Focus on Traffic Management Systems
Panel Discussion: Innovations in Traffic Management and Implementation of Technologies Across Modes: the Importance of Satellite Navigation and Digital Communications for NextGen, ITS, Positive Train Control, and Vessel Traffic Management
Participants at this session represented four modal administrations and included technical experts with hands-on experience in developing traffic management systems
Dr. Robert Bertini, Deputy Administrator, RITA and Acting Director, Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) ITS Joint Program Office, moderated the session. Panel members described the development histories and identified the characteristics, key trends, challenges and opportunities related to traffic management systems. Panel members included:
- Craig Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC)
- Ahmad Usmani, System Wide Information Management (SWIM) Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- Karen Van Dyke, Principal Technical Advisor, Global Positioning Systems, RITA/Volpe Center
- Mark W. Hartong, PhD, PE, Office of Safety, Federal Railroad Administration
Mr. Middlebrook related the experiences and lessons-learned from the development of one of the first satellite-based traffic management systems in the world for the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The fully-operational system, jointly operated by the United States and Canada, was largely developed by the Volpe Center on a modest budget. The low cost was primarily a consequence of the decision to use satellite navigation rather than radar. It has improved both the safety and efficiency of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and served as the basis for a similar system developed for the Panama Canal.
Mr. Usmani described the status and plans of the FAA's SWIM program, a digital data communications program now in development that is one of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) transformational programs. While only one component of the Nation's future air traffic management system, SWIM is many times larger than the SLSDC traffic management system, owing to much greater geographical area covered and the much larger number of participants. Mr. Usmani stressed the importance of standards in developing such a widely-used system.
Ms. VanDyke provided an overview of the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), which is a common element of all of the traffic management systems discussed. The current GPS-2 generation of satellites will, over the next decade, be replaced by the more capable GPS-3 generation of satellites. Additionally, several other nations or regional organizations have navigation satellite programs underway which may become elements of future traffic management systems.
Dr. Hartong provided a perspective on the needs and issues of a Positive Train Control (PTC) system for the U.S. PTC is earlier in its development cycle than the SLSDC and FAA systems, and must still address some institutional issues.
The audience included representatives of all transportation modes, and asked questions regarding the possibility of jamming or disruption of GPS, standards for user equipment when participating in vehicle traffic management network, and the possible use of other nation's systems by U.S. agencies and users.
For further information contact:
Michael Geyer, PhD
Acting Director, Communication, Navigation and Surveillance and Traffic Management Systems Center of Innovation (RVT-70)
Chief, Navigation and Surveillance Division (RVT-71)
U.S. DOT/RITA/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center