There are five of the leading applications:
The goal of pre-trip travel information is to provide travellers with information about the status of the transport network before they begin their trip. The information provided can be limited to road or multimodal transport – and can include:
In the early years of ITS, travellers were able to access this information at home or work (via a computer or a telephone system) and at places generating traffic (for example, a shopping mall – via a touch-screen kiosk). Nowadays, with the proliferation of smart phones and mobile devices connected to the internet, travellers can access travel information anytime, anywhere. More advanced versions of these systems can provide users with predictive travel conditions, as well as help with trip planning. (See Pre-trip Information)
En-Route driver information is aimed at providing drivers with travel-related information after they start their trip – during the journey. Traditionally, this has been achieved by means of Variable Message Signs (VMS), radio broadcasts and Highway Advisory Radio (HAR). More recently with the widespread introduction of smart phones and mobile devices – and with the interest in developing Connected Vehicles – more effective means are available to provide travel information and to personalise it for the traveller specific to the journey and locations.
The development of Connected Vehicles that will be able to communicate with the infrastructure as well as with other vehicles, will allow greater opportunity for the delivery of advisory and warning messages to drivers (for example, warning motorists of unsafe conditions such as sharp curves, wet pavements, icy conditions – and alerting motorists if they exceed the safe speed limit and alerting drivers to unsafe weather conditions.) (See En-route Information and Driver Support)
The widespread use of GPS navigation devices provides drivers with detailed turn-by-turn instructions on how to get to their destinations. These directions traditionally relied on static information – for example historic travel times for different road segments, held in a navigation database. More sophisticated guidance systems are dynamic – with directions responding to changing traffic conditions based on real-time information about traffic speeds and incident locations. The digital maps that support these device need to be kept up-to-date – for example, by downloading updates on new road links and traffic restrictions.
Route guidance is now widely available through in-vehicle systems, portable devices and smartphone handsets. The benefits include reduced travel delays arising from navigational errors and lower stress levels for drivers, especially when driving in an unfamiliar area. Problems can arise for local communities when a product – intended for the general motorist – is used by drivers of large or heavy vehicles and the recommended route is a road unsuitable for those vehicles. (See Navigation and Positioning)
Ride-matching and reservation is aimed at encouraging carpooling by providing real-time matching of the preferences and demands of users with providers – and by serving as a clearinghouse for financial transactions. A traveller can call a service centre and provide it with information about the desired trip origin, destination, and time. In return, the traveller will receive feedback on a number of ridesharing options from which to choose. (See Ride Sharing / Matching)
Traveller service information is intended to provide travellers with “yellow-pages” information. This may include information on the location of services such as food, lodging, gas stations, hospitals, police stations – as well as information on the location of points of tourist attractions. Examples of these applications are already included in many GPS navigation devices and smart phone apps. (See Location Based Services)