The question is whether all the pieces will be brought together to work harmoniously and produce the automated, intelligent vehicles and highway transit control systems the NAHSC is considering.
ITS on any kind of large scale is not going to occur unless Congress backs a program like the NAHSC's.
The ITS simulation and NAHSC test photographs are courtesy of the NAHSC.
- Excerpted from the NAHSC
website at web1.volpe.dot.gov/nahsc/.
AHS can reduce congestion and increase mobility in several ways, but primarily, by being able to safely reduce the distance between vehicles, AHS "can double or triple the capacity of our roadways at today's legal speeds and make trips faster and trip times more reliable by avoiding the backups due to stop-and-go traffic and congestion," said Jim Rillings, former NAHSC program manager.(1) Congestion is another leading factor in automobile crashes; so, reducing congestion will also have safety advantages.
NAHSC's "deployment roadmap" predicts an end of operational testing about 2010.
For all of its success, the demonstration, showing a range of technologies, was just an intermediate objective of NAHSC. The consortium is about one-third of the way into a seven-year program to develop a prototype automated highway system.
"Of course, the technical content has to be there, but educating our stakeholders is also a big part of the success of the demo," says Terry Quinlan, NAHSC test and demonstration manager.
With the summer demonstration, the NAHSC program plan will have achieved its the first major milestone and will have set the stage for an AHS prototype.
The NAHSC participants are working together to show the world what the future of highway travel might be.
A contract team from Mitretek supports FHWA in its NAHSC work.
They receive regular information and updates from the project, are invited to AHS workshops and forums, serve on ad hoc task forces, and are eligible to represent their particular stakeholder category on the NAHSC Program Management Oversight Committee.