Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
A guide for practitioners!

You are here

Myths and Reality

Challenges relating to ITS deployments vary considerably from country to country. There are several common misunderstandings about deploying ITS in developing economies that need to be dispelled.

Myth 1: Too Expensive


ITS is expensive to deploy and maintain. Only developed countries can afford to deploy ITS. Emerging economies that are struggling to provide adequate infrastructure to meet mobility demand are not able to afford the costs associated with ITS.


ITS can provide cost effective solutions to the problem of growing demands – and long-term sustainable solutions to the traffic and travel problems experienced in developed and emerging economies.

For emerging economies, with scarce resources to dedicate to building new highway capacity, ITS solutions can increase the efficiency of existing capacity. Many ITS applications deployed in developing economies have proven that the benefits outweigh the overall costs of implementation. (See ITS Benefits)

Myth 2: Too Difficult

Myth 2: Intelligent Transport Systems are difficult to implement

ITS implementation requires sophisticated technologies. Emerging economies have to depend on developed countries for technologies and expertise for any ITS deployment.


ITS can be implemented in tandem with traditional transport infrastructure projects so they complement each other – or as an independent project which is an alternative to traditional solutions. With ITS know-how and planning, these projects can be easily mainstreamed in a regional transport investment programme. ITS applications that currently exist in developing countries include network monitoring, adaptive signal control, and traffic rerouting. Smartphone applications enable crowd-sourcing of real-time information on traffic status. Augmenting conventional transport infrastructure with ITS applications has been successful in easing mobility problems in many emerging economies. (See Deployment Strategies and Priority Projects)

Myth 3: Replaces Traditional Transport Infrastructure

Myth 3: Intelligent Transport Systems can BE USED TO replace TRADITIONAL TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

Surface transportation investments will not be necessary when ITS becomes mainstream. ITS will be the dominant transportation infrastructure – ultimately lessening the need for any other transport infrastructure.


ITS is an integral part of a modern transport system. ITS can be deployed alongside existing transport infrastructure, efficiently and effectively. ITS helps solve mobility problems step-by-step, in a sustainable manner. Decision makers in emerging economies are aware that ITS applications cannot solve all their mobility problems instantly. A phased implementation strategy requires systematic planning by public agencies – for example, by developing an ITS architecture that will support future system integration between existing and new systems. This needs to be combined with a regulatory regime that encourages development by commercial (“added-value”) service providers. (See Strategic Planning)

Myth 4: Planning and Evaulation – Not Important

Myth 4: Planning and Evaluation are not important for ITS projects

ITS planning is a waste of time and resources. The need for ITS is always immediate – so there is no need to spend additional time on planning an ITS deployment.


Sustainable solutions to mobility problems through ITS require comprehensive planning and organisational capability at national and regional levels. ITS planning can include developing and maintaining an ITS architecture which supports system integration and expansion. ITS evaluation helps assess whether an ITS plan is on track to meet programme objectives – and what actions are necessary to meet the objectives of the ITS plan. ITS requires careful planning and evaluation to support future expandability, interoperability and system integration. (See Project Appraisal)

Reference sources

No reference sources found.