicles for
cr ime detection. As there should always be more peo-
ple than ALPRcameras it seems unlikely that the option
for using human surveillance will be discarded however
unreliable it may be.
Fundamental technical improvements will mostly be
concer ned with imaging. This is the most difficult aspect
of ALPRand where most benefits can be obtained. Prob-
lems exist due to camera field of view restr ictions, poor
optics, licence plate mater ials, night time illumination
requirements and weather – particularly the Sun.
Camera field of view restr ictions ar ise from the need
to achieve a certain number of pixels across the charac-
ter stroke width. The problem is worst in countr ies like
Nor th Amer ica and the Middle East, where characters
can sometimes be thinner than elsewhere. In fact, read-
ing Arabic characters in the Middle East can be particu-
larly difficult due to similar ities between characters, the
non constant stroke width and the minuscule zero.
Camera fields of view will gradually improve over
time as larger and more sensitive sensors are devel-
A companion article in this
edition, “Plate Tectonics ” by
Lee J Nels on, des cribes the
technology, benefits, and
growing deployment of
licens e plate recognition
s ys tems, es pecially at
international border
cros s ings.
By automatically reading and
confirming the information on
license plates and other
signage on cars and trucks,
these systems have the
potential to dramatically
improve the efficiency of
border crossings while
making it easier, and less time
consuming, for border officials
to scan license plates for a
var iety of purposes. These
include checking for stolen
vehicles or other law
enforcement reasons,
confirming immigration status,
and processing commercial
traffic.
According to the article, the
deployment of license-place
recognition systems is
expected only to increase in
upcoming years, both in terms
of the number of systems
deployed as well as the var iety
of information to be confirmed.
As we have discussed in
previous columns, many ITS-
related technologies can
implicate individual’s pr ivacy
concer ns about the source of
information that is gathered
about them and how that
information may be used and
disclosed. The question is
whether these same concer ns
also apply to these license-
Up close and
impersonal
Li c e n s e p l a t e re c o g n i t i o n s y s t e m s : s h o u l d d ri v e rs b e
c o n c e r n e d ?
4 Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Ro b e rt Ke l l y a n d Ma rk Jo h n s o n
Robert Kelly is a
partner with the
Was hington, DC
bas ed law firm
Squire, Sanders,
Demps ey
“License plate
recognition
systems appear
not to implicate
the same
personal privacy
concerns as other
ITS technologies”
plate recognition systems.
In any analysis of pr ivacy
issues, there is an inherent
balancing between protecting
the personal interests of
individuals and the interest of
society for collecting and
using the personal
information. An impor tant
factor in this balance is exactly
the type of information that is
Cars and trucks can be more
quickly processed by fewer
border agents, thus freeing up
agents and limited resources
for other tasks. License plate
information can be processed
by multiple databases at the
same time to check for stolen
vehicles, felons, escaped
fugitives, or other wanted
persons or proper ty.
Any “hits” from these
searches are relayed virtually
instantaneously to agents, who
can then conduct a secondar y,
closer inspection. License
plate recognition systems are
also more reliable than agents
in detecting the correct
license plate information as
they are not subject to fatigue,
illness or distraction. License
plate recognition systems are
also used to identify and clear
commercial vehicles that are
pre-author ized at certain
border crossings.
Private information
The type of information
collected by license plate
recognition systems does not
raise significant pr ivacy
concer ns. The only
information collected, license
plate number and jur isdiction,
is purposely displayed on
vehicles in a manner to ensure
that they are easily viewed by
the public and transportation
and public safety officials.
It is not possible to glean any
personal identifiable
information about the dr iver, a
car’s occupants, or the vehicle
owner simply by reading a
collected and how it is to be
used. License plate
recognition systems,
especially at border crossings,
appear not to implicate the
same personal pr ivacy
concer ns as other ITS
technologies.
A little light reading
The companion article
descr ibes how license plate
recognition systems deployed
at border crossings are able to
“read” a vehicle’s license plate
number and jur isdiction. This
information is then checked
against multiple state, federal
and even inter national
immigration, law enforcement
and commercial databases.
Mark Johns on is an
attorney at law with
Squire, Sanders,
Demps ey bas ed in
Buenos Aires,
Argentina
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Ro b e rt Ke l l y a n d Ma rk Jo h n s o n Ro b e rt Ke l l y a n d Ma rk Jo h n s o n
licens e plate. It is als o the
cas e that, under US law,
drivers and vehicle
occupants and vehicle
contents enjoys les s privacy
protections than does an
individual does in his or her
hous e.
The more complicated
ques tion is whether the
s ubmis s ion of licens e plate
information to the multiple
databas es implicates
privacy concerns. Licens e
plates are is s ued to
individuals and
organizations by s tate motor
vehicle agencies.
Thes e agencies collect and
retain pers onally
identifiable information
about vehicle owners and
drivers in order to carry out
their duties, including
name, age, Social Security
numbers and addres s es.
Under the federal Driver’s
Privacy Protection Act of
1994 (at 18 U. S. C. 2721-2725,
s tate motor vehicle agencies
are prohibited from
dis clos ing pers onally
identifiable information –
termed “highly res tricted
pers onal information” –
from their records,
including an individual’s
name, photograph, Social
Security or other driver
identification number, and
medical or dis ability
information.
However, this information
may be dis clos ed to third
parties by motor vehicle
agencies, but only in certain
defined circums tances,
including, s ignificantly, to
courts, law enforcement
agencies and other local,
s tate and federal
governmental bodies in the
cours e of carrying out their
authorized duties.
Les s concern
Licens e plate recognition
s ys tems do not rais e the
s ame privacy concerns as
other ITS applications, s uch
as conges tion pricing
s ys tems (which we have
dis cus s ed in previous
columns ).
Firs t, the licens e plates
thems elves are available are
acces s ible to the public;
indeed, that is a
fundamental attribute of
licens e plates.
Second, it is not pos s ible
for the public to connect a
particular licens e plate to a
particular individual merely
by viewing a licens e plate.
Third, it s hould be noted that
the type of information
collected by motor vehicle
agencies does not include
pers onal financial
information, except Social
Security numbers, about
drivers. And, except for a
few, identified exceptions,
motor vehicle agencies are
required to protect the
pers onal information they
collect and retain about
licens ed drivers.
On the other s ide, the
s ocietal benefits from us ing
licens e plate recognition
s ys tems are manifes t,
es pecially at border
cros s ings. Border agents
can quickly and efficiently
proces s vehicles while, at
the s ame time, cros s -check
their licens e plates with
multiple law enforcement,
immigration and national
s ecurity databas es.
Licens e plate recognition
s ys tems are als o more
reliable than Empowering
governmental agencies to
s earch for and s top
criminals and individuals
who may threaten the
national s ecurity of a
country is clearly a public
good.
Pres umably, the dis clos ure
exceptions in the Driver’s
Privacy Protection Act were
included by Congres s with
the intent and knowledge
that law enforcement and
other government agencies ’
acces s to s uch information
is critical for them to
function.
Congres s, therefore,
appears to have attempted to
s trike a balance to protect
from unneces s ary
dis clos ure drivers ’ pers onal
information but, at the s ame
time, provide a mechanis m
s o that the information can
be us ed in a manner that
clearly s erves s ociety.
Commercial confidence
Finally, pre-authorized
border clearance programs
for commercial vehicles
pres ent even les s privacy
concerns. Commercial
operators that conduct
frequent border cros s ings
s eek pre-clearance,
providing the border
authorities with s pecific
information about their
vehicles, drivers and cargo.
Commercial vehicles are
already s ubject to
s ignificant s tate and federal
regulation on many as pects
of their operations. Seeking
pre-clearance for border
cros s ings does not pres ent
any new privacy concerns.
In s um, licens e plate
recognition s ys tems provide
s ignificant public benefits,
es pecially at border
cros s ings. The type of
information thes e s ys tems
collect and how this
information is us ed do not
pres ent the s ame privacy
concerns as other ITS
applications. T H
6 Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
X x x x x
For more information visit
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We bring a long term approach to managing our roads. That means focusing
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management technology. GLIDe builds on the success of our current platform
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T
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3
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%.(!.#).'2/!$3
A career in
modelling
HAROLD WORRALL l o o k s a t t h e US p u b l i c t o l l c o m p a n y
m o d e l
Ha ro l d Wo r ra l l ’s Bri g h t Id e a s
Dr Harold Worrall is
pres ident of
Trans portation
Innovations and is
pas t chair of ITS
Florida, ITS America
and the International
Bridge, Tunnel
and Turnpike
As s ociation (IBTTA).
From 1992 until 2004
he was executive
director of the
Orlando-Orange
County Expres s way
Authority
Ha ro l d Wo r ra l l ’s Bri g h t Id e a s
The s hortfall in public
infras tructure funding is not
jus t a US phenomenon.
The European Union White
Paper on Transport highlights
a significant gap in transport-
ation funding in order to be
globally competitive. The new
Easter n European member
states are scrambling to ensure
that sufficient transportation
infrastructure is available to
support the heightened levels
of economic activity that have
resulted from the admission
into the EU. India, China and
other fast growing economies
have recognized the need to
invest in transportation to
support their economic
growth.
In the United States
numerous transportation
conferences, trade
publications and the mass
media have repeatedly
documented the shor tfall in
transportation investment. It is
now estimated that the current
transportation funding gap in
the US exceeds US$2 tr illion.
Costs have skyrocketed as
competition for basic road
building commodities has
increased globally and urban
land has become a premium.
It has become clear that to
even begin to satisfy this gap
in transportation investment
will require the traditional
sources of taxation revenue,
tax exempt borrowing and the
combination of pr ivate debt
and equity funds. Taxation
revenue will likely be modified
to better reflect the relation-
ship of cost and benefit and the
highly efficient tax exempt
debt process will continue.
However, to attract pr ivate
debt or equity investment will
require that transportation
delivery organizations
function as pr ivate concer ns
with a keen eye to profitability
and efficiency.
Conces s ions
This is not a new problem in
much of the rest of the world
and the mechanism used to
attract pr ivate investment is
the concession. Since the
Second World War, Europe has
assessed relatively high
taxation rates as evidenced by
the tax amount on a liter of fuel,
much higher than the rates
found in the US.
They have also attracted
pr ivate capital to
transportation through
concessions. In Asia, South
Amer ica, Australia and most
parts of the world, concessions
have been a mainstay of
financing transportation
facilities.
In contrast the US has
focused for half a century on
developing the Interstate
system and in the process has
perpetuated the myth of the
free highway, even terming
some sections freeways. Now
the US must maintain the
44,000 mile Interstate Highway
system and other roadways
developed in the first half of
the twentieth century while
developing new urban
expressways and servicing
other modes of transportation.
These growing transportation
funding needs have exceeded
Pa u l Na ja ri a n
10 Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s
the revenue available through
the gas tax. Politicians are
unwilling to enter tain gas tax
increases, taxation is not
indexed to pr ice and more fuel
efficient vehicles are enter ing
the fleet and construction costs
have skyrocketed.
This combination of events
has left transportation taxation
policy inadequate to the task.
Clearly gas tax alone is not a
long term solution political or
otherwise.
Capital letters
Concessions have begun to be
awarded in the US over the last
few years and have attracted
large capital investments. The
first were Brownfield invest-
ments in which existing pubic
facilities were leased in
exchange for large upfront
payments to the gover nment.
More slowly Greenfield
projects have begun to be
developed.
Recently, some resistance to
concessions has begun to
occur. To some extent
xenophobia or concer n for
public facility “ownership”
outside the control of the US
has generated concer n.
Concer n has also been
expressed that there are no
caps on profitability and no
publicly available records on
profits being excised from toll
projects where the public is
paying ever increasing tolls.
The cultural expectation that
transportation facilities should
be public in nature has also
contr ibuted to the resistance
to concessions.
Golden brown
Meanwhile public tolling
agencies have quietly
obser ved and continued to
finance toll facilities with tax
exempt debt at rates much
lower than can be obtained by
concessions.
As more political leaders
began to consider Brownfield
options for funding
transportation shor tfalls,
political resistance mounted
and some public toll agencies
were thrust into a competition
with concessionaires. Two such
examples are the Nor th Texas
Tollway Author ity (NTTA) and
the Pennsylvania Tur npike
Commission (PTC).
The NTTA was the result of a
competition for development
r ights for a project in the
Dallas area. Without
consideration of the politics of
the process or attempting to
determine what is in the best
interest of the public, a direct
competition between these
quite different organizations
did occur.
A bid was first submitted by
the concessionaire and the
agency was later asked to
submit a bid. Based on a
higher upfront payment
proposed by the agency, the
project was awarded to the
agency.
Regardless of whether one
agrees with or even
understands the motivation of
the participants, the fact is that
a direct competition between
the public and the pr ivate
sector occurred and it may be
indicative of further
competition to come.
Pennsylvania was somewhat
different. The Gover nor of
Pennsylvania began the
process of accepting bids for a
long term lease of the
Tur npike to offset the huge
gap in transportation funding
in the state. If awarded, the
Pennsylvania Tur npike would
have ceased to exist and the
operations of the Tur npike
would have been taken up by
the successful concessionaire.
The Tur npike Commission
therefore decided to submit a
proposal of its own.
Texas ins truments
As was the case in Texas
political maneuver ing began
with the result that the
Tur npike has recently signed
an agreement with the
Pennsylvania DOT to take over
Interstate 80 and place a toll on
the roadway. In exchange the
Ha ro l d Wo r ra l l ’s Bri g h t Id e a s
DOT will be relieved of
approximately US$100m per
year in maintenance cost and
would be given about
US$1 billion annually by the
tur npike commission from
revenues collected on the
Interstate roadway.
Perhaps this new
competition between the
public agencies pr ivate
concessionaires will spawn the
emergence of a new
transportation delivery
organization. This new
organization would have the
ability to fund projects through
tax exempt debt issuance,
through the pr ivate placement
of debt with pension funds
and/ or through partnership
with concessionar ies.
It might be more likely to
outsource operations in
entirety to the pr ivate sector.
This new public toll company
may be a competitive factor in
the process of providing
transportation funding and
efficient operations.
Public toll company
Finance is a prominent dr iver.
Public agencies str ive to attain
high ratings in order to obtain
the lowest net cost of tax
exempt debt while conces-
sionaires minimize equity
investment by structur ing with
low investment grade debt, the
usual mix of debt and equity
being 25 per cent equity and
75 per cent debt. Once the
public agency has placed the
debt, attention tur ns to
constructing and operating the
facility in an open public
manner.
The pr ivate sector never
stops consider ing the ability to
restructure financing to yield a
higher rate of retur n on
investment. The public toll
company must operate like the
concessionaire, always str iving
to attain retur ns on equity
investment similar to conces-
sions and outsourcing entire
operations for better
efficiency. Rather than funding
new projects with exclusively
Lester Thurow, an economist
and public administration
academic authored an article
entitled “Public and Pr ivate:
Alike in all the unimpor tant
ways.” The article highlights
the basic differences between
the public and the pr ivate
sectors.
Public infrastructure
delivery is clearly at this
boundary, requir ing the
efficiency of the pr ivate sector
and the stewardship of the
public sector. Public agencies
may remake themselves into
public toll companies that can
compete with the pr ivate
sector or they may not.
The competition will
stimulate a better product for
the public and the user of the
facility and will ensure the
public interests are kept in
focus. It may be that after all
the machinations that the US
will replicate the European
concession model with the
concession being owned by
both the public and pr ivate
sector. T H
interests would serve to
balance the interests of the
public and the pr ivate
investors that made the project
possible. Management and
key staff leadership would
possess the skill sets
necessar y to operate a large
scale business.
Public, private
These are but a few of the
changes that will occur if the
public toll company is to
compete with concessions.
Though such a major change
will be difficult, it can be done
in phases as new projects are
developed and operations are
contracted with the pr ivate
sector and as financial
arrangements are modified on
new projects, the public
agency can begin to change
the nature of its decision
making.
Hopefully, the Public Toll
Company will better serve
constituents and provide a
higher level of efficiency while
protecting the public interest.
tax exempt debt and waiting
for the revenues to cover debt
service, they must think in
terms of attracting equity
investors. Further, the public
toll company must continually
improve efficiency to reduce
the amount of equity in a
project and thereby increase
the rate of retur n.
Efficiency in operations must
not take a back seat to other
policy agenda. Toll rates must
be maintained to optimize
equity retur ns and manage-
ment practices and
compensation must be dr iven
by profit and loss. Rather than
accounting for the expend-
itures of a gover nmental entity,
the public toll company must
maintain accounting records
more indicative of a perform-
ance based organization.
The gover ning boards of
public toll companies might
be established to represent
the equity investor and the
debt community not just the
political jur isdiction in which
the project resides. This mix of
Vol ume 2 • I ssue 4 • November /Dec ember 2007
T H IN K IN G
H IG H W A Y S
NORTH AMERI CAN EDI TI ON

Advanc ed t r anspor t at i on management
pol i c y • st r at egy • t ec hnol ogy
f i nanc e • i nnovat i on • i mpl ement at i on
i nt egr at i on • i nt er oper abi l i t y
t he
I NTELLI GENT c hoi c e
ROBOT WARS
An emot i onal r ol l er c oast er r i de:
Ri char d Bi shop’s DARPA Di ar y
LOUDER THAN WORDS
Phi l Tar nof f ’s c al l f or
i nc r eased pr oduc t i vi t y
EMI SSI ON STATEMENT
Amy Zucker man on t he
cl i mat e change t r ai l
PAY AS YOU DON’T GO
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Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
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Co v e r Fe a t u re
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 12 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Richard Bishop’s
Di n g s , b u m p s a n d s o m e a m a z i n g s m a rt s : RICHARD
BISHOP g o t a f i rs t - h a n d v i e w o f t h e DARPA Urb a n
Ch a l l e n g e
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
13 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
DARPA diary
89 contenders
The UC began with an announcement by DARPA in May
of 2006, and by the deadline in October of last year, 89
teams had signed up. DARPA wanted to see a successful
event as much as anyone, so 11 teams were selected for
“Track A” and received funding of US$1m each. The rest
were on their own.
In Apr il 2007, teams were required to submit shor t vid-
eos to prove they had working vehicles which complied
to DARPA rules. Based on this, 53 teams were selected
for the next stage – site visits in which DARPA officials
obser ved the vehicles executing a var iety of basic mis-
sions. After the site visits were completed, 36 semi-
finalists were announced in August. Most, but not all, of
As fate would have it, on the very s ame day in late
October my teenage s on Jimmy went for his driving
tes t in Maryland, while 3000 miles away in the Cali-
fornia des ert, my robot went up agains t California
traffic laws in the DARPA Urban Challenge s emi-
finals. One pas s ed, the other didn’t.
DARPA’s Urban Challenge (UC) took intelligent vehi-
cle technology into new terr itory – could sensor-laden
vehicles plus some really smart software algor ithms
enable a vehicle to dr ive on regular streets, interact with
traffic and negotiate intersections, at the same time
using road knowledge to navigate efficiently? Could
they do this without crashing into each other or imped-
ing traffic while thinking?
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 58
the well-funded Track A teams made it through, along
with a large number of self-funded teams.
The semi-finalist announcement also revealed a
closely guarded secret – the actual race would take
place at the former George Air Force Base in Victorville,
Califor nia, now a vast area of abandoned residences
that once housed officers and their families. The Mar ines
had been using it for urban assault training in recent
years, such that not a single home had a window intact.
Years of neglect had caused most vegetation to die in
this high deser t area. To call it “bleak” would be an
understatement – more like the set of a post-nuclear
holocaust movie. But the roads were completely realis-
tic for the purpose of testing untested robots!
DARPA-ville is born
DARPA invaded the Base to install operations trailers,
several huge tents and a grandstand for spectators,
camera access points for the media, pit areas to house
the three dozen semi-finalist teams and about 10,000
portable toilets. That, plus 50 or more gover nment-
surplus Ford Taurus sedans, gutted inside except for a
dr iver’s seat and with roll bars added – these cars, plus
their brave dr ivers (professional stunt dr ivers hired by
DARPA, as it tur ned out) would be the first in the world to
share the road with robots.
With the site ready, the teams rolled in on 25 October
to vie for the chance to run in the final race. Some, such
as Team Tartan (GM/ Contentintal/ Car negie-Mellon)
came with their vehicle ensconced in a racing tractor
trailer and a small army of technical and marketing spe-
cialists. Others, like Team LUX (Ibeo Laser Scanners and
Sick AG) drove their robot cars over the mountain pass
from Los Angeles in manual mode, with the entire team
inside as passengers.
Imagine a NASCAR infield, full of RVs, pop-up tents,
roar ing generators and lots of vehicles. Add hordes of
grubby engineers, all carrying either laptops,sensors,
or cables, plus some slick marketing types. Throw in
about 100 gover nment officials for good measure. Let
simmer at deser t heat in br ight sun for 10 days. Sur-
round with cheap hotels and low-end chain restaurants.
Now you have a picture of the Urban Challenge qualifi-
ers! In the early days of the qualifiers, you wouldn’t want
to be on the same road with some of these robot dr ivers.
But some of the other robots might have been better
than you (or at least your grandmother).
As leader of Team LUX, I was deeply involved in all the
goings on and can attest to the dramatic emotional highs
and lows that come with hitting the ‘run’ button on our
Passat’s console and then walking away to watch it take
to the streets. (Yes, officially I was “the leader” but in a
classic case of “leading from behind”. Ibeo’s four per-
son technical team, led by Holger Salow, did all the hard-
ware and software wizardry over countless long days
and nights dur ing the last year.)
The ABC of bot driving
Each team’s vehicle was required to complete “mis-
sions” on three test track challenges. For each track, the
teams were given a Route Navigation Data File provid-
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 14
Team Lux members (from left) Richard Bis hop, Volker Willhoeft,
Karen Tippkoetter, Martin Dittmer and Holger Salow await their
bot’s turn on Day One of the s emi-finals
15 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
ing GPS points outlining the track (essentially a digital
map) and a Mission Data File which specified specific
points the vehicle must traverse.
Track A consisted of an oval about a third of a mile in
circumference plopped onto a parking lot, outlined in
K-rail (concrete barr iers). Vehicles dr iven by DARPA
dr ivers circulated endlessly at 10 mph on the oval, cre-
ating a two-way traffic situation. The vehicle under test
(universally called “the bot” by everyone) started inside
the oval on a cut-through path. After watching traffic and
waiting for an appropr iate gap, it was required to suc-
cessfully make a left tur n into this two-way traffic, with-
out impeding traffic. If traffic was impeded, the dr ivers
were instructed to honk (as well as brake to avoid a col-
lision). The bot then proceeded halfway around the
track and make a left tur n (again judging the gap) and
re-enter ing the cut-through for another run at it. “Suc-
cess” was roughly defined as the most number of laps
with the least number of hor n honks, dur ing the 25 min-
utes allotted for each run.
In terms of this cr iter ia, the best runs were by Team
Tartan (GM/ CMU) - 15 laps and no excessive honks.
Others, including Team LUX, did quite well, with 13 laps,
about 10 honks and a lot of cheer ing by us on the side-
lines. Other bots were a little wide in their left tur ns –
with ample paint marks on the K-rail as evidence. At
least one made a wild-U-tur n instead of a left, incurr ing
an emergency stop signal.
It was not unusual for DARPA dr ivers to have to swerve
out of the way when a bot crossed the center line while
trying to track the lane on the oval. And, yes, it got even
more interesting – one bot entered the intersection for
its left tur n when the space was occupied by two DARPA
cars going opposite directions – resulting in the first
car-to-car crash of the event, but thankfully just a
smashed-up rear quarter panel. Sting Racing from
Georgia Tech was most unfortunate – they accelerated
out of the intersection straight ahead and plowed head-
long into the K-rail with significant force. The DARPA
scorers sitting just behind this point had, shall we say, a
memorable exper ience – and were not allowed to sit
there anymore.
Sens ors working overtime
Sting’s sensor package on the nose of the vehicle was
protected by a sturdy metal frame, but it was badly
warped. As the most vivid example of the helpful spir it
among teams which pervaded the Urban Challenge,
Team Tartan offered up an expert welder plus equip-
ment to re-build the frame – allowing Sting to be up and
ready for their next run.
Track B was on part of the actual race course. Bots
meandered through a residential neighborhood, based
on instructions in their mission file. Here, DARPA cars
were parked on the curb, other cars were moving about
or stopped in the road, and the road was blocked in
some places. The bots had to handle all situations per-
fectly in line with Califor nia dr iving laws. There was
also an area where a parking maneuver was required,
plus some “sparse waypoint” areas - here, navigation
had to be done by sensors only, as GPS alone was insuf-
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 16 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
ficient. Less than one third of the teams - including Team
Tartan, MIT, CARolo, and Stanford - finished the course
in the first half of the qualifiers. All the other teams’ bots
got confused somewhere along the way, hit something,
or was about to hit something, and DARPA officials disa-
bled it. When this happened, the team leader and the
technical lead were invited into the dreaded “recovery
vehicle,” a large black SUV which whisked them from
the DARPA operations center to the site of the dead bot.
Although they lost points for the intervention, this pro-
vided the oppor tunity to re-boot, tweak, or re-position
the vehicle to give it a chance to continue.
Track B clearly won the pr ize for the most action. One
bot tr ied to dr ive into the living room of a house, while
Team Austin lost a roof-mounted Velodyne sensor by
zipping up a dr iveway into a too-low carport. Team
Oshkosh, the only truck in the game, hit a parked car and
pushed it several feet. The start point of Area B required
the bot to enter an open paved area, tur n left, proceed to
an exit point, tur n r ight at a stop sign, and continue into
the course. Alas, Gator Nation headed out of the start
point and with apparently no steer ing control, drove
very deliberately straight across the pavement and
slammed into the K-rail border on the other side. Not
long after, the team was in their pit area, with several
guys under and in front of the vehicle, re-working the
sensor mounts to salvage the situation for another run.
C-s ection
Area C exercised the four-way-stop behavior of the bots
- did they perform like human dr ivers, obeying the
“order of precedence” as to who goes first? DARPA
orchestrated a virtual ballet of several vehicles to
assume a particular configuration for each of the six
passes thru the four-way stop intersection as the vehicle
looped through the neighborhood. Many teams did
quite well here, as the situation was similar to the require-
ments of the DARPA site visits in June. But not everyone
– one technical team was dumbfounded (“It has never
done that before!”) when their bot misread the situation
in four of six instances - until a software “oversight” was
identified after a few intense hours of analysis. Others
went through before it was “their tur n” or misread the
situation in other ways.
But there were more than four-way stops. The tr icky
part of Area C was a section with a railroad-crossing
type barr ier blocking the road. What’s tr icky about that?
There was no contact between the barr ier and the
ground in the road itself – it was all supported from the
roadside. Bots who only scanned low didn’t see it and
those that could see it, but whose algor ithm required the
ground connection for validation, were in trouble. As
was the case with one hapless bot from the University of
Virginia who ran into the barr ier at speed and came
back to the pits with a broken windshield.
While it’s enter taining to tell these stor ies, the mad-
dening frustration endured by the technical teams when
these things happen cannot be put into words – a year’s
worth of work blowing up in your face. And yet every-
one knew that these are the “terms of engagement” if
you’re going to build a robot car. Just as frustrating but
less dramatic were the bots which left the starting point
only to bog down within a few meters, dazed and
confused.
Bad news firs t
After all the teams had taken a shot at each of the three
courses over the first three days of the qualifiers, they
were all scheduled for another chance to potentially
improve their score. But not long after the schedule was
announced, DARPA officials began making fateful calls
to some team leaders. “Your vehicle is not showing the
level of safety performance we’re looking for – you’re
out of the race.” DARPA was keen to ensure that there
were no bots operating in the final race which were a lit-
tle too rambunctious – and threatening DARPA dr ivers
and the other bots.
First, four teams were quietly eliminated. The rumors
started to fly through the pits. I started to dread the buzz
Co v e r Fe a t u re
17 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
in my pocket whenever my cell phone rang. By day five,
12 teams were out, based on unacceptable performance
in their second runs. On day six, the last day of the qual-
ifiers, the field had been reduced down to about 22
teams from the or iginal 35. Team LUX’s prospects, unfor-
tunately, had trended downwards each day – some good
runs, some bad ones, but with a few surpr ising Track B
moments on the last day that left us, shall we say, less
than optimistic.
That Halloween night was truly a nail-biter, because
the finalists were not announced until Thursday mor n-
ing. At 10.00am, DARPA Director Dr. Tony Tether took
the stage and issued a shocker – only 11 teams would
compete in the final race. The or iginal plan called for 20
teams and although the word in the pits was for a few
less than that, no one expected such a low number. But
DARPA only wanted vehicles they could trust in the race
– or almost. After the first 10 were announced, Dr. Tether
pretended to walk off the stage... until he was stopped
by the outcry from the audience, who were keeping
count. “Oh yes, number 11,” he said. “Oshkosh.” With a
whoop and a holler, all 30-plus Oshkosh team members
jumped up from their chairs to celebrate. The biggest
robot in the entire pack would be given a chance, even
after terror izing those parked cars a few days earlier.
My team and a legion of others walked out of the event
tent dejectedly, disappointed and at the same time
proud to have made it so far down this road. So what if
we collectively lost several years off our life spans from
the stress of the previous week! And us LUX-ers were
truly pleased that our laser scanners and sensing soft-
ware worked perfectly – never did we even come close
to hitting anything. Damage to the vehicle was more
likely on the plane r ide across the Atlantic than at the
DARPA Challenge -- we came and went without a scratch.
We couldn’t help but wonder what the outcome might
have been with just a few more weeks of software devel-
opment and testing - and we weren’t alone in that
fantasy.
Nois y dry runs
But much excitement lay ahead for the Big Eleven. The
next day, on the eve of the actual race, a dry run was con-
ducted for the race start process. All 11 vehicles were
arrayed in their respective start chutes – a magnificent
sight. Then, they began to malfunction. Was this just a
really bad Murphy’s Law kind of day or what? Conster-
nation transformed to groans of recognition as they real-
ized that, when the bots got some distance from each
other, all was well again. These vehicles had been built
for every contingency except electromagnetic interfer-
ence (EMI) from each other!
It wasn’t terr ibly bad in actuality. When in small
groups, the problems were manageable. So the start
process was changed to a three-at-a-time protocol.
Race Day arr ived with a new influx of news media,
although they had seemed ubiquitous all week. Pr int
repor ters abounded from the team’s hometowns as well
as national and world press. Germany’s Ster n TV was in
attendance and the cable network Discovery had no
less than three documentar y teams there.
The biggest Discovery team had the assignment to
exhaustively document the entire event and was with us
all week. On the day of the event, they had six film crews
in action to capture everything – we were told that a six-
episode ser ies will be aired in 2008. Another team is
prepar ing a documentar y on the causes and possible
solutions to traffic congestion – and they got an earful
about the potential for automated vehicle traffic to flow
much better than the human-dr iven version.
Automation back in vogue
In fact, in numerous interviews, Larry Bur ns, GM’s vice
president for research and development and strategic
planning, made some of the boldest statements yet
about GM’s retur n to vehicle automation as a part of their
long term road map. Noting that “I’m more excited about
this project than almost anything we’ve done,” he elabo-
rated by saying automated vehicle technology “could
DARPA Urban Challenge Finalist s
Ben Fr ank l i n Raci ng Team , Phi l adel phi a, PA
C ar O LO , C ar o l i ne, N Y
H o neyw el l / Int el l i gent Vehi cl e So l ut i o ns, Tr o y, M I
M IT, C am br i dge, M A
St anfo r d Raci ng Team , St anfo r d, C A
Tar t an Raci ng, Pi t t sbur gh, PA
Team C o r nel l , It haca, N Y
Vi ct o r Tango , Bl ack sbur g, VA
Team A nni eW ay, Pal o A l t o , C A
Team O shko sh Tr uck , O shko sh, W I
Team U C F, O r l ando , FL
ter ious malfunctions once in the start chute. Engineers
were huddled over the back hatch of the Chevy Tahoe
tinker ing with and examining hardware while hunched
over laptops as well. As the minutes went by, it didn’t
look good at all. What now? Then, apparently, a CMU
engineer had an idea – “let’s get DARPA to tur n off that
mega-screen TV next to the track and see what hap-
pens.” The spectator’s loss was the team’s gain – once
again EMI was the culpr it. This should be no surpr ise
since these are research prototypes - EMI is relatively
straightforward to fix and is a fundamental activity when
designing automotive electronic products.
At their appointed time, all 11 vehicles proudly left the
start chute and more-or-less gracefully entered the
track. Similar to the qualifiers, three specific missions
were defined, each taking about 2 hours while obser v-
ing a 30 mph speed limit. Most of the track was not visi-
ble to spectators, but the large event tent contained
(another) big screen TV with multiple views from DARPA
cameras stationed around the track, plus a helicopter-
cam. Color commentators added to the NASCAR feel,
interspersed with interviews of team leaders. The vehi-
cles proceeded into the neighborhood, and handled
tur ns and intersections fairly well.
Not once did I see a botched order-of-precedence
maneuver at a four-way stop, for instance. Unfortunately,
the “wild card” player Oshkosh did indeed get a little
wild and plowed into the former Base Exchange build-
ing. They were pulled from the race. Both Intelligent
have enormous environmental and safety benefits in
civilian applications. For example, elements of autono-
mous dr iving technology can be employed to improve
urban traffic flow, thereby reducing traffic congestion
and eliminating much of the fuel waste and air pollution
that go along with it.” He proceeded with a refrain famil-
iar to anyone in the intelligent vehicles industry, refer-
r ing to future cars that could automatically adjust their
speeds and space themselves to improve traffic flow at
intersections, for instance, while also reducing crashes.
He capped things off by making things crystal clear:
“We are actively developing cars that can dr ive them-
selves, and the DARPA Urban Challenges gives us an
excellent oppor tunity to demonstrate our progress.”
Ten years since automated dr iving was demonstrated
in a big way at Demo 97 based on USDOT’s cost-shared
program with GM and others, and about nine years since
that program was cancelled thanks to Congress chang-
ing its mind (on the program they started), this type of
commitment to automated dr iving is truly significant, as
it is pr imar ily fueled by pr ivate sector investment on the
part of GM. They’re not the only ones – automation is on
Toyota’s roadmap as well and other car-makers are start-
ing to make similar noises.
Slow motion racing
But I digress. What about the race? Intended to start off
proudly with flawless technology, that didn’t quite hap-
pen. Team Tartan’s vehicle started to exper ience mys-
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 18 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
You would cheer too if your bot had jus t s ucces s fully
completed a s eries of perfect inters ection maneuvers
MIT again left its lane to pass Cor nell – but at about that
moment, Cor nell finished its deliberations and began to
proceed again. MIT hadn’t planned on a disabled vehi-
cle coming alive again, or its sensors were blind on its
r ight front cor ner.
Whatever the reason, when MIT sought to merge back
into its lane, its bumper-mounted sensor suite smacked
Cor nell just in front of the dr iver-side wheel. Ouch!
They both came to a startled stop while DARPA officials
and team members came to take a look: the worst night-
mare for any team was to be taken out by another bot,
and Cor nell faced just that prospect. With a few minutes
scrutiny, though, both teams deemed their bots road-
worthy, and they were dis-entangled and allowed to
continue.
As the third and final mission ended, Stanford’s Passat
was the first to cross the finish line, followed by Tartan’s
Tahoe and Virginia Tech’s Odin vehicle. Ben Franklin,
Cor nell and MIT also finished the race. But who was the
winner? No one knew. What was the performance cr ite-
r ia? Simple, actually – follow Califor nia dr iving laws
and be the fastest to complete the missions. It was pos-
sible then for the fastest bot to lose due to poor dr iving
etiquette.
Further, the vehicles had been launched at different
times, so no one knew the shor test times either. The
determination was left to an over night DARPA scor ing
session, with the winners announced by Dr. Tether the
next mor ning.
Vehicle Solution’s F-250 and Team AnnieWAY’s VW Pas-
sat got stuck at intersections, interminably thinking and
blocking traffic. They were pulled. CarOLO’s VW Passat
nearly collided head-on with MIT’s vehicle in a traffic
circle and when the vehicle later blocked MIT again, the
judges pulled it. For its part, MIT’s vehicle basically did
its job, but in a very jerky manner. Cor nell’s car looked
OK, too, but almost nailed a K-rail at speed. UCF’s Sub-
aru Outback rammed into a house, dashing their hopes.
But several of the vehicles looked solid – very solid.
After completing every tur n, Team Tartan’s Chevy Tahoe
roared forward to keep its mission time down to a mini-
mum. As far as we know, Tartan made no mistakes what-
soever. Stanford’s Passat was more mundane in its
dr iving but nevertheless very capable, except for one
questionable passing maneuver. Virginia Tech’s Ford
Escape hybr id, Odin, lost its way along one stretch of
road (likely GPS reception problems) and rolled its two
r ight wheels along the sidewalk for a bit – but quickly
recovered.
Making cras h his tory
The first-ever public bot-to-bot crash occurred dur ing
the second mission when Team Cor nell’s vehicle slowed
to a stop for unknown reasons just after making a r ight
tur n onto Nevada Avenue. Behind was its dedicated
DARPA chase vehicle. A few moments later, the MIT
vehicle approached, and with mission speed in mind,
did a quick pass of the chase vehicle. Not missing a beat,
19 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Co v e r Fe a t u re
Co v e r Fe a t u re
Collecting the pot of gold
Number One – receiving the US$2m grand pr ize – was
Team Tartan, followed by Stanford Racing (US$1m) and
Victor Tango from Virginia Tech (US$0.5m). Tartan made
no traffic mistakes and had a commanding time lead,
with Stanford finishing about 20 minutes later, with Vic-
tor Tango coming in about 20 minutes after that.
Dr. Tether said Tartan’s vehicle averaged about 14 mph
throughout the course, which covered about 55 miles.
Stanford averaged about 13 mph, and Virginia Tech
averaged a bit less than that. Informally, Dr. Tether said
MIT came in at fourth place.
As it tur ned out, the three winners were exceptionally
well-behaved – a Califor nia highway patrolman would
have had little to zing them with. In fact, without the roof-
full of sensors and the nice paint jobs, could the average
obser ver have distinguished the winning robot cars
from the human-dr iven DARPA chase vehicles? Proba-
bly not.
All of the finishing teams were funded Track A teams
except Ben Franklin from the University of Pennsylva-
nia. Their team’s car, sensors, GPS system, and comput-
ers cost a mere US$200,000. By contrast, funding for
Team Tartan and Stanford Racing was well into the multi-
millions over and above the DARPA seed funding.
Oh, and there was one more unofficial pr ize for the
stealthiest, best integrated bot -- unanimously awarded
to Team LUX by the other teams dur ing the qualifiers.
The Ibeo LUX sensors were completely out of view,
tucked into the bumpers, ready for the showroom floor.
As one GM engineer put it, “Ibeo put a shot across the
bow of most automotive manufacturers, to highlight to
them that these sensors can be integrated and make it
look so that the customer can appreciate having active
safety sensors on their car.” Ibeo was also pleased to
see that its laser scanner sensors were used by all three
of the winners.
Shall we dance again?
What’s next for DARPA? Rumors abound as to another
Urban Challenge next year, possibly including inter-
vehicle communications to enable collaboration and
information shar ing between vehicles. Or, upping the
ante to address more complex urban situations, such as
pedestr ians or traffic signals. On the other hand,
Dr. Tether has noted that the extensive pr ivate sector
involvement this year signals that maybe DARPA’s job is
done – their mission is only to get technology moving,
not to create products.
What’s next for vehicle automation? I believe the idea
has truly taken root this time. Not as a massive public-
pr ivate partnership as was pursued in the 90s; instead
as a market-dr iven innovation, a natural outgrowth and
extension of active safety technology. Add the inter-
vehicle communications technology that is well under-
way around the world, and we’ll have vehicles which are
both smart and well-connected plying the roads. We
shift from being machine operators to machine supervi-
sors. This will most likely happen first for cars as Traffic
Jam Assistants, vehicles which take over both lateral and
longitudinal control in low speed stop-and-go traffic.
Also keep an eye on developments in the US to build
exclusive truck lanes to relieve congestion on major
routes – once trucks are segregated, the economics of
the trucking industry will lead to semi-automation and
eventually full automation and even platooning of heavy
trucks. In this mode, labor costs go down and fuel econ-
omy goes up – a premise so attractive that it’s only a
matter of time before it becomes reality.
So now you know. Between my son and my bot, the bot
failed its test and Jimmy is thr illed to be dr iving on his
own now. He’s quite good, although I wouldn’t mind hav-
ing the mind of LUX along as a co-pilot while he’s getting
up to speed. T H
The Team LUX vehicle will be demonstrated at the
Intelligent Vehicles and Intelligent Roads course at the
University of Delft in the Netherlands on 3 April 2008,
as well as at the ITS World Congress in New York City
next November.
More photos and video of Team LUX and the DARPA
Urban Challenge are at www.team-lux.com
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 20 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
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Co v e r Fe a t u re
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a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
Th e Th i n k e r
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 22 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Ac t i o n s s p e a k l o u d e r t h a n w o rd s – p ro d u c t i v i t y c a n i m p ro v e
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n a g e n c y e f f e c t i v e n e s s , s a y s P HIL TARNOFF
Crit ical mass
product ivit y
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Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
23 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Th e Th i n k e r
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 24 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
“Opportunities
for improved
staff productivity
exist, but only the
obvious ones are
given serious
consideration”
In his thought-provoking book “The World is Flat” ,
Thomas Friedman des cribes the efforts of bus i-
nes s es s uch as Dell Computer, WalMart, and UPS to
ens ure that their operations are managed as
efficiently as pos s ible.
Obviously, their incentive for focusing on efficiency is
improved profitability and improved service delivery in
a highly competitive business environment. The suc-
cess of these companies is achieved by establishing a
supply-chain management process that minimizes costs
through a number of actions, one of which is maximizing
their employee’s productivity. The success of these
companies is evidence of the effectiveness of their
strategies.
Efficiency improvements are not limited to the manu-
factur ing or retail sectors of our economy. As descr ibed
by Fr iedman, the Boeing Aircraft Corporation in its
“head-to-head competition with archr ival Airbus Indus-
tr ies, has incor porated Russian engineers into their air-
craft design team. In addition to the fact that Russian
salar ies are about a third of their US counter parts, their
participation has permitted Boeing to operate on a 24-
hour workday, using two shifts in Moscow and one shift
in Amer ica.
The availability of fiber-optic communi-
cations, moder n data compression tech-
nologies, sophisticated work flow software
and video conferencing has permitted
the design teams to collaborate seam-
lessly. In other words, Boeing has crea-
tively used moder n technology to reduce
the cost and time required for aircraft
engineer ing and design.
Efficiency gains can be achieved with-
out relying on foreign outsourcing. JetB-
lue Airways Corporation has demonstrated
the efficiency of creative staffing by allowing their res-
ervation agents to work from their homes. (They call it
homesourcing.) JetBlue President David Needleman
has found that reser vation agents working from home
are 30 percent more productive – they take 30 per cent
more bookings, just being happier” .
Each of these examples demonstrates that the effec-
tiveness of an organization can be improved through a
focus on its pr imary resource; people. The competitive
environment has compelled these organizations, and
many others, to continuously examine their business
practices and procedures in order to “squeeze” the last
ounce of inefficiency from their operations.
Obviously the public sector does not operate within
the same competitive environment. Funding for public
sector services is based on legislative appropr iations,
which in tur n are based on perceived public demand for
transportation services.
To a greater or lesser extent, public sector employees
have greater job secur ity than their pr ivate sector coun-
terparts. There are few rewards for efficiency within this
structure. As a result of these cultural differences, the
public sector rarely performs an introspective examina-
tion of its own efficiency.
When faced with budget decreases, transportation
agencies often respond with a reduction in services
(less frequent equipment and vehicle maintenance,
degraded pavement quality, outdated signal timing,
etc.).
Many state legislatures impose personnel ceilings on
their operating agencies. When faced with staff reduc-
tions or hir ing freezes, the typical response is to either
increase pr ivate sector outsourcing (if adequate budg-
ets are available), or again, to reduce services. Rarely, if
ever does a transportation agency consider actions that
might be taken to offset these resource reductions with
improved efficiency. Since most of their activities are
labor-intensive, improved efficiency can best be
achieved through increased staff productivity. Ironi-
cally, many oppor tunities for improved staff productiv-
ity exist, but only the obvious ones are given ser ious
consideration.
What is productivity?
In economics terms, productivity is the amount of output
created (in terms of goods produced or services
rendered) per unit input used. For instance, labor pro-
ductivity is typically measured as output per worker or
output per labor-hour. Opportunities for improved
labor productivity include:
• Increased use of automation includ-
ing technologies as computer aided
design and engineer ing, optimization of
maintenance cycles, dispatch and rout-
ing software, etc.
• Improved management techniques
including the use of performance meas-
ures for increasing the awareness of pro-
ductivity as an agency pr ior ity
• Reorganization to make better use of
existing staff such as a review of the rela-
tive efficiencies associated with centralized vs. decen-
tralized operations
• Training to ensure that all employees are using the
most effective and efficient procedures in the execution
of their responsibilities
• Outsourcing of agency functions that can be more
efficiently performed by the pr ivate sector
• Creative use of work schedules and locations (tele-
commuting). For example in some states freeway serv-
ice patrol operators are allowed to take their state
vehicles home. There are many instances of these dr iv-
ers stopping to help motor ists with disabled vehicles or
assist in clear ing an incident while they are on their way
to work.
Perhaps the most effective technique is the use of a
process through which employees are encouraged to
identify potential productivity improvements, and
receive awards for those ideas that are accepted. A
process of this nature increases the focus on productiv-
ity, and provides incentives for employees to improve
their effectiveness.
When consider ing the productivity of an organization,
there is a temptation to make a distinction between pro-
ductive and unproductive labor, in which the former is
directly responsible for producing the needed goods
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Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 26 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
ated. The conclusions of this second assessment were
very instructive.
Not surpr isingly, the national results showed only very
modest improvement in signal operations dur ing this
relatively br ief time per iod. However, a relatively small
group of jur isdictions responded proactively to their
initial results, by instituting an aggressive signal man-
agement and operations program. The productivity
impact repor ted by the City of Austin to this approach is
so compelling, that the relevant aspects of its exper i-
ence are cited here in their entirety from the NTOC final
repor t.
“According to Ali Mozdbar, city traffic signal engineer
with the City of Austin, TX, USA, “We are constantly under
pressure from the public to improve our signals. Once
we got the self assessment tool, we concluded that the
most impor tant items are managing and maintaining a
good system. When we received our grade, it was clear
what areas we needed to improve.” As a result, the City
began to put more emphasis on timing plans and updates
and became more proactive in its approach. Mozdbar
credits the self assessment with helping the City focus
staff on cr itical areas. “We sat down and brainstormed,”
says Mozdbar, “and decided to assign different zones to
each person. This allows engineers to feel a sense of
ownership for their signals. We provide incentives such
as time off for engineers who manage areas that are
doing well.”
The City of Austin made its signal
improvements with no additional fund-
ing, just a reallocation of dollars. Instead
of spending money on the back side by
responding to signals that have prob-
lems or receive a lot of complaints, the
City spends money up front by proac-
tively checking every signal for prevent-
ative maintenance. This has helped
reduce maintenance calls from 5,000 to
2,500 in one year.
From this descr iption it is obvious that
Austin was able to significantly improve
staff productivity through organizational
changes, employee incentives, and modifications to
maintenance procedures.
This is a vivid example of the manner in which produc-
tivity improvements lead to provision of improved
agency performance.
Example 2, North Carolina Department of Trans -
portation (NCDOT): While a few State DOTs mention
productivity in their promotional mater ial, most of these
references are related to the productivity of the trans-
portation system (vehicle miles of travel, tons of goods
shipped, etc.) per mile of roadway. However, the NCDOT
is a significant exception. In recognition of the impor-
tance of employee productivity, NCDOT established an
inter nal management consulting unit whose mission is
to br ing “innovative approaches to process manage-
ment improvement, problem solving and positive
organizational change”. The Unit promotes continuous
improvement in the effectiveness of NCDOT by influ-
encing policy, processes and change. Two specific pro-
and services (design engineers, service patrol dr ivers,
maintenance personnel, etc.) and the latter is consid-
ered a support function (building maintenance, trainers,
cleaning personnel, etc.). This concept
was abandoned in the early 20th century
both because of the difficulty of allocat-
ing activities to one of these two catego-
r ies (for example is the human resources
staff considered productive or unproduc-
tive labor), as well as the fact that all posi-
tions within an organization contr ibute to
the productivity of the organization.
However, these biases of the 18th and
19th century remain today. This is exhib-
ited by the fact that, when required, reduc-
tions in staff tend to have the greatest
impact on job classifications that may be
considered unproductive labor. Obviously this can be a
counter productive action since, for example, employ-
ees who are worrying about the status of their health
insurance due to cuts in the human resources staff, will
not operate effectively.
Succes s s tories and other pos s ibilities
While productivity of transportation agency staff is
rarely considered, there are some noteworthy
exceptions.
Example 1, the City of Aus tin Texas : In 2007, the
National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC)
conducted its second assessment of the Nation’s traffic
signal systems. The initial assessment was conducted in
2005. This self assessment was conducted to increase
awareness of the impact of traffic signal operations on
the transportation system, and to encourage agencies
and their elected officials to provide adequate resources
to ensure that these systems are being effectively oper-
“While
productivity of
transportation
agency staff is
rarely considered,
there are some
noteworthy
exceptions”
Th e Th i n k e r
Th e Th i n k e r
27 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
grams serve as representative examples of the Unit’s
activities:
1. An incentive pay pilot project has been author ized
by the General Assembly for the purpose of improving
staff productivity. This pilot project is currently being
applied to the State Road Maintenance Road Oil and the
Br idge Inspections Units. Financial incentives are well
known techniques for improving staff productivity that
are rarely applied by public agencies.
2. A continuous Process Improvement (CPI) program
has been established to promote ideas and oppor tuni-
ties for the application of new techniques for improving
the Department’s efficiency. This program includes CPI
Awards for inventive ideas that lead to more effective
performance.
Among the 2007 CPI Award winners was the acquisi-
tion of robotic total station survey equipment for stadia
surveys. A stadia survey is one that measures angle and
distance, using a traditional transit and rod. The DOT
had required the assignment of a spotter along with a
rodman dur ing surveys at high speed locations. The
acquisition of the robotic total station survey equipment
eliminated the need for the spotter at these locations
and also led to an estimated 10 to 25 per cent reduction
in survey time.
This is an example of the application of technology to
improved employee productivity. It is also an example
of the manner in which employee participation in the
process can lead to creative and useful techniques. The
robotic survey equipment is just one of an entire range
of ideas receiving awards from the NCDOT Productivity
Unit, that include items such as enhanced database and
processing for the State’s Adopt-A Highway program,
and improved sign racks for the State’s sign trucks.
One of the most visible and effective productivity
improvements adopted by the transportation commu-
nity is the use of electronic toll collection systems (such
as EZPass) which have enabled significant toll collec-
tion productivity by reducing the need for toll collectors
and increasing the throughput at toll plazas.
So the list of ways in which productivity can be
improved is endless. All that is required is the will and
the focus to identify and implement these improvements
on a continuous basis. The key to an effective program
is continuous measurement, encouragement and incen-
tives. There is little doubt that improved productivity is
a more positive response to resource limitations than a
reactionary cut in services.
Concluding thoughts
Productivity should not be considered the holy grail of
the public transportation agency. It is possible to
improve productivity while reducing the quality of life
and morale of an agency’s employees. However, it is
also possible to improve productivity by enhancing the
work environment, and reor ienting the pr ior ities of the
staff. A balanced approach is obviously cr itical to suc-
cessful productivity enhancement. Based on the avail-
able evidence, the current public agency culture has a
long way to go before it needs to be concer ned about
placing too much emphasis on productivity. T H
“The list of ways
in which
productivity can
be improved is
endless”
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
Ro a d P ri c i n g Sp e c i a l
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 28 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
If not t olls,
t hen what ?
As MIKE SENA e x p l a i n s , ro a d t o l l i n g i s h a rd l y a n e w i d e a , b u t
w h a t b e t t e r a l t e r n a t i v e s h a v e b e e n i n v e n t e d o v e r t h e l a s t 2 0 0 0
ye a rs ?
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
29 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
The word “toll” has many meaning and mos t of them
having negative connotations . As a noun it is a “fixed
charge or tax for a pr ivilege, especially for passage
across a br idge or along a road”. It is also a charge for a
service, such as a long distance telephone call. Toll as a
noun can also mean “an amount or extent of loss or
destruction”, as in ‘The storm took a heavy toll on life
and proper ty’. As a verb, it means “to sound a bell slowly
at regular intervals”, or, “to announce an arr ival with
such sounds”. Toll, as in “Ask not for whom the bell
tolls…” der ives from the Middle English tollen, which
means “to r ing an alarm” der ived from the Old English
word tyllan in fortyllan, which means “to attract or
allure”.
The word toll as a “tax” comes from the Greek telos,
tax, through to Old English, toln. Tax collector in Greek
is telones. The Greek for toll booth is teloneion, in Latin
it is teloneum, and in Medieval Latin it is tolonium. Toll
as “tax” is translated into French and German as tr ibut,
into Italian as tr ibuto. Since there are Latin and Greek
words for tolls and toll booths, one might naturally
assume that tolls were collected back in ancient times.
Rodolfo Lanciani, in his book Ancient Rome in the Light of
Recent Discoveries wrote: “Travelling on the great con-
sular roads of Italy was always made disagreeable by
publicans, or toll and octroi collectors.”
Us er pays (early vers ion)
In earlier times, kings and local lords taxed their sub-
jects to travel on their roads and across their br idges.
Later, it was a building society or corporation that
incurred the debt to pay for the road or br idge. Today, it
is gover nments who take for themselves the pr ivilege of
imposing economic restr ictions on movement to achieve
a var iety of goals, such as to channel that movement into
collective forms of transportation.
There are also tolls that are charged for entrance into
a city, region or state. From ancient times and well into
the 19th century, walls surrounding cities were built to
ensure that trade routes passed through the cities’ gates.
Tolls or customs were levied by the ruler of the city
region on people and the goods they carr ied into the
city. The records of customs for the City of London in
1260 are recorded in a volume called Liber Albus, which
list the customs to be paid for goods passing into or
through London. In 1856, there were 117 toll gates within
a six-mile radius of Char ing Cross, the official “centre”
of London.
Approximately 150 years later, in February 2003, Lon-
don re-instituted a tolling system. Instead of bars and
tur npikes, it consisted of cameras that photograph the
license plates of vehicles enter ing the so-called Con-
gestion Zone.
Initial results dur ing the first few months of the con-
gestion charging scheme in London were all positive.
Traffic was supposedly down by 30 per cent, with 65,000
fewer vehicles enter ing the charging zone. Transport
for London was claiming that the large major ity of these
people had simply switched over to public transport.
But 18 months later, The London Chamber of Commerce
and Industry published their Third Survey of the effect
Ro a d P ri c i n g
Ro a d P ri c i n g
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 30
on the retail sector painting a very different picture, one
that showed a severe effect on business in the charging
zone. It seems that instead of switching to public trans-
port, many people just did not travel into London. The
“non-essential tr ips” made by shoppers, tour ists and
some business people, were the reason the numbers
had fallen, and it appears that these had the greatest
effects on the businesses in the charging zone.

And s o to Sweden. . .
A similar system to London’s was put into place in Stock-
holm on 3 January 2006 on a tr ial basis. The Environ-
mental Charge (the opponents called it a Congestion
Tax) would be tested for close to seven months and then
put to a vote in the City of Stockholm to decide whether
it would be scrapped or continued. The cost of this test
was approximately €400m. As opposed to a single flat
charge for enter ing the zone, as in London, there were
var iable charges based on time of day, and charges
were incurred both when enter ing and exiting the zone.
The system read the license plates of cars, as in London,
and kept track of each car’s total toll for the day.
After three months, the group responsible for the
scheme repor ted that total road usage inside and around
the charging zone dropped by 25 per cent. It seems that
15 per cent of the people who had been using up space
on the city’s streets were there with no real purpose
because they simply disappeared after the congestion
charge was instituted. A total of 100,000 “vehicle pas-
sages” left the roads, but only 40,000 new r iders showed
up on the collective transport system. According to
repor ts by the city author ities, they “have not detected
any traffic diversion”.
The 25 per cent traffic reduction in traffic is similar to
the London reduction, and, as in London, it appears to be
to the maximum number of cars that can be taken out of
the pool of cars before the economic viability of the
scheme becomes questionable. In other words, if the
pr ice is so high that more than 25 per cent of the dr ivers
avoid the congestion area, the costs of managing the
collection of tolls is much larger than the income gener-
ated by it, and the costs to businesses and individuals
exceeds any benefits from traffic congestion reduction.
A battle of the s exes
Shortly after the tr ial closed at the end of July 2006, a
repor t on the local economic effects of the charging
scheme that had been commissioned by the author ities
was released. Rich men paid the most congestion tax. It
was repor ted that approximately 4 per cent of the pr i-
vate car dr ivers paid one-third of the total fees. These
car dr ivers were men, high income wage ear ners, and
residents of the inner city. Men in general paid twice as
much as women; medium income wage ear ners were
those who reduced their automobile usage the most. In
other words, those who continued to dr ive were those
who could afford to do so. They, along with commercial
dr ivers and service vehicles, were the pr incipal benefi-
ciar ies of the reduced traffic.
Removed from rush hour traffic dur ing the first days
are all those who cannot afford to pay the tolls, or those,
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
P
h
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b
y

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31 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4
who out of pr inciple, refuse to do so. This has generally
been around 15 per cent of travelers. They travel out of
the rush hour times; they switch to bus, train, foot, cycle
or pool car; or they take an alter nate route that is not
within the toll area.
Another group who have been shown to remove them-
selves permanently from the tolled roads are those who
make incidental tr ips into the toll zone. They represent
between 10 and 15 per cent of the travelers. This group
stop using the services inside the congestion charging
zone, and they do not take public transport into the zone,
so they are not recorded in the ranks. However, they do
not just disappear. They do their shopping or conduct
their business outside the zone, in part helping to fill the
parking lots of suburban malls.
Left, right
It may seem remarkable that many of the strongest pro-
ponents of inner city road charging are politicians of the
left, who should be, in theor y, supporters of egalitar ian-
ism. Closing a street for all dr ivers is fair; leaving it open
for all dr ivers is fair; but closing it for dr ivers who cannot
afford to pay for the pr ivilege discr iminates against
people with lower incomes. As a concept, “congestion
charging” implies that people who can afford to pay the
toll have a greater need to use the road, and therefore a
greater r ight than people who cannot. One highway
manager put it bluntly: “Not everyone can travel at the
same time. Pr icing is the means of rationing.”
The fallacy of congestion charging it that it is a final
solution to congestion. The reality is that in time, a new
equilibr ium is established. From the baseline estab-
lished in the wake of congestion charging, traffic vol-
umes increase along with population growth if, and only
if, commerce and industry in the area increase as well;
or, traffic volumes decrease if the population shr inks
and/ or if businesses move beyond the tolling zone. If
traffic volumes increase over time, rates have to be made
substantially higher to create a new shock to the travel-
lers’ pocketbooks. If traffic volumes decrease to levels
that either do not sustain the costs of collecting the tolls
(if the scheme should be self-financing), or if reduced
car usage has such a negative effect on the businesses
in the tolled areas that they are forced to close, rates will
have to be significantly reduced or eliminated
altogether.
If gover nments of any colour on the political spectrum
insist on using road charging as a tax revenue option,
then it should be a fair tax. Rather than basing the sizes
of a toll on the time of day, or, worse, having a flat toll as
in London, why not base it on ability to pay and the need
to dr ive? Shouldn’t a low income, two-job wage ear ner
who needs to get across town between her third and first
shift, have pr ior ity to use the roads over a high-income
executive? She should pay a lower fee, one that is com-
mensurate with her income and circumstances. Does it
really make sense to charge an executive ear ning a six
or seven figure income the same amount to use the roads
as a person making the minimum hourly wage?
How could this differentiation on the basis of fair ness
be accomplished? Gover nments have no problems
Ro a d P ri c i n g
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Ro a d P ri c i n g
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 32 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
using income tests to gauge what its citizens should pay
for certain services, including their state and federal tax
burden and how much they are able to pay for their chil-
dren’s higher education. Why not apply the same tests
to road usage? If the toll payment technology can match
license plates to people who have paid and people who
have not, and to track the toll evaders down to their
doorsteps in order to deliver a fine, that technology can
surely keep tabs on a database that says what fee an
individual should pay, and whether the fee has been
paid.
Some alternatives
Are there alter natives to tolls? There are, and those cit-
ies that use them instead of tolls do so for sound reasons.
In order to really compare these alter natives to paying
directly for dr iving on a road, over a br idge or through a
tunnel, or dr iving into a distr ict, it is essential to be clear
on the fundamental reasons for instituting any form of
dr iving restr iction. A list of possible reasons would
include the following:
• Provide a source of revenue to pay for the constructed
infrastructure.
• Provide a source of revenue for maintenance of the
infrastructure.
• Provide for economic transfer payments to subsidize
collective transport.
• Provide an economic advantage for the collective
transport alter native by making pr ivate automobile use
prohibitively expensive.
• Reduce the number of pr ivate vehicles to increase
the average speeds and on-time arr ival of buses or sur-
face rail systems.
• Reduce the overall number of vehicles in order to
reduce CO
2
or other emissions, accidents involving
pedestr ians or cyclists, space allocated to parking,
noise related to heavy traffic.
“Reducing traffic congestion” is not a valid reason on
its own because it is a euphemism for getting the eco-
nomically challenged dr ivers off the road in order to
make more room for the economically advantaged.
Bolognes e s ource
There are other ways to reduce the overall number of
vehicles without instituting regressive taxes on all dr iv-
ers. In 1972 one Italian city, Bologna, began to introduce
restr ictions in its histor ic centre. Areas were made
pedestr ian-only and bus lanes were added to streets,
limiting space for pr ivate cars and trucks. In 1984, the
people of Bologna voted in a local referendum to imple-
ment even further restr ictions on pr ivate automobiles in
the centre.
Access to the centre became totally restr icted between
the hours of 07.00 and 20.00, except for certain vehicles,
such as hotel guests, taxis, buses, residents and shop
owners. Speed limits were reduced to 30 km/ h on all
roads and parking spaces were reduced. One of the
main objectives achieved was the reduction of carbon
“There are
alternatives to
tolls and cities
that use them do
so for sound
reasons”
P
h
o
t
o

b
y

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t

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(
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y
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Ro a d P ri c i n g
33 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
to use public transit, and they have done it without insti-
tuting congestion charging schemes. Park-and-r ide is
the key. Almost 40 per cent of Boston workers use public
transit to commute, either from their communities on the
south shore, nor th shore or wester n suburbs, or from the
park-and-r ide facilities. Massachusetts Bay Transporta-
tion Author ity r idership has increased by 30 per cent
since 1970. Around 15 per cent of residents of Boston
walk to work.
Keeping the city alive
Cities and city regions are sensitive organisms. They
are bor n, they grow and prosper. Sometimes they stag-
nate, decline, fall into decay and die. They have good
per iods and poor per iods, depending on countless fac-
tors, including those that can be affected by humans and
those that are completely out of human control. When
city gover nments attempt to modify the movement
behaviour of the people who live in, work in or other-
wise use the city, they must be aware that their actions
can have unforeseen effects. While the shor t-term
results of instituting congestion charging schemes may
be easy to measure in reduced traffic on the streets and
reduced emissions in the air, the long-term effects may
not be evident until after a long per iod
has passed, after the mayor who pushed
for them has gone on to another place.
Before rushing into congestion charg-
ing, gover ning bodies should consider
all the potential consequences, both
positive and negative, and ser iously test
all of the other available options.
In my book Beating Traffic: Time to Get
Unstuck, four specific recommendations are made to
help you and your family get unstuck from traffic. They
relate to the daily school run, using the car for recrea-
tional tr ips, shopping, and tr ips to work. Practical steps
are presented on how you can change your behavioral
patter ns to avoid getting into traffic jams in the first
place. The final chapter provides a descr iption of tools
you can use when you are on the road to see potential
congestion dangers well before you are in the middle of
them, and to assist you in planning your jour neys so that
you reach your destination when you had hoped to get
there.
My goal with this book is to help you develop a plan
that will accentuate the positive exper iences of daily
travel for you in the future, and, if not eliminate, at least
minimize the negative effects of traffic congestion.
Knowing the enemy, especially the one within, the one
who gets in the car when it would be just as easy to walk,
and tur ning the enemy’s weaknesses into your own
strengths is the key to overcoming our over depend-
ence on our vehicles and minimizing our r isks of land-
ing in a traffic jam. You can change how you get to all the
A and B points dur ing a normal day, and you can even
change where those points are on your travel map. T H
Mike Sena is principal of Michael L Sena Consulting AB,
based in Asa, Sweden. He can be contacted via email at
ml.sena@mlscab.se
monoxide levels by more than 75 per cent. Congestion
reduction also improved the efficiency of businesses in
the distr ict and increased safety for pedestr ians.
Another way of doing it
The City of Gothenburg, Sweden has attempted to make
dr iving within the old city compound a nightmare with-
out actually closing streets, instituting tolls or charging
excessive pr ices for parking. Gothenburg is Sweden’s
second largest city with approximately half a million
residents. It is also home to two of Sweden’s vehicle
manufacturers, Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks. It has an
old centre that has a design reminiscent of Amsterdam,
with circumferential canals and radial streets. While
traffic congestion in Gothenburg was never as severe as
in the country’s capital, Stockholm, the city’s planners
decided that they wanted to maintain the quiet, pedes-
tr ian-or iented environment that had existed before the
advance of car and truck traffic.
In the early 1960s, Gothenburg’s central distr ict was
divided into five traffic zones. Cars and trucks could
dr ive into each of the zones, but dr iving between zones
was highly restr icted. To move between zones, it is nec-
essary to dr ive out to a low-speed parkway that circles
the distr ict and then to dr ive into the next
zone. Traffic was reduced inside the dis-
tr ict by almost 50 per cent when the
restr ictions were introduced, pedestr ian
and bicycle accidents were reduced by
45 per cent, and buses and trolleys sig-
nificantly improved on-time perform-
ance. The system is still in force.
Restr ictions on the number of parking
places, sky-high parking fees for workers and free park-
ing for shoppers have been the most common alter na-
tives to congestion charging in the large nor theaster n
US cities. This approach actually reversed the pre-1980s
city planning recommendations for new tower offices in
downtown areas to provide a maximum number of park-
ing spaces for employees, usually beneath the building.
One example of this is Boston, Massachusetts, one of the
oldest cities in the US with a tortuous street patter n in its
business and financial distr ict. The city has had br idge
and tur npike tolls since cows were grazing on the Bos-
ton Common. It has also had one of the most extensive
public transportation networks in the country compr is-
ing underground, trolley, bus and commuter rail.
Still, by the 1980s, following a construction boom in
the city, congestion on the clogged arter ies threading
through the city of Boston seemed to be an intractable
problem. Gradually, the parking rates in the central
business distr ict were raised from a few dollars per day
to over ten times that amount by the mid-1980s. At the
same time, large park-and-r ide facilities were con-
structed at the fr inges of the city where commuters
could park for the entire day for free. They were patrolled
and safe. Office building continued.
The number of jobs in the city actually is higher than
the number of residents, 671,000 versus 600,000, with
services accounting for half of the total. Boston has suc-
ceeded better than other cities with getting commuters
“Cities are
sensitive
organisms. They
are born, they
grow and prosper”
Ro a d P ri c i n g
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
The public
support s road
pricing if...
JOHANNA ZMUD t a c k l e s t h e i s s u e o f p u b l i c a c c e p t a b i l i t y a n d
e x a m i n e s ju s t w h a t , i f a n y t h i n g , w o u l d m a k e ‘t h e p e o p l e ’
e m b ra c e t h e i d e a o f p a y i n g t o u s e t h e ro a d s
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 34 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n
v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s
i m p a c t s o n m a n d
s o l u t i o n s f o r, c l i m a t e
c h a n g e
Ro a d P ri c i n g
The potential benefits of road pricing have been
advocated for s ome time and the technology to
implement pricing s chemes has been operational
for years.
Singapore introduced its first congestion-pr icing
scheme in 1975. London has implemented
a major scheme, and San Francisco and
New York City may not be far behind.
Public author ities in states across the US,
from Califor nia and Texas to Virginia, are
pushing forward with plans to implement
high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. Pay-as-
you-dr ive pr icing programs have been
tested in Oregon, Washington, and Minne-
sota. But other public author ities in the U.S.
and elsewhere have found it difficult to
advance road pr icing programs. If the
benefits are good and the technology can
deliver, why are not more public author i-
ties around the world implementing road pr icing as a
source of infrastructure funding, a means to manage
congestion and improve air quality, and as a way to
expand traveler options?
Why have diverse attempts to introduce tolling and
road pr icing been successfully implemented, while oth-
ers have failed politically? The bottom line is that the
feasibility of these efforts depended not only on public
support but also on elected officials’ perceptions of
public support. In many places, a gulf
exists between elected officials’ per-
ceptions of what the public thinks… and
what the public actually thinks.
Be careful what you s ay. . .
The power of surveys to illuminate the
attitudes of citizens means that results
are often used as the foundation for
policymaking. As aptly said by Earl
Newsom, Amer ican Petroleum Institute,
nearly 50 years ago, “Today’s public
opinion, though it may appear light as
air, may become tomor row’s legislation
– for better or worse.” Ipsos MORI, a survey research
firm in the UK, recently found that public opinion tended
to swing in support of road pr icing when people were
informed about how the revenues could be used to br ing
“A gulf exists
between elected
officials’
perceptions of
what the public
thinks… and
what the public
actually thinks”
35 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Ro a d P ri c i n g
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 36 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
benefits
(1)
. A nonscientific web poll sponsored by the
Amer ican Automobile Association (AAA) Mid-Atlantic
in the latter part of this year found most respondents
from six Mid-Atlantic States and the Distr ict of Columbia
favored paying higher tolls to maintain roads and
br idges – not higher gas taxes. These are singular pub-
lic opinion events, and it would be easy to find surveys
or polls that have found opposite results.
Given the link between policymaking and public
opinion, the quality of public opinion data is cr itical. But
who controls the quality of the measures of public opin-
ion that are communicated to public officials and policy-
makers? The quality of scientific research is typically
controlled through the process of publication and repli-
cation. The way in which surveys or public opinion polls
are repor ted often misses the checks and balances
developed as part of the scientific process. So how does
one know what the public actually thinks?
What does the public actually think?
NuStats recently conducted a systematic review of how
the public feels about tolling and road pr icing
(2)
. Our
synthesis provided a broad perspective on public opin-
ions across the U.S. and inter nationally. It was based on
a thorough review of the published literature, a scan of
national and inter national media stor ies on the topic,
and contact with organizations with interest in or expe-
r ience with tolling programs and road pr icing. Among
the 110 polls and surveys reviewed in this “survey of
surveys”, 56 per cent of them showed support for tolling
and road pr icing. Opposition was encountered in 31 per
cent. Mixed results (i.e., no major ity support or opposi-
tion) occurred in 13 per cent. As a point of compar ison,
NuStats also reviewed public opinion on tax-related ini-
tiatives for infrastructure funding and found almost the
opposite patter n of support and opposition. The aggre-
gate level of support for tax-related initiatives was 27
percent, with 60 per cent opposed.
In the aggregate, the public supports tolling and road
pr icing. Popular discourse would have politicians and
their constituents believing that the public is categor i-
cally opposed to tolling and road pr icing. The reality is
that, in the case of road pr icing, the nuances matter.
A lot.
The “If’s ”
Public opinion was more supportive:
• If a specific project was targeted or referenced in the
poll versus general questioning on tolling or road pr ic-
ing with a specific reference.
• If potential users of the tolled facility were surveyed
rather than the general public.
• If clar ifying information or a descr iption of benefits
were presented to respondents as part of the survey
question, such as “would you support tolls, if the reve-
nues were invested in improving public transport?”
An impor tant finding of the ”survey of surveys” was
that support var ied according to the type of project on
which public opinion was solicited. The notable stand-
outs are cordon/ area pr icing and pr ivate-ownership,
both of which showed higher opposition than support.
Public opinion was supportive in the vast major ity of
surveys or polls asking about HOT lanes, traditional toll-
ing, or express toll lanes. See `Table 1.
So what does the public want?
Our research identified eight ideas related to building
public acceptance.
• The public wants to see value. When a concrete ben-
efit to an acknowledged problem is linked to the idea of
tolling or road pr icing, public support is higher.
• The public prefers tangible and specific rationales.
When public opinion is measured in the context of a
specific project as opposed to as a general pr inciple,
the level of support is higher.
• The public cares about the use of toll revenues. When
revenues are linked to specific uses (i.e., public transit
improvements or local infrastructure improvements)
and not to general pooled funds, support tends to be
higher.
• The public lear ns from exper ience. When the oppor-
tunity to use a tolled facility already exists, public sup-
port is higher than when it is simply a possibility for the
future. Support from a major ity of citizens cannot be
expected from the outset. Building support is a long-
term, continuous process that should not stop after
implementation.
• The public uses knowledge and information availa-
ble. When opinion is informed by objective explanation
of the conditions and mechanics of tolling and its pros
and cons, public support is higher than when there is no
context for how tolling works. This factor explains why
members of the public may express negative opinion
about tolling as a theoretical concept but will use a
pr iced facility when it opens.
• The public believes in equity and fair ness. When
there is perceived fair ness in the application of tolling
or road pr icing schemes, public support is higher. This
Table 1: Public Opinion based on Type of Pricing
Sur vey Resul t s Type o f Pr i ci ng Pr o j ect
H O T Lanes Tr adi t i o nal To l l i ng Ex pr ess To l l Lanes C o r do n / Pr i vat e O w ner shi p
A r ea Pr i ci ng
Major it y Suppor t 73% 71% 62% 32% 0%
Major it y O pposit ion 15% 26% 23% 53% 60%
N eit her Major it y 12% 3% 15% 16% 40%
Tot al Percent 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Tot al Cases 26 35 13 19 10
37 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
in policies that possess superficial major ity appeal but
fail to address the real issues of how to deal with infra-
structure financing, congestion management, or global
warming.
An early pioneer in the science of public opinion
measurement, George Gallup, suggested that, with the
measurement of public opinion, politicians “will be bet-
ter able to represent… the general public by avoiding
the kind of distorted picture sent to them…by overzeal-
ous pressure groups who claim to speak for all the peo-
ple, but actually speak for themselves”
(3)
.
The public may have little daily contact with many
issues on the public agenda, yet their opinions greatly
influence policymakers. What can we do about it? We
need an informed public. The public needs to say, “We
consent.” But, the public still lacks credible, available,
objective information on the benefits and challenges in
tolling and road pr icing.
The public needs to understand the problems so they
can accept a solution. We also need to track public opin-
ion over time, particularly in the context of regional or
local initiatives – from the idea stages to implementation
and ultimate usage by the public. It is impor tant to track
the nature of support and opposition across var iations in
project type and to document how public opinion can
shift with changing values, new knowledge, or a new
state of the world. T H
References
1 Ipsos MORI. http:/ / www.ipsos-mor i.com/ polls/
2007.
2 Repor t to be released by the Transportation Research
Board in early 2008.
3 Gallup, G., and S. Rae. “The Pulse of Democracy: The
Public Opinion Poll and How it Works.” New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1940.
Dr. Johanna Zmud, Ph.d, is president of NuStats – A PTV
Company, based in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at
jzmud@nustats.com
Ro a d P ri c i n g
is why having an alter native cost-free route is so impor-
tant to the public or why support is generally higher for
tolling new facilities than for tolling existing facilities. In
terms of equity, there is general agreement that deci-
sions to use or not use a pr iced facility is a matter of indi-
vidual choice – revolving around motor ist’s situational
needs and preferences.
• The public wants simplicity. When the mechanics of
tolling or other user fee programs are simple, and there-
fore, easy to understand, public support is higher than
in situations where there is a high level of complexity in
how the pr icing scheme will work.
• The public favors tolls if the alter native is taxes. When
given a binary choice, most people prefer tolling to
taxes. With toll revenues, the public is more assured of
“getting a fair share,” since revenues are generally gen-
erated and applied locally.
Delivering the Goods
The political nature of a community and its interest
groups can often shape the public debate on tolling and
road pr icing and tend to obscure the major ity opinion
on the issue. A very vocal minor ity can often transform
the complex subject of road pr icing into an object of
politicking.
Rather than stimulate discussion, the transformation of
pr icing into a political issue has in some places resulted
“When the
mechanics of
tolling or other
user fee programs
are simple to
understand,
public support is
higher”
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 38 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Following my rant in the las t is s ue of ETC, etc on the
hidden tolls impos ed by modern-day trolls on both
urban conges tion pricing and on motorway tolls my
thoughts have been s everal times drawn back to
traffic conges tion in general. Not the leas t of thos e
‘drawbacks ’ was welcome feedback from Wiebren
de Jonge from the Netherlands.
In a nice ‘tur n’ of phrase in his email he suggested that
I had“missed the r ight exit” from my motorway story. He
explained that metaphor by correctly pointing out that
my traffic safety argument against motorway tolls (more
fatalities overall because the toll diverts traffic to the
less safe infrastructure of secondar y roads) was too sim-
plistic. It can only be str ictly applied to situations in
which motorways are more expensive than other road-
ways and thus is not an argument against congestion
pr icing in general.
Following that idea led me to the thought that, sooner
or later, someone with a limited understanding of eco-
nomics (but much practical exper ience in politics) was
going to declare traffic congestion a ‘tragedy of the com-
mons’ (TOC) and thus amenable to ‘fixing’ through the
‘pr ice mechanism’. That led me back to a presentation I
made in RECYCLE ‘94 in Davos, Switzerland in which I
Tra f f i c c o n g e s t i o n , s u g g e s t s
AL GULLON, i s n o t t h e t ra g e d y
o f t h e c o m m o n s t h a t s o m e
m a k e i t o u t t o b e
Ro a d P ri c i n g Sp e c i a l
You don’t have
t o queue if you
don’t want t o
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
39 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
discussed the or igins of the concept of TOCs. In the
intervening years I have revisited the subject in var ious
presentations and the text box below now includes
‘acronymical’ advice to gover nments on the careful
extirpation of environmental TOCs (those acronyms
allude to the ticking of the Doomsday Clock so often
invoked by activists to encourage faster action on the
environmental front).
Having read that text box (admittedly it’s at the end of
the article, so I’ll forgive you if you haven’t yet) you can
now see that traffic congestion is not a TOC. The road-
way infrastructure is not “overused to the point of extinc-
tion”. It will still be there for tomor row’s commute.
Indeed having disappeared beneath a sea of vehicles it
will reappear in only a few hours. Moreover it is neither
a natural resource nor in limited supply since more lane
length could be added whether longitudinally or hor i-
zontally … or vertically!
Neither tragic nor common
The above shows that congestion is not a TOC but nei-
ther is it a case for “user pay”. In the lead-in to the previ-
ous rant I pointed out that it is a fundamental function of
gover nment to provide adequate (actually a small sur-
feit is better) transportation and communication (T&C)
infrastructure to facilitate economic development. The
welfare, economic and otherwise, of every citizen is so
intimately bound up in efficient T&C that anything less
than perfection (which is of course unattainable but
could be more closely approached with wiser gover n-
ments) detracts measureably from that welfare. The
sign, “Je roule pour vous.”, on the back of some trucks in
France is absolutely true.
The gover nmental responsibility for T&C thus imposed
includes a duty to recognize that, in an expanding econ-
omy/ population, traffic is only going to increase and
therefore roadway infrastructure must be built with an
eye for future demand, including using that infrastruc-
ture to ‘suggest’ directions for urban expansion. Thus
any restr iction of access to the present infrastructure,
including ramp meter ing and congestion charging, is
an attempt to cover up an error of omission with an error
of commission.
Before suggesting some alter nates to access restr ic-
tions it is perhaps useful to review br iefly the economic
concepts of the ‘pr ice mechanism’ and monopoly.
To economists the pr ice mechanism achieves an opti-
mum allocation of resources through, in a free market,
balancing supply and demand. An increase in demand
raises the pr ice and the pr ice increase encourages new
producers to enter the market … and the increased sup-
ply lowers the pr ice.
In stark contrast a monopoly is, like a TOC, a “market
failure” in that the pr ice mechanism is inoperative and
thus most gover nments have laws against monopolies,
e.g. the just-concluded EU case against Microsoft.
Although the provision of roadways is a ‘natural monop-
oly’ any gover nment operating a congestion charging
scheme is doing exactly the same thing as the much-
decr ied monopolist who takes the position that his prof-
its are maximized if he limits production and charges an
extortionate pr ice.
Alternatives to acces s res triction exis t!
The first is to recognize the huge impact that busses
have on traffic congestion. As an illustration I take you
back to Toronto in the late 1970s when I was head of
mobile sources emission control for Environment Can-
ada. When a bus dr iver str ike was announced I phoned
my Ontar io counter part to see if, rather than waiting for
the monthly repor t, he could get immediate access to
the air pollution monitor ing data so we could see how
much of an increase in automotive-related emissions
would result from the increased automobile traffic. To
our surpr ise automobile pollution went dramatically
down!
It tur ns out that each slow-moving, multi-stopping bus
has a congestion impact, and thus a pollution impact,
equal to 30 or 40 cars! Thus considerable congestion
relief can be had by re-arranging the allocation of exist-
ing laneways. In suburbia ‘bus only’ lanes can be desig-
nated for the two ‘rush hours’ each day. As the commuting
traffic approaches the urban core, buses can (usually)
be switched to alter nate routes designated as “Local
Traffic Only”.
Ro a d P ri c i n g Sp e c i a l

Ro a d P ri c i n g Sp e c i a l
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 40 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
No truck with India
Further to urban congestion I suggest something which
was used to good effect in both ancient Rome and mod-
er n-day New Delhi (my childrens’ suspicions aside I
have personal exper ience only with the latter): ban all
trucks from 07.00 to 19.00. Dur ing the visit to New Delhi
in 2000 (for an evening lecture/ discus-
sion on my research with SAE’s Nor ther n
India Section) I didn’t notice the absence
of trucks until I saw, and asked about,
large numbers in, mostly informal, park-
ing areas outside the city dur ing the day.
Trucks are not a large percentage of total
traffic but, like buses, each has a HUGE
congestion impact.
Although some extra pay for the night
shift may be necessar y I expect that dr iv-
er’s time would be cut by a third and fuel
consumption by half for the same tonnage delivered…
and there would certainly be a longer term benefit to
maintenance costs.
To mitigate congestion dur ing the two rush hours each
day, I would suggest that city author ities abandon ‘extor-
tionate pr icing’ in favour of helping the pr ivate sector
optimize ‘staggered hours’. City officials would try to
balance commuter traffic between suggested start
times of, say, 08.00 and 10.00, by maintaining a register
of start-of-day times for the larger corpo-
rations. Office efficiency might even get a
boost with two hours of inter nal ‘file main-
tenance and face time’, either before or
after ‘core hours’, which would be rela-
tively uninter rupted by client meetings.
In closing I should mention that the
latter two suggestions, alone or com-
bined, will br ing an environmental bonus.
Both the total daily emissions and maxi-
mum daily pollutant concentrations will
be greatly reduced. T H
Al Gullon can be contacted via email at al@alsaces.ca.
Visit his website, www.alsaces.ca
“Each slow-
moving, multi-
stopping bus has
a congestion and
pollution impact
equal to 30 to 40
cars”
Governments, the “Tragedy of the Commons” and a Ticking Clock
“ T he t r agedy o f t he co m m o ns” ( TO C ) i s o ne o f a sm al l num ber o f m ar ket fai l ur es r eco gni zed by eco no m i st s. In a TO C at l east o ne o f t he
fact o r s o f pr o duct i o n co st s no t hi ng o r ver y l i t t l e and t hus w i l l be o ver used t o t he po i nt o f ex t i nct i o n. In t he dr y, di spassi o nat e ( di sm al ?) l anguage
o f eco no m i st s, “ t he pr i ce m echani sm i s par t i al l y o r co m pl et el y i no per at i ve and t hus t he act i o ns o f eco no m i c agent s r esul t i n an al l o cat i o n o f
r eso ur ces w hi ch i s sub- o pt i m al .”
T he cl assi c ex am pl e i s o ne o f co w s o n t he co m m o ns. T he her dsm en i n t he l o cal vi l l age al l have fr ee access t o a co m m o n gr azi ng l and. M i l k
pr o duct i o n per co w r em ai ns st eady o ver t he year s, yi el di ng a pr o fit o f 10 per cent o ver t he co st s o f pr o duct i o n, as t he her d gr o w s t o t he
m ax i mum car r yi ng capaci t y o f t he co m m o ns. Beyo nd t hat capaci t y ho w ever t he addi t i o n o f a hal f- do zen ex t r a co w s causes bo t h a r educt i o n o f
avai l abl e feed and ex t r a effo r t by each co w so t hat m i l k pr o duct i o n fal l s by 2 per cent ( but , si nce co st s r em ai n t he sam e, pr o fit fal l s by 20%! ) .
W i t h no bet t er pl ace t o i nvest , t he i ndi vi dual her dsm an can st i l l m ake a so und i nvest m ent i n addi t i o nal co w s but hi s addi t i o nal i nco m e i s no w
co m i ng o ut o f t he po cket s o f hi s fel l o w her dsm en. M o r eo ver, t he nat ur al hum an r eact i o n t o a r educt i o n i n i nco m e i s t o w o r k har der, i .e. t o
i ncr ease hi s her d si ze!
By no w t he nat ur e o f t he “ t r agedy” sho ul d be cl ear t o t he r eader but no t necessar i l y t o t he i ndi vi dual her dsm an. W i t ho ut such a neat l y
m easur ed o ver vi ew he i s much m o r e l i kel y t o at t r i but e t he l o ss t o t he vagar i es o f w eat her o r t he age o f t he her d. In o r der t hat t hi s co ncept can
ser ve as a gui de t o pr o per go ver nm ent act i o n o ne must ex am i ne t he sem ant i cs m o r e cl o sel y. In spi t e o f bo t h t he l o vel y past o r al i m age cal l ed t o
m i nd by t he cl assi c ex am pl e and t he fact t hat i t so m et i m es r esul t s i n dam age t o t he envi r o nm ent , t he TO C i s no t an envi r o nm ent al t r agedy. It
w as r eco gni zed and nam ed at a po i nt i n hi st o r y w hen hum ans had no t yet har nessed suffici ent ener gy t o do i r r epar abl e dam age t o nat ur e and,
m o r e i m po r t ant t o o ur under st andi ng, w hen t he w o r d ‘ t r agedy’ had no t yet been banal i zed t o m ean any ver y sad o r di sast r o us event . A t t he
t i m e t he w o r d al l uded t o ‘ G r eek t r agedy’ , a t heat r e pl ay i n w hi ch t he cent r al per so nage i s i nex o r abl y i m pel l ed t o dest r uct i o n by a fat al flaw i n
hi s/ her char act er.
It i s t hus easy t o see t hat t he phr ase m i ght j um p qui ck l y and nat ur al l y t o t he m i nd o f an ear l y, cl assi cal l y educat ed, eco no m i st w ho suddenl y
under st o o d t hat any fact o r o f pr o duct i o n w hi ch co st no t hi ng w o ul d be o ver - used unt i l i t w as dest r o yed ... and w i t h i t t he t r ut h and beaut y o f
A dam Sm i t h’s ‘ i nvi si bl e hand’ . T he ‘ t r agedy o f t he co m m o ns’ w as, and r em ai ns, an eco no m i c ‘ G r eek t r agedy’ ... but o ne w hi ch o ft en l eaves
envi r o nm ent al t r agedi es ( cur r ent m eani ng) i n i t s w ake.
G o ver nm ent s and TO C s : Si nce r eso ur ce- r el at ed TO C s ar e caused by t he act i o ns o f a gr o up o n w hat t o t hem i s ‘ co m m o n’ pr o per t y t hey can
o nl y be so l ved by gr o up act i o n. In a dem o cr acy t hi s can o nl y m ean go ver nm ent act i o n. BU T, j ust because go ver nm ent must be t her e do esn’t
m ean t hat t hey w i l l do t he r i ght t hi ng w hen t hey ( final l y) ar r i ve at t he scene o f t he ‘ t r agedy’ no r, and per haps o f m o r e i m po r t ance, t hat t hey w i l l
ex i t t he scene o n cue, i .e. i m m edi at el y aft er t he TO C has been fix ed. [ M o st o ft en, as i n t he o ffsho r e fisher y, t hey ar r i ve t o o l at e and t hen hang
ar o und m eddl i ng w i t h t hi s’ n’t hat unt i l t hei r co nt r i but i o n i s ‘ net negat i ve’ – pun i nt ended.]
T he pr o bl em s po sed by po l l ut i o n can al so be fr ui t ful l y vi ew ed as TO C s A l t ho ugh hum an act i vi t y i m pact s t he envi r o nm ent m o st o bvi o usl y at
t he t w o ends o f t he chai n o f pr o duct i o n, i .e. r eso ur ce ex t r act i o n and w ast e di spo sal , i t i s t he l at t er w hi ch m o st o ft en car r i es no pr i ce t ag and
t hus gener at es t he m o st TO C s. N o w t he par t i cul ar at o m s, i n var i o us co m bi nat i o ns, w hi ch w e cal l ‘ po l l ut i o n’ i n o ur ai r, w at er s and l ands go t
t her e by a ver y co m pl ex r o ut e. It i s o nl y by det ai l ed st udy o f t hat r o ut e t hat t he m o st effici ent m eans o f deal i ng w i t h t hat po l l ut i o n can be fo und.
T her efo r e, as w e m o ve i nt o t he new m i l l enni um , t he co r r ect go ver nm ent act i o n w i t h r espect t o t he envi r o nm ent , w het her r eso ur ce
depl et i o n o r po l l ut i o n, can be sum m ed up as t he t i ck i ng o f a cl o ck : T LC , TO C , T LC – Tender Lo vi ng C ar e o f t hi s pl anet r equi r es co r r ect i ng
Tr agedi es O f t he C o m m o ns by m eans o f To t al Li fe C ycl e anal ysi s … and t hen ex i t i ng o n cue!
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Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
St unt ed
growt h
ITS a n d Te r ro ri s m
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 42 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Prevent at ive
measures
BRUCE ABERNETHY p re s e n t s a n u p d a t e o n i n t e l l i g e n t
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n s y s t e m s ’ ro l e i n t h e w a r o n t e r ro ri s m
Res earch s tatis tics indicate that the terroris t are not
from poor, impoveris hed families, but generally
from middle to upper clas s families.
According to Richard Miniter of the New York Times
and the Hudson Institute, (“Composition of the Enemy”),
about 60 per cent of the terror ists identified today
attended college and less than 15 per cent were from
poor families. About 70 per cent of them are marr ied.
Their education is pr imar ily scientific, medical or engi-
neer ing related; few major in liberal arts or even reli-
gion in college.
They become terror ists at the average age of 26.
According to Marc Sageman, a specialist in Terror ism
Research at the University of Pennsylvania, Individuals
are drawn into the grasp terror ist organizations after
they have left their home countr ies for study and work.
They “seek their own kind” and end up in “ghetto like”
areas of foreign countr ies where they are drawn to
“community religious centers” that teach radical
religious beliefs.
When you get down to the basics, terror ists are brain
washed by radicals, using religion as a clock for a politi-
cal objective to overthrow the democratic gover nment
and to replace it with a dictatorship that supports and
enforces control of radical religious doctr ines that takes
away most of an individual’s freedom. The world saw
this dur ing the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The major point is that the free world is dealing with an
intelligent, educated enemy. It is an enemy that was
perhaps educated through Socialism in European coun-
tr ies as well as the education grant funding awarded to
these emerging radicals on the basis of providing a
more diverse college student group.
As the free world develops strategies to deal with their
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
43 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
ITS a n d Te r r ro ri s m
acts, they will obviously adapt counter strategies. The
best solution is to eliminate centers for radical teach-
ings in the free world; however, they know that this is not
allowed in a free society and is a breech of free speech.
This article discusses alter natives from an ITS
perspective.
What to do in a free s ociety
Assuming that a free society cannot prevent the preach-
ing of radical religion and conversion of students to ter-
ror ism, then detection dur ing preparation for terror ist
acts must be the pr imary goal of the free world. We
recently saw the success of this in Germany with the
apprehension of a terror ist cell prepar ing for multiple
bombings.
Unfortunately, early detection requires intelligence
gather ing, constant surveillance of key targets, detec-
tion/ recognition of suspicious activity and providing
this information to counter-ter ror ism resources. Obvi-
ously, intelligence gather ing and surveillance impacts
public pr ivacy.
However, it is impor tant to note that
counter-ter ror ism activity is for the purpose of protect-
ing public safety and our freedom, rather than support-
ing their overthrow and the ultimate transition to a state
run by a group of fanatical people believing that society
should reverse itself by thousands of years, based on
radical religious doctr ines developed for the sake of
controlling society for the benefit of a religious sect.
ITS has cameras deployed along corr idors that sup-
port video surveillance. In addition, ITS initiatives
deploy CCTV cameras at special event sites (ball parks,
stadiums, concer t centers, race tracks, etc.) and at other
sites that are traffic generators. In addition, the public
transit element of ITS deploys CCTV cameras at transit
centers, transfer points and within transit vehicles to
support traveler safety.
The world saw the effectiveness of CCTV surveillance
within the transit system in London. Unfortunately, there
is inadequate deployment of automated image process-
ing equipment for the video to support detection/ rec-
ognition of suspicious acts and the London CCTV video
only became useful in identifying the terror ist post-
attack and was instrumental in their capture.
Emergency management
Emergency Management, Traffic, and Public Transit
Management functions of ITS are not currently highly
integrated. This is perhaps because Emergency Man-
agement receives its funding from the Department of
Justice and Department of Homeland Secur ity, rather
than through the Department of Transportation. Emer-
gency Management in many jur isdictions is deploying
CCTV cameras independently and is not consider ing
existing CCTV cameras deployed by Traffic and Public
Transit operations.
A jur isdiction should have a comprehensive video
surveillance plan that considers surveillance needs of
all operations and determines which video sources are
candidates for providing early war ning of terror ist
activities. It is this video that would be subject to auto-
mated analysis with the object of detecting suspicious
events or in support of continual intelligence data
gather ing on individuals known by the intelligence
community.
Terror ists, being smart, plan their attack. This requires
information gather ing by them. They need to know the
best place to attack innocent civilians in order to achieve
maximum kill and maximum economic impact. Their
objective is the success of their attack and avoidance of
any secur ity barr iers that would prevent their success.
Generally they utilize simultaneous, multiple attacks
and this requires more complex planning and
coordination.
They must acquire their attack weapons mater ials, the
easiest being conventional explosives. They must store
the attack weapons mater ials until they depart for their
attack.
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Security begins at home
The objective is to obviously apprehend the terror ist
pr ior to departing for the attack. Their intelligence
gather ing will have identified the weakness of secur ity
at an attack location, and thus when they depart; their
probability of success will be generally high. While it is
possible that a secur ity guard could detect the terror ist
dur ing the attack, rules of engagement in a free society
would prevent the guard from fir ing on the terror ist until
it is too late! Thus, early detection/ identification of sus-
picious activity dur ing the preparation phase of the
attack is cr itical.
Dur ing data collection of the attack, the terror ist will
visit candidate attack sites and gather information. They
ITS a n d Te r ro ri s m
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 44
Table 1: I T S Devices Applicable t o Suppor t ing Homeland Securit y
IT S Senso r o r O t her Fi el d D evi ce Pr e Ter r o r i st A t t ack Po st Ter r o r i st A t t ack
CCTV Sur veillance Suspicious Act ivit y Damage Assessment , Evacuat ion Rout e
Sur veillance,Assist ance in At t ack Area
Secur it y Sur veillance. Post At t ack
Assist ance in Ident ifying Ter ror ist
HAZ MAT Vehicle Tr anspor t ing HAZ MAT Possible Ident ificat ion of At t ack Agent
Det ect ion/Locat ion/Repor t Used
VIDS Suspicious Vehicle Act ivit y Evacuat ion Rout e Sur veillance and
Det ect ion/Locat ion/Repor t ing Congest ion St at ist ics/Evacuat ion Progress
Repor t ing
Vehicle Det ect ion Sensor s Det ect ion of Unaut hor ized Suppor t s in det er mining Evacuat ion
(Radar, Microwave, IR,Acoust ic, et c.) Vehicle Ent r y Rout e Congest ion and Speed (Evacuat ion
Progress).
RW IS Init ial Condit ions Weat her Condit ions Impact ing W MD
Plume Propagat ion Predict ion
Video License Plat e Reader s Det ect ion/Ident ificat ion/Locat ion Post At t ack Assist ance in Ident ifying
Repor t of Vehicle of Int erest by Homeland Ter ror ist Vehicle and Ident it y
Secur it y
Dynamic Message Sign Seek Cit izens Assist ance in Locat ing a Evacuat ion Messaging t o Cit izens on
Suspicious Vehicle Ident ified by DHS Cor r idor s
Rever sible Lane Signs N o Assist ance Allocat ion of Lanes t o Evacuat ion;
Closing Vehicle Access t o Areas
Elect ronic Pat hfinder Signs Special Rout ing for Special Event s in Suppor t Dynamic Est ablishment of Appropr iat e
of Enhanced Sur veillance Evacuat ion Rout es based on At t ack
Locat ions and Pluming
Tr affic Signal Cont roller s N o Assist ance Cent r al Cont rol of Evacuat ion Rout e
Signalizat ion
Commercial Vehicle Elect ronic Tag Possible Suppor t in Apprehending Illegal Ident ificat ion of Vehicles Aut hor ized t o
Reader s Tr anspor t of HAZ MAT Suppor t Evacuat ion
Public Wor ks and Police Vehicles wit h Possible Manual Sight ing of Suspicious Act ivit y Tr acking and Digit al Management of Vehicles
MDs and AVL and Repor t ing t o DHS Associat ed wit h Post At t ack Response and
Emer gency Evacuat ion
Police Vehicle Camer as Aut omat ic License Plat e Read/Check Local Video Suppor t ing Evacuat ion
Result ing Possible Det ect ion/Repor t ing of a At t ack Sit e Secur it y Management and
Vehicle of Int erest t o DHS Coordinat ion
Secur it y Sensor s Around Cr it ical Possible Ear ly Det ect ion of Suspicious Post At t ack Secur ing of Cr it ical Infr ast r uct ure
Tr anspor t at ion Infr ast r uct ure Act ivit y around Cr it ical Infr ast r uct ure
will most likely take photographs utilizing cell phones
and possibly draw sketches. They will obser ve loca-
tions of secur ity provisions and guards as well as the
patrol habits of the guards. It is dur ing this per iod that
they may be vulnerable for detection.
What ITS can do
ITS deploys automated barr iers for access to reversible
lanes, parking areas, and areas requir ing special access.
There are sensor available that can automatically detect
conventional explosives and nuclear mater ials utilized
in explosives.
When a terror ist deploys for an attack, most likely the
mater ials will be in a state that they are more readily
45 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
ITS a n d Te r ro ri s m
detectable. Even some chemical traces may be detect-
able at this time. By using automated detection devices
at controlled entrances to major centers, a terror ist
attack may be stoppable. The barr ier must prevent a
“crash through” and guards must be provided with
appropr iate rules of engagement to absolutely stop a
vehicle with detected weapons of mass destruction. If
detected, the terror ist will most likely detonate the
bomb at the detection point. This will not be in the best
interest of the health of the entrance guards but will most
likely save the lives of hundreds or thousands of people,
depending on the terror ist target.
The role of ITS in a terroris t attack
After a terror ist attack, Emergency Management will
respond. First responders will assess the extent of the
attack and identify needed, additional emergency
resources and area secur ity resources. ITS surveillance
video cameras can assist in this assessment. Traffic
Management resources of ITS will assist the Emergency
Operation Center in setting up and managing the appro-
pr iate evacuation route.
If the jur isdiction has a Construction and Maintenance
Management Center, it will coordinate with the EOC
and TMC in identifying corr idors where debr is must be
removed before the corr idor is usable. This may also
involve shutting off (or managing the shut off) of water
flow to broken water mains, gas flow on broken gas lines,
and electr icity for downed power lines.
The Emergency Management Center of the jur isdic-
tion will become a resource of the Emergency Opera-
tion Center supporting response to the emergency,
assessment of the attack weapon and attack site dan-
gers, and executing of the appropr iate procedures for
extinguishing fires, removing the injured, and control-
ling the safety and secur ity of the attack sites. Table 1
summar izes roles of ITS devices dur ing pre-attack and
post attack per iods.
Summary
We know that we have terror ist cells within our free soci-
ety. We know that they are in the process of planning
attacks of innocent, freedom-loving people. We must
consolidate all of our resources to assist in detecting
and identifying the individual terror ist before they initi-
ate their attack.
Free society allows apprehension action when posi-
tive evidence is available that they are planning to
destroy proper ty and kill people. Thus we should better
integrate all of our sensor and information processing
resources to assist in detection, identification, and loca-
tion of suspicious activity. Otherwise, we will be utiliz-
ing our ITS resources to support Emergency Response
and Emergency Evacuation. T H

Bruce Abernethy is President of Vector Alpha Systems
Inc. based in Allen, TX. He can be contacted by email at
b.abernethy@ieee.org
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
In Eu ro p e t h e n a m e Ga t s o i s a s s y n o n y m o u s w i t h s p e e d
c a m e ra s a s Ho o v e r i s w i t h v a c u u m c l e a n e rs . KEVIN BORRAS
m e t u p w i t h TIMO GATSONIDES, g ra n d s o n o f Ga t s o m e t e r’s
f o u n d e r, a s t h e CEO b ri n g s h i s Du t c h f i r m t o t h e US a h e a d o f i t s
5 0 t h a n n i v e rs a r y i n 2 0 0 8
Brand
republic
Bu s i n e s s Ma t t e rs
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 46 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
A few years ago the Britis h s atirical magazine
Private Eye ran an article about ‘mobile offices ’. The
journalis t, s omewhat lazily, cons is tenly and mis -
takenly referred to them throughout the piece as
‘Portakabins ’ - the brand name of Britain’s mos t
famous manufacturer of mobile offices. Amazingly,
des pite what amounted to thous ands
of pounds worth of free advertis ing,
Portakabin’s CEO wrote a letter of
complaint to the editor.
It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imag-
ine that if this had been an article about
speed cameras and the jour nalist had
referred to them as Gatsos, Timo Gatso-
nides, the CEO of Gatsometer, would be
rubbing his hands with glee and not
r ifling through his desk drawers to find his fountain
pen.
Gatsometer, which celebrates its half-century next
year, are based in Haarlem on the outskirts of Amster-
dam and until very recently have been pr imar ily focused
on, in Thinking Highways terms, Europe and the Rest of
“There are no
rigorous standards
for photo-
enforcement
technologies within
the US”
47 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Bu s i n e s s Ma t t e rs
the World and reticent about attempting to ‘break’ the
Nor th Amer ican market. However, a very br ief Google
search will tell you that GATSO USA is no longer a pair of
words that generates a question that begins “Did you
mean to search for....?” A clearly enthused Gatsonides
takes up the story.
“This is big for us! Until this year, we’d spent decades
basing our operation for the development and supply of
photo-enforcement technology from our headquarters
in the Netherlands, expanding our business throughout
the world by working alongside third-party distr ibu-
tors, agents and partners. That’s not changed but in the
US we felt the time had come to move up a gear.
“Our own facility, our own efforts, our own staff and our
own technology – but more than that, we’re not only sup-
plying the technology, but running the entire enforce-
ment program, too.”
This entails working closely with cities to provide an
end-to-end solution, from installing the cameras and
running the program to issuing the citations and educat-
ing the public about the success of the program. In other
words, from violation to citation.
“We incor porated the company at the end of the sum-
mer and have based ourselves in Massachusetts. We
have also opened two outpost offices in Ar izona and Illi-
nois. We’re very excited about our new company.”
Timing is. . . everything
The obvious question is “Why now?” Why wait for your
49th year of operation before, metaphor ically at least,
setting sail for Amer ica.
“There is a prolific growth of red-light-camera pro-
grams being seen throughout the US r ight now. Although
the US market is still in its infancy when compared to the
mature programs working around the world, the growth
per month is far outpacing all other markets and this
wasn’t happening until this last year. Now is the time. For
over 12 years, we’d been supplying our technology to
the US market through one of our third-party partners,
butt with the prolific growth we’ve been seeing, espe-
cially in smaller cities of less than 60,000 people, we felt
it was time to provide the US market with something
more than just another camera system.”
Time for another obvious question, then. What are you
providing the US with that it’s never had before?
“Put simply – stability and credibility.
You have to keep in mind that while the
US growth is rapid, it’s also happening
within a vacuum. As you know, there are
r igorous standards for photo-enforce-
ment technologies being used outside
of the US, but none exist within the US.
“Growth in the US market has often
been based on a company’s ability to
sell rather than a company’s ability to
provide court-proven, credible solutions. With virtually
no gover nment recognition, either on a state or federal
level; the competitive field in the US has grown from two
or three companies to six or seven. Competition is
always healthy, but when you’re working in law enforce-
ment technology, we think high standards in accuracy
Bu s i n e s s Ma t t e rs
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 48 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
kept the ‘camera never lies ethos in the world of photo-
enforcement. Well, as far as Gatsometer products go,
anyway.”
Although the GS11 was not developed pr imar ily for
the company’s US push, the ebullient Gatsonides is cer-
tain that it will go some way to enhancing the firm’s new,
TransAtlantic efforts.
“With so much new focus on new red-
light photo programs, the GS11 is going
to provide the kind of images that cities
will insist on. Listen, I spoke earlier about
the lack of technical approvals or stand-
ard in the US, but sometimes the dr ive for
better technology comes from the cus-
tomers and not the regulatory bodies. As
cities see programs becoming main-
stream, they’ll want to see technology
and especially images, in step. But it’s not
just images; it’s the dr iving factors behind
those images; such as accuracy of vehi-
cle detection, the certifiable measurement of true speed
and the manner and time in which the images are
encr ypted. It sounds bor ing to some perhaps but the
chain of evidence must sometimes be proven in court
and it’s these attr ibutes that make the difference in the
eyes of a judge, the press and the public. We’ve seen it
around the world time and time again, with a growth in
new programs being adopted by cities; there almost
inevitably lies a growth in contested tickets. As a city,
you’d better be sure you’re betting on the r ight horse
when you make those choices.
“We’re looking forward to celebrating that, not just
with champagne, but with early successes for GATSO
USA and of course, some exciting new product launches
from Gatsometer in Europe. Being 50 isn’t a time to stand
still and I can’t wait to see where we’ll be at the end of
another 50 years.” T H
and chain of evidence should come first. We believe that
the very strengths and successes that have dr iven our
company forward over these many years will be valua-
ble commodities at this exiting time.”
So, given this already tough, competitive landscape
what makes Gatsonides think his company can make a
significant mark?
“We’ve met the challenges of inter national standards
and we’re using those same techniques, products and
exper ience in the US. We’re coming into a very special
time for Gatsometer. Next year is going to be our 50th
anniversary in this business and whatever line of busi-
ness you’re in, to be doing it successfully for that long
shows that you’ve been treating your clients with a long
term commitment to improvement and not a shor t term
commitment to make the next month’s accounting sheet
look good.
“By using the very same technical solutions in the US
that we’ve passed approvals with in Europe, we’re br ing-
ing violation certainty and by combining that with 49
years of best practice exper ience, we’re br inging cred-
ibility. I can’t think of any city in the US, or anywhere else
in the world for that matter that would want anything
less.”
The Dutch are known for being the tallest Caucasian
nation on earth (the average Dutchman is nearly an inch
taller than the average Br it) and having worked with
many a Netherlands native over the last decade and a
bit, they are also, almost by default, a naturally confident
people. Gatsonides is over 6ft tall and certainly is not
lacking in confidence either.
“I am confident, yes. When you look at
three main indicators; growth market,
established company and strong tech-
nology credentials; I think we have a great
story to tell. We’re certainly changing the
way we do business in the US, but our
company mantra remains the same –
chain of evidence and established credi-
bility.”
Snaps hot
So what else is new in Gatsometer’s
world? As if a new, US company wasn’t
enough to occupy the firm’s time, they are also hugely
happy with their new product: the GS11 camera.
“The GS11 will be the camera that we’ll be carrying
across to all of our product sectors – red light enforce-
ment, fixed speed and mobile speed. The GS11 is more
than a camera though - it’s an imaging engine.”
I think I must have recoiled (albeit unintentionally) as
Gatsonides is quick to defend his new-found phrase
(that same day I had been for a consultation with my eye
surgeon and had heard, for the first time, my eyes
descr ibed as ‘individually functioning vision systems’).
“No, really, it is. I know that it sounds cor ny perhaps,
but with so much research and development effort
dr iven into the simple process of captur ing the clearest
of images in the widest spectrum of weather or light and
then encr ypting those images at the time of the viola-
tion; we believe the descr iptive title is warranted. We’ve
“This is a long
term commitment
to improvement,
not a short term
one to make the
next month’s
accounting sheet
look good”
Congest ion Pricing
Think Tank
McLean, VA
20 May 2008
www.h3bmedia.com
t h i n k i n g
h i g h w a y s
H B Medi a
3
For sponsorship det ails please
cont act Luis Hill on +44 208 254 9406
or luis@h3bmedia.com
OBJECTI VES
• Examining diverging viewpoint s and quest ioning basic principles of Congest ion
Pricing will const it ut e one of t he object ives of t his Think Tank, joint ly organised by
H3B Media and Booz Allen Hamilt on.
• Reviewing t he ways t he US administ rat ion can t ackle t his subject at t he nat ional,
st at e and local levels as well as analysing any polit ical impact s t hat such a t ransport
policy approach may incur will mark a second st ep of t he discussion.
• Speakers will t hen quest ion t he exist ence of any prevailing fact or ( polit ical, financial
and environment al) before assessing t he pot ent ial cont ribut ion of side- act ivit y
sect ors t o finding solut ions.
• Real- life success st ories will demonst rat e how mult i- facet ed t he debat e can be and
how it may modify significant ly t he consumers’ habit s for t he next decades.
• This first class event , held at Booz Allen Hamilt on’s McLean, Virginia conference
facilit ies, will gat her knowledgeable st akeholders act ing in t he indust rial, economic or
polit ical arena, all aware of what Congest ion Pricing embraces and poses as
challenges.
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
St unt ed
growt h
ALP R
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 50 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
If t h e f u t u re i s a s s u re d , w h a t f o r m w i l l i t t a k e ? BILL ADAWAY,
t h e m a n c re d i t e d w i t h s t a rt i n g t h e a u t o m a t i c l i c e n c e p l a t e
re c o g n i t i o n ( ALP R) i n d u s t r y, p u t s h i s v i s i o n i n t o w o rd s
Image
consult ant
It is well over 25 years s ince I developed the world’s
firs t automatic licence plate reader for the UK Home
Office in 1979.
Since that time CRS systems have been used for virtu-
ally every imaginable vehicle related application. Some
examples are congestion charging, toll violation
enforcement, average speed measurement, secure
access control, car park management, stolen vehicle
detection, detection of road tax evasion, border control,
or igin/ destination analysis, jour ney time measurement,
vehicle overweight detection and vehicle pollution
detection.
To be at the forefront of such a diverse range of appli-
cations requires a considerable investment in research
and development. This investment has helped CRS to
deliver many world firsts. Apart from the first ever ALPR
we developed the first pulsed infrared illuminator, the
first use of high resolution digital camera technology,
the first use of multiple ALPR algor ithms, the first use of
loop storage for imaging before and after an event and
the first delivery of vehicle make and colour
recognition.
The res t will follow
Other vendors have followed and now a significant mar-
ket exists which is growing all the time. It is hard to
imagine any developed country not requir ing ALPR for
some form of traffic monitor ing whether it is for secur ity,
efficiency, enforcement or revenue collection.
So what of the future? One question that is often posed
is whether there is a long term future for ALPR given the
possibility of electronic licence plates. The answer is an
emphatic ‘yes there will!’
Legislation currently requires all vehicles to have a
visible registration mark. I cannot see this changing. Its
purpose is to enable witnesses to identify vehicles for
cr ime detection. As there should always be more peo-
ple than ALPR cameras it seems unlikely that the option
for using human surveillance will be discarded however
unreliable it may be.
Fundamental technical improvements will mostly be
concer ned with imaging. This is the most difficult aspect
of ALPR and where most benefits can be obtained. Prob-
lems exist due to camera field of view restr ictions, poor
optics, licence plate mater ials, night time illumination
requirements and weather – particularly the Sun.
Camera field of view restr ictions ar ise from the need
to achieve a certain number of pixels across the charac-
ter stroke width. The problem is worst in countr ies like
Nor th Amer ica and the Middle East, where characters
can sometimes be thinner than elsewhere. In fact, read-
ing Arabic characters in the Middle East can be particu-
larly difficult due to similar ities between characters, the
non constant stroke width and the minuscule zero.
Camera fields of view will gradually improve over
time as larger and more sensitive sensors are devel-
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
51 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
oped. CRS first addressed this problem in 1997 when
we pioneered the use of high resolution digital cameras
in the USA. Our current high resolution digital cameras
guarantee a hor izontal field of view of over 20 feet for
high performance ALPR and can achieve over 30 feet in
many circumstances. Of course higher resolution sen-
sors require higher performance processors to cope
with the increased data flow. Fortunately there seems to
be no end in sight for increased processor power, par-
ticularly with the arr ival of useable mul-
tiprocessor architectures.
Poor optics continues to be a problem
if consumer grade lenses are used. This
is common at the low pr ice end of the
market and is a major source of dissat-
isfaction for many unsophisticated cus-
tomers. CRS avoids this segment of the
market and str ives to use the best optics
available. This is one of our major
strengths because we are also a world-
class optics design and manufactur ing
company. We are therefore perfectly placed to select
the best lenses to match the sensor if off-the-shelf com-
ponents are available to the required specification (focal
length, aperture etc). Alter natively we have the in-house
capability to design and manufacture the optimal lens
for any particular application should this be required.
Material witnes s
Licence plate mater ials vary greatly: some use a retro-
reflective background mater ial but many do not. In
many countr ies colour is an essential part of the identity.
Different mater ials will appear differently in any given
imaging system. Imaging systems must cope with these
var iations appropr iately. Laboratory investigations are
necessar y to identify precise spectral character istics
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 58
ALP R
and to allow the imaging system design to be optimised
for the highest percentage of vehicles passing at any
given site. It is not possible for a single imaging system
(illuminator, optics and sensor) to be optimal for all
licence plate mater ials and in the future multiple imag-
ing systems will be combined to provide the overall
best performance.
Providing the optimum night time illumination is a
research frontier. Many vendors seem to think that all
plates are retroreflective and have con-
centrated on providing pulsed infrared
illumination. This is a reasonable
approach in the UK, which after all was
the cradle of ALPR. However it is cer-
tainly not adequate in large parts of the
world. In any case pulsed infrared,
which must be low power for eye safe
reasons, cannot provide good quality
night time images of the whole vehicle
and occupants. Vehicles are not gener-
ally made from retroreflective mater ial!
Also all colour information would be lost.
Driven to dis traction
Visible illumination is required to determine colour, but
visible illumination mounted near the camera will pro-
vide unacceptable distraction to dr ivers except for rear
plate reading. Rear plate reading can overcome this
problem but rear plate reading will always deliver lower
performance than front plate reading and loses the
advantage of imaging the vehicle occupants – unfortu-
nately many USA vehicles do not have front plates.
Of course it is for legislators in each country to deter-
mine the acceptability or otherwise of imaging the vehi-
cle occupants. There is a balance to be struck here
between pr ivacy and secur ity/ safety but it does seem
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 52
“Visible
illumination
mounted near the
camera will provide
unacceptable
distraction to
drivers”
CRS Skyhawk
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
ALP R
that secur ity is winning in most countr ies at present.
Weather is a major source of problems. If it is snowing
heavily and all licence plates are completely obliter-
ated by snow then none of them will be read. Equally in
floods or very heavy rain a ‘wall’ of water may obscure
all licence plates and again none of them will be read.
However these are extreme situations. In most coun-
tr ies, most of the time it is the Sun that is the biggest
problem. If all ALPR was performed in tunnels with
garage forecour t quality of lighting then we could con-
sider the problem solved. After all Adaway’s first rule of
outdoor imaging has always been “hide from the Sun”.
Unfortunately this is not always possible and low sun
angles must be coped with.
A range of techniques exist. Siting the cameras to
avoid East-West is a good start if this can be achieved
within the application requirement. This minimises low
sun angle problems. Carefully designed active illumi-
nation systems can reduce the affects of sunlight in two
ways: Firstly, narrow pulse width illumination, synchro-
nised to the shutter open time of the camera, can reduce
the affects of the Sun by the ratio of shutter closed time
to shutter open time. Secondly, the use of filters to pass/
block specific wavelengths can be combined with arti-
ficial illumination to illuminate the licence plate in the
pass wavelengths. The disadvantage of these schemes
is that they reduce the imaging system to near mono-
chromatic, hence full colour information is lost.
Coping with the undesirable affects of the Sun is by far
the hardest of all of the imaging problems. At present no
single imaging system can overcome all the problems
and provide good quality clear colour images in all
outdoor conditions day and night. Increasingly we are
utilising multiple cameras with appropr iately comple-
mentary imaging arrangements if the ultimate perform-
ance is required in all conditions.
Image is everything
Finally we must not forget the ALPR algor ithms them-
selves. Of course it is always possible to make improve-
ments but our state of the art multiple algor ithms have
been continuously developed over 25 years and now
give near faultless performance given good images. In
addition to the imaging improvements referred to above
many other system improvements are now available.
Features such as remote access and control using ultra-
secure communications are becoming standard.
ALPR will become multi-functional with integrated
databases, digital video recording, make, model and
colour recognition all included. Use of solar power will
enable easier installation; high quality multi-focal optics
will allow systems to perform both ALPR and wide-area
surveillance. Beam steer ing optics, a CRS speciality,
will dramatically improve the ease and cost of camera
alignment.
In summary, ALPR will be needed for a very long time.
Applications are many and market demand is growing.
The future looks exciting with many technical chal-
lenges ahead and I expect CRS to continue to lead the
way. T H
Bill Adaway is Managing Director of CRS
53 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
St unt ed
growt h
Sm a rt Hi g h w a y s
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 54 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Perhaps living in Southern California is having an
effect on me. Lately, I’ve taken to flipping through
the fas hion magazines at the s upermarket checkout
as an alternative to my us ual perus al of the celebrity
gos s ip rags. I mean, inquiring minds need to know,
right?
If you believe the magazines, every season there’s
exciting new fashion, new looks to keep up with and
more money to be spent. However, as I lear ned at the
supermarket recently, “updating your wardrobe can be
as simple as buying a few new accessor ies.” Start with
your simple little black dress, add earr ings, necklace,
bracelets, belt, shoes, purse, wireless headset and voila
- haute couture!
This got me thinking that our simple “little black
asphalt highways” might need some accessor izing, as
well. Like, to keep them, like, moder n and updated?
Our little black as phalt highways
They are so elegant and functional. Interstates in the US
were built 50 years ago and they’re still in style! Millions
of vehicles still travel on them every day. But to keep up
with the times we may need to take a few cues from the
fashion industry.
The first of which is that it’s impor tant to invest in a
high-quality basic wardrobe. Look at the life cycle of a
highway, compared, say, to a car (10 to 15 years) or an
article of clothing (2 or 3 years) or a cell phone (6 months
to a year). Highways are built for the long haul. The
transportation industry designs for 30 to 50 year life
cycles, builds long-lasting pavement, creates br idges
that won’t fall down (with a few notable exceptions) and
constructs transit systems that can endure for centur ies
(the New York and London underground railway sys-
tems, for example).
We put a lot of effort into deliver ing highway facilities
that we expect to stand the test of time. The life cycles of
our highways are positively glacial compared to cars
and cell phones. There is no question that this longevity
is extremely desirable, but it does present us with a
design challenge with respect to incor porating
advanced transportation technologies.
Cars and cell phones have the shor t renewal cycle
advantage. If a new wireless technology or requirement
Gray is t he
new black
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
55 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Sm a rt Hi g h w a y s
emerges, the cell phone makers can incor porate it into
the next version. Car manufacturers introduce model
updates every year.
We don’t have that oppor tunity in highways. Despite a
huge push nationally and inter nationally for alter native
transportation solutions (transit, telecommuting, etc.),
the highway is here to stay. If we can’t
take them out, we might as well dress
them up.
A touch of bling
Accessor izing is actually not new to the
transportation industry. From the begin-
ning we’ve ador ned our highways with
signage and light standards, str iping and guardrails –
with the overall objective of making our highway sys-
tem safer and easier to travel.
As the highways have become more congested, we’ve
added more ‘bling’. Infrastructure plans and designs
are already being enhanced to incor porate ITS sensors
and embedded devices. We’re making great progress.
Already in the US today, just less than 40 per cent of free-
way miles have var iable message signs installed. Almost
a third have some form of electronic surveillance.
Embedded devices are those technologies that moni-
tor the movement and operations of a smart highway
and support the delivery of information back to the
traveler. A robust network of embedded devices is cr it-
ical because it provides the basic build-
ing blocks (in terms of accurate, current
and complete data) of information and
management for the operation of infra-
structure and traffic flow. Common
embedded devices include, for exam-
ple, dynamic message signs, moveable
barr iers, lane control signs, sensors
and CCTV.
And finally, telecommunications networks with a sup-
porting power gr id are how the information travels back
and forth between the embedded devices, the vehicles
and the operations centers. Most of these “accessor ies”
have been retrofitted on to existing highways. I guess
it’s a lot like those fashion makeover TV shows: “52 year
old dork becomes fashion icon over night!”
Do e s t h e In t e rs t a t e h i g h w a y n e t w o rk re a l l y n e e d t o
k e e p p a c e w i t h t h e l a t e s t t re n d s i n f a s h i o n ? BOB
Mc QUEEN s u g g e s t s s o m e t h i n g a p p ro a c h i n g a n
e x t re m e m a k e o v e r. . .
“The life cycles of
our highways are
positively glacial
compared to cars
and cell phones”
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
from the start!
Smart highways – involving close interaction between
vehicles and infrastructure – have always been at the
heart of intelligent transportation systems. A smart high-
way could be broadly defined as a coherent combina-
tion of asphalt, concrete, steel, telecommunications, and
information technology, carefully engineered to
support higher levels of safety, efficiency and effective-
ness. Vehicle-infrastructure interaction is where the
automobile communicates with the transportation
agency and vice-versa. This encompasses applications
as broad in range as vehicle crash-avoidance technolo-
gies, dynamic speed control to smooth traffic and trave-
ler information systems.
In the transportation industry, we have a strong focus
on programs (because they get funded) and projects
(because they get done). In reality, however, it’s the
All of the accessor ies we’ve installed on our highways
are making travel smoother and safer. But we in the
transportation industry might want to set our fashion
standards a bit higher – and consider today’s highway-
about-town to be well-dressed and sartor ially elegant
only if it’s decked out in the latest advanced technology
apparel.
It seems to me that as we consider the fashion world as
a thought model, then many of our existing highways
are, simply, naked. With the vast technological improve-
ments in our digital world, we now have the oppor tunity
to add some REAL bling!
Extreme makeover
I use the term “bling” loosely, because what our high-
way systems really need is an extreme makeover. For-
get accessor izing, we need to make our highways smart
Sm a rt Hi g h w a y s
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 56
services that are supported by the infrastructure – and
the devices that we deploy as part of our projects – that
produce the value and benefits that we all crave.
Perhaps it’s a good time to redefine our view of the
highway as more than just asphalt, concrete and steel.
It’s a service conduit too. Maybe we should start think-
ing about the range of services that dr ivers need for the
best possible travel exper ience and highest retur n on
investment in highways and vehicles.
Consider it like the “total shopping exper ience” in the
high-fashion world. The transportation industry would
offer several ways to pay for things, decision-quality
information on how best to use the highways and transit,
and guidance and instructions for safe use. The moder n
highway will have to support all of these new services –
as well as doing a superb job at the or iginal task of being
a r ight-of-way and thoroughfare.
Back to black
In the US we’re currently investing upwards of three per-
cent of our gross domestic product in our nation’s high-
way infrastructure. Widened roads and br idges, new
alignments, managed lanes, and rapid bus transit facili-
ties will make up some of the expenditures.
Wouldn’t it make sense to build our highways now so
that they, too, can be accessor ized with future techno-
logical breakthroughs? Is there more that we can do to
embed and integrate new technology as we plan, design,
and build new highways? Can we make them smarter
from the get-go and create an intr insic sense of style,
following the fashion metaphor?
Some leading automotive manufactures have noted
that if all highway str iping was made up of radar-reflec-
tive paint, then vehicles could be easily equipped to
recognize the road. This would represent a quantum
leap in our ability to realize our long-term vehicle-
infrastructure interaction goals.
Dutch inventors are working on a “Superbus” that can
travel at 150 miles per hour on relatively flat terrain.
Why not invest a bit more in leveling out those pesky
hills and humps in our roads – or design new highways
to be flatter and straighter – so that vehicles like the
Superbus can travel on them?
We even have the possibility of making the relatively
dumb asphalt, concrete and steel infrastructure smarter
by adding sensors that offer real-time monitor ing of
structural conditions and mater ial performance. There’s
a lot of discussion about motes or micro-sensors and
web-servers-on-a-chip. These sensors can let us know
when a structure might need repair, or, in the worst case,
when a structural collapse is imminent.
Imagine if every br idge and cr itical section of high-
way had its own web page, where it could post informa-
tion on how it’s doing – a MySpace for br idges and
highways. We could wire up our highways so that we’re
connected to them 24/ 7 and they can support a mean-
ingful dialogue with every vehicle running on them. We
could extend and expand the new information technol-
ogy supported services over time and space so that
every dr iver has the very best exper ience with respect
to safety, efficiency, and customer service support.
You can certainly argue that fashion is superficial and
transient. Today’s haute couture could be tomor row’s
fashion nightmare. However the kind of fashion that
we’re talking about here is intr insic and closely follows
the design pr inciple that “form should follow function.”
We need smart little highways. I suppose it just goes
to show you that brains prevail over beauty after all. Oh
well, back to the tabloids. T H
Bob McQueen, Senior Vice President &Senior Advisor
at PBS&J, is an internationally recognized expert in the
field of ITS, with more than 30 years of experience in the
field. His track record incorporates extensive experience
in conventional transportation planning and traffic
engineering with a steady migration towards specializ-
ing in applying information and communication tech-
nologies to transportation.
He has consulted in advanced technology for govern-
ment agencies in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Rim
and in the USA. He has published more than 30 articles
and two books and manages the MeTro Network of
international cities collaborating on advanced technolo-
gies for traffic management, travel information and
demand-, transit- and parking management.
Bob is currently serving as Senior Advisor to the San
Diego Association of Governments, providing expert
level consulting and advice on the application of
advanced technologies to transportation, the selection
and use of management solutions (ways to do things) for
transportation operations and the development of
innovative business models for technology operations.
Bob can be reached at 619-819-2788 or
bobmcqueen@pbsj.com
57 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Sm a rt Hi g h w a y s
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
St unt ed
growt h
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 58 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Idle t alk
Ge t t i n g e n v i ro n m e n t a l b e n e f i t s f ro m t ra f f i c m a n a g e m e n t
t e c h n o l o g y m e a n s p ro m o t i n g s m a rt s t ra t e g i e s a n d l o t s o f
i n t e g ra t i o n , a s AMY ZUCKERMAN, Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ No rt h
Am e ri c a n As s o c i a t e Ed i t o r d i s c o v e rs
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Wh e n DAVID SCHONBRUNN
re a d t h e Ap ri l /Ma y i s s u e o f
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s h e f e l t
c o m p e l l e d t o w ri t e a n a rt i c l e
o f f e ri n g h i s o w n v i e w s o n
t ra n s p o rt a t i o n ’s i m p a c t s
o n m a n d s o l u t i o n s f o r,
c l i m a t e c h a n g e
59 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
While the world argues over the bes t way to reduce
greenhous e gas emis s ions – that famed “carbon
footprint” – the traffic management indus try is
s lowly promoting technology and practices that can
help reduce the 30 or s o percent of greenhous e gas
emis s ions that are attributed to trans portation, par-
ticularly automobiles.
The experts all agree that reducing the idling that
comes from traffic congestion is a very general step in
mitigating the greenhouse gases that are considered
the cause of climate change. As Michael Replogle points
out, traffic management technology and practices that
only “squeeze more traffic” onto city streets and high-
ways, while not managing growth at the same time, may
be self-defeating.
Says Replogle, who is transportation director, environ-
mental defense, president and founder of the Institute
for Transportation and Development Policy, in Washing-
ton, D.C., “the key is to improve mobility while reducing
the environmental footpr int and managing growth at the
same time.” He urges transportation developers to pro-
mote “policies that push this key framework”.
“If all we do with smart technologies is speed up traf-
fic and make it more reliable to travel further and faster
by car and truck, which means we consume more travel
as a society, this will cause greenhouse gases to increase
as we build more highway capacity and push out more
sprawl,” he says. An alterative, according to Replogle, is
the sort of smart growth initiatives underway at the Port
of Long Beach, Califor nia, which is addressing ways to
reduce the environmental impact of growth.
“The port has talked about increasing container loads,
but in a way that reduces the environmental impact (of
the increased traffic this would create). They’re shifting
more of the port traffic from the road to rail, looking at
smarter, more efficient freight logistics and cleaning up
the technologies they use,” Replogle
explains.
Optimus maximus
Each region has to set its own pr ior ities
for reducing emissions and reducing
congestion and then design a course
that will be the most effective, while bal-
ancing approaches from promoting mass transit to
deploying traffic management technology. It’s how you
balance your program that will make the difference,
says Joyce Wenger, pr incipal at consulting firm Booz
Allen Hamilton in McLean,Va. For example, if you’re
encouraging transit r ider ship you may adjust signal
control algor ithms to permit bus pr ior ity even though
that may cause increased automobile stop-and-go traf-
fic.
It’s well known that vehicle speed correlates with
emissions, especially idling. But Replogle says new
research indicates that there is no one optimal speed as
lighter-weight mater ials and energy-efficient engines
make their way into new vehicle construction. He and
Wenger agree that it’s the mix of technology and adviso-
r ies to the public -- from signal timing to traffic sensors
to real-time traffic information feed - that can have a
major impact on emissions.
Axel Reissnecker, marketing manager for ITS and traf-
fic at Siemens Nor th Amer ica, who is based in Austin,
Texas, notes that most improvements made in traffic flow
also assist the environment. “If you make traffic move
more smoothly you automatically have a benefit,” he
says.
There are also correlations between speed, emissions
and safety, says Reissnecker, pointing out that many ITS
and telematics applications have been designed with
safety in mind, first. Smooth-r unning traffic that is the
hopeful by-product of proper signal timing not only
avoids accidents, but helps prevent the gawking and
traffic slowdowns that ensue when an accident occurs.
Again, there’s a dual benefit, says Reissnecker, of reduc-
ing emissions and reducing accidents.
Space doesn’t allow for cover ing the vast array of
technological developments that are in the works to mit-
igate congestion and increase mobility – all of which
can assist with mitigating greenhouse gases. In the
months to come Thinking Highways will be address
many of these technologies. Here are a few to consider.
Traffic tracking
At Quixote Corporation, a major developer of traffic
management tools based in Palmetto, Fla., president
Tim O’Leary says their mission is to “make the world a
safer place to travel. The reduction of emissions is para-
mount. We’re looking to reduce traffic because of the
cost of it, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
whether they’re caused by idling at a light or on a high-
way,” he says.
To that end, O’Leary says Quixote has introduced an
advanced traffic controller that allows urban traffic man-
agers to more efficiently synchronize
traffic throughout metropolitan inter-
sections. This is the sort of tool used to
create “green ways” where traffic sig-
nals can automatically adjust timing
based on traffic flow and density.
The new traffic controller boxes, which
house the computer and technology
required to manage signal timing, are now based on
Linux, open source operating systems, which O’Leary
explains allows for more flexible use of software appli-
cations. The boxes, which sit by intersections, also con-
nect to non-invasive traffic detectors mounted on poles.
Those utilize either lasers, videos or magnetic tools to
detect vehicles, rather than the older sensor loops that
require digging up the road surface at the intersection,
O’Leary explains.
The product is so new that only 2,000 units are now
deployed nationwide with another 6,000 slated for
release in 2008. Most are heading to New York and Chi-
cago, which are under taking major green initiatives, he
says.
Quixote also sells its Axle Light Counter Classifier™,
“It ’s well known
that vehicle speed
correlates with
emissions,
especially idling”
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
which is its brand name for an automatic data recorder
for developing highway traffic counts and sending alerts
to traffic managers to indicate whether the traffic is “slow
moving, free flow or at complete stoppage.” O’Leary
says the units shoot a laser beam across the highway at
different intervals. “When your front tire breaks the first
beam of light and then the back tire breaks it at the other
end, which is about a four-foot section -- the automatic
data recorder will calculate traffic speed based the time
elapsed (between breaks) and be able to determine
how traffic is flowing.”
Advanced navigation and data integration
Rick Schuman, vice president for the public sector at
INRIX, a transportation data integration company based
in Kirkland, Wash., is working hard to develop a var iety
of ways to get maximum benefit from the vast amount of
data now being generated from traffic tracking devices
so it can be more effectively analyzed and utilized by
traffic managers and dr ivers.
Schuman says the time is fast approaching when vehi-
cles with embedded navigation equipment will be able
to receive tur n-by-tur n voice directions or real-time
traffic advisor ies while en route, which
could play a major role in reducing traf-
fic congestion. Of course, that’s presum-
ing the directions are accurate – not
always the case - and the travel advice
offered motor ists considers the most
environmentally sensitive route, as is
now practice in Japan.
“We’re at the early stages of under-
standing the optimization of traffic flow
as it’s affected by weather or geography
and what impact that has on the environment and eco-
nomics. There are so many factors to consider when
optimizing traffic flow. Our role is to provide the data
and information that will allow professionals and dr iv-
ers to avoid congestion. We’re at the nexus of creating
the regional optimum for flow, pr ice, emissions, and so
on,” says Schuman, who doesn’t foresee a time when
there will be “zero emissions from transportation. But
the point is that with energy use r ising, we can help with
the environmental impact.”
Mind the gap
Right now, he says there’s a “gap that needs to be pulled
together between the disparate data emerging from
individual vehicles and from different (gover nment or
municipal) agencies.” Part of the challenge is determin-
ing what is anecdotal information versus data from a city
or state agency.
“We’re putting this all together to create a picture of
traffic conditions in real-time, using advanced modeling
and forecast techniques.” Added to this mix, says Schu-
man, are weather conditions, special events that are
date-specific like a festival and geography, among other
factors, to “create a picture of how traffic will be on one
day, a week or even a year.”
INRIX is one of many players, including the United
States Department of Transportation (DOT) and trans-
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 58
portation related organizations, concer ned with improv-
ing the flow of real-time traffic information. According to
Siemens’ Reissnecker, a new standard for the advanced
traffic controller devices is close to being published.
When available to manufacturers, the hope is that the
standard will help create uniform, interoperable equip-
ment, laying the groundwork for information on traffic
flow to be relayed nationally in real-time.
All of which is very impor tant to reducing congestion
and reducing greenhouse gases, says Reissnecker, who
considers the integration of different traffic systems
“very important. We want to give travelers the informa-
tion they need to make the r ight choices, especially in
major urban centers where they have public transporta-
tion alter natives.”
Networked vehicles
And embedding standardized communication technol-
ogy in vehicles is another long-term DOT goal, requir-
ing the buy-in from major auto and truck manufacturers.
Louis Brown, Gover nment Technical Affairs Manager for
Volkswagen of Amer ica, Inc., says that as a member of
the national Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) Con-
sortium, VW is conducting research
with vehicles equipped with devices
that can utilize the 5.9-GHz Dedicated
Short-Range Communication (DSRC)
protocol, a wireless communication
protocol dedicated solely to automotive
applications.
Some of the DSRC-based applica-
tions, such as real-time traffic incident
updates, can help dr ivers avoid bottle-
necks and reduce dr ive time spent
idling. Coupled with “owner-optional” features such as
GPS mapping, DSRC technology could also help dr ivers
choose optimal routes to dodge trouble down the road,
Brown says.
The VII program’s communications network, if
deployed, will allow a vehicle owner to opt into a service
that provides vehicle diagnostic information in real time
to the vehicle manufacturer or maintenance provider.
This will allow improved diagnostics of vehicle perform-
ance and, possibly, remote repair or upgrades of soft-
ware in the vehicle, all of which could contr ibute to
improved performance as well as lower emissions.
Brown notes that DSRC’s multiple safety and mobility
applications, including intersection safety, vehicle
probe data, car-to-car information shar ing, location-
based point-of-interest information retr ieval, etc., would
also be adaptable to mass-transit and commercial vehi-
cles such as buses and trucks. . T H
Mike Replogle and Joyce Wenger (and Congressman
John Olver) are among the speakers at the H3B Media/
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Think Tank
“Climate Change: Transportation’s Impacts and
Solutions” taking place at UMass’s Mullins Sports
Center on 29 and 30 May 2008.
Visit www.h3bmedia.com/ networx/ climate.cfm
for more information
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 60
“There’s a gap
between the
disparate data
emerging from
individual vehicles
and from different
agencies”
VI I Deployment
Workshop
McLean, VA
21 May 2008
in associat ion wit h
www.h3bmedia.com
t h i n k i n g
h i g h w a y s
H B Medi a
3
For sponsorship det ails please
cont act Luis Hill on +44 208 254 9406
or luis@h3bmedia.com
“Completing the picture...”
Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s ’ f i n a n c i a l a n a l y s t MARGARET
P ETTIT l o o k s a t t h e Eu ro p e a n Te r ri t o ri a l
Co o p e ra t i o n P ro g ra m m e a n d f i n d s t h a t l i k e w i t h
a n y o t h e r m a jo r p ro g ra m m e , i t ’s a m a t t e r o f
p ri o ri t i e s
St unt ed
growt h
Cl i m a t e Ch a n g e
In April, 1991, the Canada Revenue Agency (National
Capital Region, Ottawa, Ontario) embarked upon
an innovative program known as Cus toms 2000.
To handle a growing influx of inter national travelers
enter ing from the United States, Customs 2000 repre-
sented a bluepr int for streamlining and enhancing
operations. By establishing methods which distin-
guished low- versus high-r isk traffic and expediting
movement of the low-r isk group, Canada hoped to dra-
matically improve border management and control
functions.
With the goal of minimal disruption to existing proce-
dures, while augmenting safety and secur ity, the project
capitalized on one of the border official’s directives: to
watch every vehicle passing into Canada and look for
specific license plates. Such a tedious job often tr ig-
gered bottlenecks, slowing inbound traffic and causing
long waits to get through inspection stations. Of equally
great concer n was a potentially hazardous situation cre-
ated for personnel who had to divert attention from the
vehicle and its occupants while examining each plate
and noting its contents.
The benefits of computer izing, and thereby automat-
ing, entry and matching of license plates, were increased
safety for officers as well as better accuracy and pro-
ductivity. Freed from the burden of performing duties
manually, inspectors were able to concentrate fuller
awareness on an approaching automobile and dr iver,
allowing maximum time to react to any threatening situ-
ation. Automatic license plate recognition (LPR) systems
LEE J NELSON, i n h i s f i rs t Th i n k i n g Hi g h w a y s a s s i g n m e n t ,
l o o k s a t t h e p a s t , p re s e n t a n d f u t u re f o r Au t o m a t i c
Li c e n c e P l a t e Re c o g n t i i o n Sy s t e m s
63
ALP R
(fur nished by Perceptics, LLC, Knoxville, Tennessee)
entered data faster and more consistently than humans.
The technology was not subject to fatigue, illness or dis-
traction. As a result, inspectors spent fewer moments
with each traveler, saving precious seconds and reduc-
ing congestion.
Ready on the North
Fast-forward 17 years. Now, more than ever, safety is a
pr ior ity alongside preparedness to deal with terror ists,
drug traffickers and other cr iminals. Seeking to expand
and moder nize the technology, the Canada Revenue
Agency - together with the Canada Border Services
Agency (Ottawa) - again tur ned to Perceptics. As part of
a broader nationwide effort, the Integrated Pr imary
Inspection Line Program is outfitting additional inbound
lanes with license plate readers. The new equipment
will capture rear plates, compress and store those
images, extract and repor t alphanumer ics - including
stacked characters commonly found on commercial
plates - plus the issuing province or state and instantly
display all that information for the Border Services
officer. Dr ivers with a record of lawful travel will be per-
mitted to pass through quickly; those of concer n may be
detained for secondar y inspection and subsequent
clearance. That determination will be made by realtime
quer ies to numerous databases (see below) which are
invaluable to secur ing Canada’s borders.
Perceptics president, John Dalton, told Thinking
Highways his company “...is pleased to be the preferred
T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4
Plat e
t ect onics
w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
vendor in the ongoing quest to equip frontline officers at
the border with state-of-the-art equipment and technol-
ogy.” The LPR systems are easy-to-use and endow
author ized users with quick access to reliable and ver i-
fiable information. “That helps to keep inter national
borders secure in their crucial role as impor tant gate-
ways for tour ism and commercial trade.”
Ready on the South
Customs and Border Protection (CBP; Washington, DC),
a component of the Department of Homeland Secur ity,
under takes to defend United States’ borders against
entry of terror ists and terror ist weapons, illegal aliens,
narcotics and other threats, while expediting passage
for legitimate trade and travelers.
Installation of LPR systems at the US/ Mexico border
began in 1998 when the US Congress allocated funds to
CBP (then the Customs Service and the Immigration and
Naturalization Service). That appropr iation followed a
successful pilot project on Interstate-5 (San Diego Free-
way) at San Ysidro, Califor nia where 24
nor thbound and seven southbound
lanes were fur nished with plate read-
ers. To date, 355 inbound and 52 out-
bound lanes across 65 ports-of-entry
(in Ar izona, Califor nia, New Mexico
and Texas) have been outfitted with
LPR.
Equipment approaching the end of its
useful life cycle, nearly constant release
of new plate designs and fonts as well as more compre-
hensive communications and networking requirements,
prompted a call for replacement systems. Last May, CBP
circulated a competitive solicitation for up to 770 units
which could read and transmit license plate data (includ-
ing the issuing jur isdiction) on all types of vehicular
traffic.
In late August, CBP announced award of a contract to
Perceptics. Of paramount impor t was the ability to have
“accurate, automated realtime quer ies of license plate
information”.
Online res ources
As with most border monitor ing organizations, CBP
employs a layered enforcement strategy. The approach
is under pinned, in part, by a complex of domestic and
inter national law enforcement databases (which the
author was able to research independently through
publicly accessible means). Interfacing automatically
to those assets enables officials to focus more com-
pletely on the task at hand, detecting and targeting any
possible secur ity and safety hazards.
The Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) is
maintained at the Customs Service Data Center (New-
ington, Virginia). As a sophisticated information man-
agement platform, IBIS archives data from more than
two dozen federal agencies. Its major sub-units are the:
• Consular Lookout and Support System - containing
statistics on foreign nationals who are ineligible for
visas; whose visa applications require US Department of
State intervention before issuance; and, those who might
ALP R
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 64
be disallowed a visa in event they request one.
• National Automated Immigration Lookout System -
indexing records of individuals who may be excludable
from the US.
• Treasury Enforcement Communication System -
consisting of persons who could be denied admission
or whose entry should be noted and watched by author-
ities. In addition, it generates stolen-passpor t lookout
advisor ies.
Through IBIS, inspectors also have limited access to
the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Cr ime
Information Center (Clarksburg, West Virginia) to tap
into files on foreign fugitives, gangs, terror ist organiza-
tions and previously depor ted felons. And, users can
interact with state-level databases via the National Law
Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS;
Phoenix, Ar izona). IBIS terminals are able to retr ieve
records on wanted persons; stolen vehicles, vessels or
firearms; license information; cr iminal histor ies and
pr ior CBP inspections.
A license plate’s alphanumer ics and
its jur isdiction are transmitted from the
crossing point to IBIS. There, checks are
performed against the var ious data-
bases. If a match is found, an alarm is
raised within seconds after initial plate
reading. The system also alerts officials
to a stolen automobile or a wanted
felon, a fugitive or an armed and dan-
gerous cr iminal associated with the
vehicle.
One shor tcoming, however, is the absence of a stand-
ard which defines the style and content of files exchanged
through NLETS. When law enforcement personnel in
one location request information on a dr iver whose
records are located elsewhere, the response contains
state-specific elements, formats and definitions. Requi-
sitioners must contend with 51 different data sets.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Insti-
tute of Justice, both agencies of the US Department of
Justice (Washington, DC), working with the Amer ican
Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (Arlington,
Virginia), developed a uniform format for dr iver and
motor vehicle records - based on the Global Justice XML
Data Model - for transmission over NLETS.
Their standardized approach built upon the Federal
Motor Carr ier Safety Administration’s (Washington, DC)
Commercial Dr iver’s License Information System and
the Problem Dr iver Pointer System, used to search the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (Wash-
ington, DC) National Dr iver Register. Today, the resource
effectively bolsters interoperability, arming users with
accurate and up-to-date data to augment law enforce-
ment and cr iminal justice agency efficiency, public
safety and national secur ity.
The Automated Commercial Environment, under aus-
pices of CBP, also is being moder nized to facilitate legit-
imate trade while further strengthening border secur ity.
Officers clear trucks and shipments using an electronic
manifest which identifies pre-author ized vehicles by
license plate, VIN (vehicle identification number) and
“If a match is
found, an alarm is
raised within
seconds after initial
plate reading”
conveyance type. Presently deployed at ninety-eight
ports-of-entry across fourteen states, CBP anticipates
the Environment will extend to over 350 entry-points
along the US/ Canada border by 2010.
The Law Enforcement Support Center (Williston, Ver-
mont), administered by the US Department of Immigra-
tion and Customs Enforcement (Washington, DC),
provides immigration status, identity information and
realtime assistance to local, state and federal agencies
on aliens suspected, arrested or convicted of cr iminal
activity. Operators can retr ieve files maintained by
Homeland Secur ity via the Immigration Alien Query
function within the National Cr ime Information Center
network.
Background check
Expedited processing of pre-approved, low-r isk travel-
ers is afforded by the Secure Electronic Network for
Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI; Washington, DC).
Applicants voluntar ily undergo a thorough background
screening against cr iminal, law enforcement, customs,
immigration and terror ist indices; a fingerpr int check;
and, a personal interview with a CBP officer. Once
inducted, candidates are issued a card which confirms
SENTRI status. The program also includes a decal for
applicants’ vehicles. SENTRI enrollees can utilize dedi-
cated commuter lanes from Mexico into the US in Ar i-
zona, Califor nia and Texas.
The Canada Border Services Agency relies on tech-
nology, information shar ing, r isk analysis and biomet-
r ics. Keeping trade open is essential to ensur ing
Canada’s financial prosper ity. And, it is equally cr itical
to protect against potential dangers to health, secur ity
and economy which the Agency does with the:
• Immigration Intelligence Network - involved in plan-
ning, collecting, analyzing and distr ibuting decision-
cr itical information. The Network mitigates threats to
Canada’s immigration, visitor, refugee and citizenship
efforts. It also promotes interaction throughout the
national law enforcement arena.
• Immigration Task Force - a collaboration of twenty-
three members, working to apprehend high-r isk
migrant fugitives through alliances, teamwork and inter-
operability.
• Integrated Border Enforcement Team - a multi-fac-
eted initiative which dispenses repor ts among local and
provincial agencies on issues of national secur ity, organ-
ized cr ime and other cr iminality attempting to transit
the Canada/ US border.
• National Risk Assessment Centre - collects, analyzes
and shares news to help detect and prevent movement
of high-r isk persons and goods into the country. The
Centre exchanges data within the intelligence commu-
nity at inter national, national and regional levels to pro-
tect Canadians against current and emerging threats.
Canadian Police Information Centre (Ottawa, Ontar io)
provides all enforcement activities with statistics on fel-
onies and offenders. It has four data banks: investiga-
tive, identification, intelligence and ancillary and
includes stolen vehicles, validation tags and license
plates and cars that are abandoned or for which there
are outstanding warrants.
Cr iminal Intelligence Service Canada (Ottawa,
Ontar io) facilitates timely production and handling of
information among affiliates. It aims to reduce cr ime
through dissemination of strategic products, leadership
ALP R
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 66 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
ALP R
67 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4
and expertise. The Central Bureau takes its direction
from an Executive Committee compr ised of twenty
Chiefs of Police and Commanding Officers from the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Further, the Central
Bureau hosts the Automated Cr iminal Intelligence Infor-
mation System (ACIIS), Canada’s national data ware-
house through which all member agencies cooperate in
collecting, collating, evaluating, analyzing and dissemi-
nating fundamental details.
Interpol (Lyon, France) maintains the world’s largest
file of known terror ists and the only global depot of lost,
forged and counterfeited passports. The I-24/ 7 commu-
nications system connects police operations in 186 sub-
scr iber nations and grants access to a storehouse of
names, fingerpr int and DNA profiles and stolen prop-
erty including motor vehicles and works of art. Secre-
tary General Ronald Noble instituted the Automated
Search Facility-Stolen Motor Vehicle catalog to abet the
fight against theft and inter national trafficking of vehi-
cles. The system currently holds nearly four million
records, many contr ibuted from members’ national sto-
len vehicle databases.
The National Police Services of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police (Ottawa, Ontar io) develop scientific
and identification methodologies and cr ime fighting
tools. Their Cr iminal Intelligence Service, compr ised of
a central bureau, 10 provincial offices and 380 agencies,
preser ves and manages the ACIIS.
The Canada Border Services Agency, Canada Reve-
nue Agency and US Customs and Border Protection,
among others, clearly embrace LPR as an essential ele-
ment in the anti-terror ism armamentar ium. By consen-
sus, they define an accurate plate read as one for which
all alphanumer ic characters plus the province/ state of
or igin are properly identified. An “error” is construed
as a missing or incor rect character str ing or an errone-
ous or absent jur isdictional code.
Perceptics’ systems demonstrate particular effective-
ness in repor ting the issuing state/ province; an onerous
task because the complete name isn’t always visible on
the plate. Even when the name is present, it’s usually not
possible to read it automatically.
By processing and analyzing license plate images,
Perceptics is able to determine jur isdictions with 95 per
cent accuracy. That capability is cr itical to the success of
any border application and - according to Dalton - is
unmatched in the industry, not withstanding compara-
ble claims from other suppliers of LPR systems. T H
The author acknowledges valuable assistance from
Karl Hunter, Technical Director, Blue Max Canada
(Surrey, British Columbia).
Independent analyst and Thinking Highways Contrib-
uting Editor, Lee J. Nelson, is at the forefront of high-
performance electronic imaging applications for the
transportation industry. Contact him at: +1-703-893-0744,
lnelson@rcn.com or www.garlic.com/ biz
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Is this the end of a wild party? I’m worried. Six dec-
ades of s uburbanization have left North America in
poor s hape to adapt to the end of the era of cheap oil.
Our society has literally built itself into a cul-de-sac,
from which egress will be painful. The practice of
single-use zoning has resulted in dispersed land uses
that are only accessible by dr iving. As gas pr ices go
higher and higher, the split-level home with the white
picket fence will fall off the economic cliff, as people are
unable to get from their distant homes to work.
The public has no idea how bad things are going to
get. Not understanding that the fossil fuel era is a br ief
aberration in human history, they naively believe that
the future will look a lot like the present. As a result, the
actions needed for the gradual transformation of the
economy into a sustainable one
1
are not happening.
That’s because there is no political leadership. No
one, with the possible exceptions of Al Gore and Jimmy
Carter before him, is willing to be the bearer of bad
news. Voters don’t want to hear that their comfortable
lifestyles are coming to an end. Looming unpleasant
realities are much more likely to be met by massive
denial than by political solutions. I’m afraid that, in the
absence of strong interventions to reshape fundamental
forces in our society, things are bound to get ugly.
How did we get here? The introduction of s uburban-
ization was a tremendous break with the his tory of
human civilization. Transport in earlier societies was
David
Schonbrunn
P re s i d e n t o f t h e Tra n s p o rt a t i o n So l u t i o n s De f e n s e a n d
Ed u c a t i o n Fu n d ( TRANSDEF) , Sa n Ra f a e l , Ca l i f o r n i a
Th e Th o u g h t P ro c e s s
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 68 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
dependent on walking or on animal power. Homes and
shops clustered into villages and cities because access
was achieved largely by proximity. The industr ial revo-
lution brought mass transit, which allowed the expan-
sion of settlement patter ns, but kept it all connected as a
network. That all changed with the advent of fossil fuel-
powered personal vehicles. They became inexpensive
enough to become the dominant form of transport. The
automobile enabled the society to jettison the discipline
of the interconnected transit network.
The car drove the cancerous expansion of land devel-
opment that we now call sprawl
2
. This enabled a much
lower density of housing, which, coupled with the prac-
tice of separating housing from shopping and from work
(single-use zoning), now makes participation in moder n
life dependent on large amounts of energy for transport.
This is why our society is about to exper ience a very
rough r ide.
In June of 2004, National Geographic ran a cover
s tory ‘The End of Cheap Oil.’ “In our lifetime, we will
have to deal with a peak in the supply of cheap oil” said-
Boston University economist Rober t Kaufmann. “That
peak will be a watershed moment.”
3
The profound impli-
cations of this moment have not been grasped by the
public, or by their elected officials.
The public expects the future to be like the past few
generations, unaware that Nor th Amer icans have just
exper ienced the longest and most extravagant party in
human history. Those expectations form cultural values
“What ITS can do is
support policy objectives
and improve knowledge,
information and
management”
69 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s Vol 2 No 4 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
that are extremely resistant to change, especially when
manipulated by economic powerhouses like auto man-
ufacturers, land speculators, and the oil companies.
Continued denial is likely, followed by an eventual eco-
nomic collapse.
As gas prices inevitably ris e, the firs t to fall will be
the far s uburbs, whos e res idents commute an hour
or more. The cost of a single-occupant commute will
become overwhelming, forcing the development of car
pools, van pools and bus charters. Because of the dis-
persion of work locations, this will necessar ily result in
reduced commute convenience and longer travel times
as shared travel modes stop at multiple destinations.
(This mode shift should, however, reduce highway con-
gestion.) As the full cost of transportation becomes evi-
dent, distant suburbs will no longer seem so affordable.
Higher density urban living, closer to work, will become
more economically competitive. The realities of sustain-
ability will start to emerge.
There is time to redirect our res ources into prepar-
ing for the challenges of the future. But that would
require a fundamental realignment of our cultural
expectations. The political system would have to be
dramatically reformed, subjugating the power of the
fossil fuel and auto industr ies. It would be like putting
society on a war footing, equivalent in scope to the mobi-
lization of Amer ican society after the invasion of Pearl
Harbor. Everything changed, then. Enormous changes
are needed now if Nor th Amer icans are to avoid the
harsh consequences of peak oil and climate change.
Acting later, when the economy is already greatly
stressed, will be far less effective.
Incentives and regulations are needed to push new
development into transit-or iented villages and cities. A
shift in funding away from highways is needed to create
a sustainable transit network, including High Speed Rail.
Carbon taxes are needed to align consumers with the
new world of higher cost energy we are enter ing.
Are we likely to s ee thes e changes ? They s ure don’t
s eem likely to me. Are we likely to see a giant shift
away from sprawl to Smart Growth? Probably not. On a
continent that has not invested in convenient alter na-
tives to the auto, many people will be left without ade-
quate transport. I don’t think we will change soon
enough to prevent the great suffer ing that is the fate of
having built an unsustainable society. Buckle up - it’s
going to be a bumpy r ide. T H
1 David Schonbrunn, “View from Another Planet,”
Thinking Highways, Sept/ Oct 2007, pp. 34-37.
2 Sprawl: a pattern of development comprised of housing
subdivisions, shopping centers and office parks for which
a personal vehicle is the only practical access.
3 Page 88. For a compelling recent update, see Lester
Brown, “Is World Oil Production Peaking?”
www.earthpolicy.org/ Updates/ 2007/ Update67.htm
Th e Th o u g h t P ro c e s s
Vol 2 No 4 T h i n k i n g H i g h w a y s 70 w w w. h 3 b m e d i a . c o m
Interview by Kevin Borras
“Enormous changes are
needed now if North
Americans are to avoid the
harsh consequences of
peak oil and climate
change”


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Int er nat i o nal Ro ad D ynam i cs ...............41
Jupi t er Syst em s ........................................02
O SI Laser scan .............. i nsi de fr o nt co ver
PBS& J .........................................................21
RedSpeed Int er nat i o nal .........................09
Sam ar i t ani a ................. o ut si de back co ver
Tr anspo Q ui p 08 ......................................21
Tr anspo r t at i o n Inno vat i o ns ..................88
Tr ansur ban ...............................................07
T RM I ..........................................................67
Vi t r o ni c .....................................................45
For more informat ion on advert isers in t his issue of
T h in k in g H ig h w a y s
go t o www.h3bmedia.com and click on
READER ENQUIRIES
Advert isers’ I ndex
D avi n O pt r o ni cs .....................................57
G at so m et er .............................................25
H 3B M edi a/ Bo o z A l l en H am i l t o n
C o ngest i o n Pr i ci ng T hi nk Tank ...........49
H 3B M edi a/ O m ni A i r VII D epl o ym ent
W o r k sho p ...............................................61
H 3B M edi a/ U M ass C l i m at e C hange
T hi nk Tank ..............................................71
H 3B M edi a Tr ansPo r t al ..........................88
IFS ................................... i nsi de back co ver
Im age Sensi ng Syst em s ...........................05
Cr ea t i n g Sol u t i on s Th r ou gh I n n ova t i on
Transportation Innovations, Inc. is a consor-
tium of professionals in the toll and ITS industry
whose mission is embedded in our name, Innova-
tion. Available skill sets include marketing strat-
egy, ETC, toll operations, ITS applications,
concession/public-private partnerships and
acquisition/merger assistance.
We have provided corporate strategic planning
services, marketing plans and corporate affilia-
tion services for a range of private enterprises
and we have assisted several public agencies with
consulting services.
Contact us at trans.innov@gmail.com or call us
at 407-366-1096
Communication Products
Part of GE Security
Now, a single source for all your
ITS Signal Communication Solutions.
• Broad range compatibility with all manufacturers
• Signal transmission products for any application
• Legendary reliability and world class support
• Free transmission requirement design assistance
• Lifetime Product Warranty
-Traffic Signalization -Traffic Monitoring
-Toll Plaza Vehicle Enforcement -CCTV Surveillance
- IFS Fiber Optic Audio Video and Data Transmission Products
- Orion™ Fiber Optic Transmission Systems for Large Scale Applications
- CopperLine™ Video over UTP and EtherNav™ Ethernet Switch Products
Turn to IFS products from GE as the single source
solution for all your transmission challenges.
16 Commerce Road • Newtown, CT 06470 USA
For immediate information call: 800-824-5990, ext. 180
Tel: +1 203 426-1180 • Fax: +1 203 426-3326
E-mail: ifssales@ge.com • Design Center: 1-888-999-9IFS
Or visit www.ifs.com and enter your request.
With offices in US, Mexico, UK and Asia
CARE, COMPASSION
AND CONCERN ON
THE FREEWAY
Some of the differences between Samaritania Incorporated’s service patrol programs and others:
01 Our patrol vehicle operators have state and
national public safety certifications.
02 We provide a complete turnkey program at
not cost to motorists.
03 Provide Internet based Fleet Management
Systems.
04 Provide public safety grade AVL/GPS incident
recording/reporting systems.
05 Personnel, vehicles, equipment, AVL/GPS,
patrol dispatch centers, and public relation
programs.
06 The most experienced provider. Over
27 years providing service patrol
programs throughout the U.S.
07 Provide the widest variety of quick
clearance, motorist, and public safety
assistance.
08 Provide a variety of different custom service
patrol vehicles with and without tow
capabilities.
09 Endorsed by Departments of Transportation
and State Governments.
10 Endorsed by State Police, Fire/Rescue,
and other public safety agencies.
11 National award winning programs.
12 Consistent media recognition.
13 Rural, remote area, and urban program
applications.
14 All program service costs included in
single patrol hourly billing rate.
15 Operators adhere to detailed conduct
policies
16 Standard Operation Procedure
Development
17 Local office and project management
18 Provide Complete Indemnification and
hold harmless agreements.
19 Provide audited financial resources.
20 Operators have perfect no-fault safety
records. Zero fatalities.
21 Private Sector funding available to
offset costs.
Samaritania Incorporated,
10 Riverside Drive, Lakeville, MA 02347, USA
Tel: +1-508-947-3700
Fax: +1-508-947-5544
www.freewayservicepatrol.com
info@freewayservicepatrol.com

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