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Frontier (FHWA Demonstration and Evaluation of ITS on the Rural Highway Environment)

Started: October, 1998 Ended: June, 2004 Project ID #429674 Status: Completed


To prove successful transfer or application of advanced ITS technologies in rural two-lane highway environments through small-scale deployment and evaluation.


The 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) promoted research, demonstration and implementation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology. To date, projects have primarily focused on applications of this technology in metropolitan environments to address problems such as congestion, mobility and incident management. Even efforts designated as "rural" were instituted on multi-lane, high-volume, Interstate highways connecting major urban areas.The nation’s "real" rural highway system (two-lane highways) – which comprises over 80 percent of road mileage in the U.S. and accounts for approximately 40 percent of all vehicle-miles traveled each year – has largely been ignored with respect to ITS. This is true despite the fact that 61 percent of all fatal accidents occur on rural roads. An unproven assumption has been made that urban ITS applications are directly transferable to the rural highway environment to meet rural traveler needs. Unfortunately, little work has been conducted in rural areas to adequately dispute this assumption.The primary objective of this research effort is to prove that advanced technologies can be successfully transferred to rural environments. The obvious approach in this proof is to deploy, on a small scale, appropriate ITS technologies in rural areas and document the resulting benefits. This information, when shared with other rural areas, can help to encourage or "sell" the implementation of ITS to benefit rural travelers.Secondary objectives of this project are to (1) encourage multi-state communication, cooperation, and coordination, (2) improve efficiency by reducing the tendency to "reinvent the wheel" from state to state and (3) advance the state-of-the-practice in rural ITS with "regional" deployment.


Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Sponsor

Part of: Safety and Operations

Project Tagged In: ITS, Rural Transportation

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