An Insight Into a Better Future: Iteris’ Ramin Massoumi

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With the ITS America Annual Meeting now just weeks away, we spoke to some key players in the space to understand their interpretation of this year’s overarching theme – A Better Future Transformed by Intelligent Mobility, Safer. Greener. Smarter.

Since the event is being held in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., we also dig into some of the conference program highlights, namely the “seamless mobility around the movement of people, data and freight and how innovative business models can flourish in the new age of mobility.”

Ginny Acosta and John Lower, ITSDC2019 Communications Committee members, asked several ITS America leaders about their thoughts on emerging tech and data.

Board of Directors member Ramin Massoumi, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Iteris, Inc; provided his thoughts.

The overarching theme at this year’s ITS America Annual Meeting will no doubt serve to reinforce the safety and sustainability-focused initiatives that many attendees spend time developing solutions for, as well as inspire them to find new and even more innovative ways to improve our nation’s transportation networks.

With the death toll on our roadways climbing to an average of over 100 per day, we are constantly reminded of the importance of initiatives surrounding the movement of people, data and freight. Which is why, in my responses, I’d like to use a few examples of why these three elements, in reality, are inseparable.

Connected workzones and mobile assets

The first example I’d like to share regarding solutions to help move people, data and freight is the use of connected vehicle technology in the context of workzones and mobile assets on the roadway. Anyone who has driven through any snow state will be familiar with the cloud of snow that emanates from a working snow plow, and will likely slow down and keep their distance. But if you’re not familiar with this practice, you might assume it’s just a gust of snow. This assumption has led to dozens of rear-end collisions involving cars and snow plows, and there are no prizes for guessing which vehicle comes out on top.

The same issue applies with attenuator trucks used in highway workzone environments. Drivers who don’t notice these vehicles can endanger themselves and the construction crew bravely driving them. But there is a simple solution for both of these cases. By installing onboard, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) or vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) devices in these mobile assets, they can send out a signal to approaching cars’ mobile app or onboard systems warning them to slow down. With the technology already available today, this is more than achievable, and is yet another example of using connected vehicle technology to help improve the safety and mobility of people and data.

Commercial vehicle operations

A second example is the role commercial vehicle operations can play in making a significant difference to the way companies move freight around the country. It can positively impact the people moving the freight, agencies responsible for infrastructure and safety, and regulators governing safety operations. Data ties these many disparate elements together.

The reality is that only 1% of trucks on our roadways are being inspected. This harrowing reality is a product of several factors. In some cases, this might be because a particular route doesn’t have a weigh station, doesn’t have a working weigh station, or has a weigh station but doesn’t have the technology to conduct accurate inspections efficiently.  In other cases, it could be that resources are so constrained that increasing the enforcement rate is just not possible. Whatever the reason for this figure, as innovators, we need to find solutions. The good news is that by taking advantage of connected vehicle technology, there’s a fighting chance of raising that figure in a short period of time.

To achieve success and increase inspection rates, commercial vehicles operators must equip vehicles with advanced in-cabin V2X transponders. Transmitted data received by sensors and mainline technology can be used to automate screening by sending vehicle identifiers to nearby enforcement equipment that leverages software to complete an inspection with minimal, if any, officer intervention. Incorporating regional enforcement data can increase the value of this automation by incorporating permits and weight enforcement activities. This requires forward movement to further connect commercial vehicles to infrastructure.

Implementing these measures and effectively utilizing the data collected will ensure that trucks that are in good standing can keep operating with no interruptions – resulting in on-time deliveries and satisfactory hours-of-service performance. In addition, commercial vehicles at risk of violating safety standards will be quickly identified and the risk mitigated in advance of an incident, which even further improves goods movement. 

By avoiding collisions and other incidents, several key stakeholders in transportation will realize immediate benefit. Shippers will have more on-time deliveries and less liability. Carriers will have more time on the road, increasing their already thin margins. Neighboring motorists will have safer, more efficient mobility. The industry is readily equipped with the tools to realize these benefits – all driven by data.

I look forward to discussing these applications and how we can work together to further improve mobility and safety along our roads at the ITS America Annual Meeting.

Views expressed in the ITSDC2019 Annual Meeting Blog do not necessarily reflect the policy or opinion of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and should not be interpreted as official association statements.

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