National Center for Rural Road Safety
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Rural Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Toolkit


Technology is rapidly advancing, changing how people recreate, communicate, and travel. Automobile crashes are the fourth leading cause of death for people between the ages of 35 and 44(1). In rural areas, the number of annual fatalities is disproportionately higher than in urban areas. Rural road safety is critical for both rural and urban residents, because even as people move to more urbanized areas, they are still drawn to rural areas for vacations and recreation. As a result, intelligent transportation systems can help to address safety and localized congestion that is experienced in a rural context, particularly in areas where traditionally expensive infrastructure modifications are not feasible due to fiscal constraints.

In 1997, the original Rural Intelligent Transportation System Toolkit was developed by Science Applications International Corporation, Western Transportation Institute, Transcore, and Castle Rock Consultants as a resource for state and local transportation agencies. As technologies have advanced, new ITS tools have been introduced and others have been revised or retired.


The 2018 Rural Intelligent Transportation System Toolkit is an update and expansion of the previous effort in order to update its relevance and usefulness for transportation practitioners. In 2022, the links in the 2018 version were updated, but no additional ITS strategies were added. It is a series of 42 rural transportation critical need fact sheets (pdf files) that can be found below, categorized by topic. Additionally, the following resources are also provided:

  • ITS Toolkit Primer – The Primer provides more information about the background of the toolkit, the intended audience, and how to utilize the toolkit to it’s fullest extent.
  • ITS Toolkit Summary Table – This table provides a “snapshot” view of the available tools.
  • ITS Toolkit Acronym List – This resource defines all of the acronyms, that can be found throughout the fact sheets, in one easy to find location.
  • Embedded Links and References Supplement – This supplemental document provides the long form of the hyperlinks used in the individual fact sheets, as well as, the references sited in the implementation and cost sections.

Click on a title to reveal associated tools.

Tools that monitor weather conditions on the transportation network and mitigate weather related impacts.

For more information see FHWA’s Road Weather Management Webpage

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