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Transportation and society

In America we are embarking on a new era in transportation. Having spent 35 years designing and implementing the Interstate Highway System, we are now building the foundation for what our transportation system will be for the next thirty or forty years. A major focus of this new undertaking is what is referred to as Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, sometimes referred to as "Smart Cars/Smart Highways." It entails the application of communications and other technologies to the transportation system, so that vehicles will be communicating with the highways (and vice versa) and with each other. In addition to increasing the efficiency and capacity of the existing transportation system, ITS holds the promise of increasing safety, in part by detecting driver impairment prior to a collision. Driver impairment may result from use of alcohol or other drugs or may be the result of age, illness, fatigue, or other conditions. However, thus far most of the ITS planning, designing, implementation, and funding is focused on technology, with market forces providing the primary motivating force.