Have you Heard of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)?

Webcams, changeable message signs, weather stations, counter-flow lanes…. Any idea what these things have in common?

If you guessed that they’re all Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) …nice! We’re also willing to bet you work in the transportation field, because the truth is, it’s not something that gets a lot of attention these days. Until now.


So, what is ITS you ask? It’s the application of advanced and emerging technologies (computers, electronic sensors and communication devices) in transportation to save lives, time, money and energy, and to protect the environment.

And in doing so, we’re also looking to enhance the province’s livability and economic prosperity. Sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Yup, but it also sounds a little vague. Let’s take a look at some examples and discover what it really means.

Our webcams are an obvious place to start. When you’re able to find out real-time information about the routes you want to travel, you’re better informed about what you may encounter, and you can plan your trip accordingly. Knowing what’s ahead, drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents by being unprepared, and that helps to keep roads open and traffic moving.

Smart changeable message signs serve the same purpose, and when they’re connected directly to a weather station, they can let drivers know instantly whether they need to be concerned about pooling water or icy roads.

ATISCounterflow lanes along the Lions Gate Bridge and George Massey Tunnel are other examples of ITS. At certain times of day, they let vehicles use lanes that would otherwise be reserved for oncoming traffic. They’re useful when the majority of traffic is heading in one direction, and they make the most of existing roadway.

And we’ve got lots of other ITS examples. There are special LED signs for road safety and wildlife warnings. There’s the Advanced Traveller Information System that can tell you about traffic backups and wait times for the Lions Gate Bridge as well as our border crossings. There’s Weigh-in-Motion technology, which lets commercial drivers keep moving while being weighed, reducing travel costs and pollution at the same time.

We have a lot more to talk about with ITS, and you can look forward to learning more about it in future posts. In the meantime, leave us a comment below and let us know, have you ever heard of ITS before? Are there any ITS stories you’d like to hear about?

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5 Responses to Have you Heard of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)?

  1. Bernard Yuan on March 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm


    Thank you for the article introducing ITS. I am a university student who studies Computer Science. And I am very interested in the intelligent system which manages a city’s traffic. I live in Burnaby now. Is it possible connecting me with some control centers, if there is any, in my city so that I could see how ITS is applied to real life for real world problems. I would appreciate it if I could get contacted to ITS control centers around my city and professionals working there.


    • tranbceditor on March 3, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Bernard. Always good to hear from someone interested in ITS. I’m working on connecting you with someone. Keep you posted.

      • Bernard Yuan on March 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

        Thanks! Please keep me updated for any progress.

  2. Mehran Jamshidi on November 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for your information about ITS. I have 13 years of experience in road transportation management and some years in ITS. I was the provincial manager for the road management center in Iran which was in charge of all ITS subsystems such as VMS’s, VSL’s, CCTV’s, Traffic meters, Lane Control, Your Speed and Speed limit signs and also some hybrid systems to calculate the Travel time and Traffic rush hours prediction.
    Now I ham in Vancouver as a permanent resident. Could you please do me a favor and let me know how I can find a job in the ITS or Road Management field.

    Best Regards,
    Mehran Jamshidi

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