NWA accelerates investment intelligent Transportation System
The National Works Agency is building out an Intelligent Transportation System which is intended to reduce travel time and save fuel.

The National Works Agency (NWA) in information released in October indicates that it is making "steady progress in its ongoing programme to realise an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)".

The agency's 2014-2015 annual report, which was tabled in the house of Parliament in the first week of October 2022, said that some $29 million was spent in the continued building out of the ITS.

The funding covered the addition of 11,200 meters of fibre optic and wireless broadband cables to the network during the period, enabling the remote, real-time and intelligent monitoring, control and management of traffic at some intersections, "thereby enabling us to do more with less," the NWA report stated.

The Jamaica Observer requested a progress report updated to 2022, but no response was received. On its website, the agency says JITS "is a revolutionary way to monitor and manage all road networks in Jamaica which is the first of its kind in the island. To make things short, the system revolves around using information technology to connect all road networks along with real-time feeds of all road conditions."

Susan A Shaheen and Rachel Finson, in the Encyclopedia of Energy, outlines that the ITS technologies include state-of-the-art wireless, electronic, and automated technologies.

Collectively, they outlined, "these technologies have the potential to integrate vehicles [transit, trucks, and personal vehicles], system users, and infrastructure roads and transit". Automated and in-vehicle technologies include precision docking for buses, automated guideways, and collision avoidance systems.

The authors note that many ITS technologies can "help to optimise trips [route guidance], diminish unnecessary miles travelled, increase other mode use, reduce time spent in congestion, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and improve air quality."

It is noted that when ITS technologies are applied to system management (transit and highways) and vehicle design, they can reduce fuel consumption by facilitating optimal route planning and timing; smoothing accelerations/decelerations and stop-and-go driving; reducing congestion; enabling pricing and demand management strategies; increasing the attractiveness of public transportation mode use; adjusting vehicle transmission for varying road conditions and terrain; and facilitating small platoons of closely spaced vehicles (ie, safer vehicles could enable weight reduction without compromising occupant safety).

Although ITS technologies are still in the early phase of deployment, the writers state that many have shown the potential to reduce energy use. During the past 10 years or so, fuel consumption impacts of ITS technologies have been studied.

The NWA, in its delayed annual report, said that it is also preparing to commence the implementation of another tranche of major road improvement works under the successive US$352.9-million Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), following the conclusion of JDIP.

This, it was noted, represents a significant loan agreement with the China Export Import Bank and continued partnership with the Government of China and contractor China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Both minor and major infrastructural works will be done under MIDP, including some parochial roads and will see the improvement of 431 kilometres of roadway and works being done on the reconstruction or installation of 27 bridges across the island.

The MIDP included the redesign and improvement of the Marcus Garvey Drive, Barbican Roadway and Mandela Highway which all fell under major works.

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