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:
Tools that focus on reducing crash frequency and severity.
Tools that expand, enhance, and coordinate public transportation.
Tools that monitor weather conditions on the transportation network and mitigate weather related impacts.
For more information see FHWA’s Road Weather Management Webpage
Tools that facilitate the identification of congestion and the management of traffic.
Tools that expand or enhance dissemination about travel conditions and tourism opportunities in the surrounding region.