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Innovation Strategies for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to Reach a "Sustainable Development" in the Transport Sector Comparative Analysis of International Experiences and Interpretation for German Implementation Conditions

Innovation Strategies for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to Reach a "Sustainable Development" in the Transport Sector Comparative Analysis of International Experiences and Interpretation for German Implementation Conditions
Project team:

Halbritter, Günter (Project leader); Torsten Fleischer; Christel Kupsch


Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Start date:


End date:


Project partners:

German Institute of Economic Research (DIW), Berlin

Research area:

Innovation processes and impacts of technology

Project description

Since 1st July 2002, the above study funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is being carried out by the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis of the Research Centre Karlsruhe (ITAS) in close cooperation with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Within the framework of this project a comparative analysis of international experiences concerning the deployment of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and related services in metropolitan areas is performed. Aim of the study is to identify conditions for successful innovation strategies in the sector of new technologies and services in metropolitan traffic and to investigate their effectiveness and consequences with respect to a “sustainable development”. Innovation is understood to be the successful introduction of technical or organizational new developments to societal practice.

“Sustainable development” stands for the objective of bringing the development of traffic in line with ecological requirements without limiting the mobility of people. Innovative technologies, in particular intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and related new services can principally contribute to this aim. This does not only include increases in efficiency, e.g. an increase in the capacity of roads by new traffic guiding systems. Also, the frequently desired integration of various transportation systems, such as the intelligent linking of public transportation and individual transportation, can be promoted considerably by the use of ITS. Moreover, ITS also allow to establish and foster new mobility services, e.g. car pools or to control and regulate traffic with specific pricing measures. ITS can cause changes of attitude with respect to a “sustainable development” in a much more flexible and effective manner as this can be done with classical instruments.

The subject of the project is related to the experience gained from case study evaluations made under the previous study “Traffic in Metropolitan Areas - Possible Contributions of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to a More Efficient and Environmentally Sounder Transport” (Halbritter, G., et al., 2002) as well as to publications of the DIW, Berlin, on the effect of pricing policy on transport (Kuhfeld, Schlör, Voigt 1996). Lessons learned from these studies show that different countries pursue different strategies in the development and introduction of new technologies and services. Especially in the USA a formal, legal based procedure implementing ITS could be found whereas in Europe mainly in Germany such regulations play a minor role and the governmental activities are mostly limited to the funding of research. Further on, besides primary conditions (state of the art and know-how) of technology development and implementation so-called secondary conditions like societal and national boundary conditions are of relevance to deploy successful innovations in the transport sector (Fig. 1).

Strukturschema zur Technikgestaltung

Figure 1: Structural elements to develop and deploy technologies

It is also evident from the results of this previous study that technology development according to “sustainable development” criteria will not happen automatically, but represents an ambitious task for political governance. Governmental institutions play an important role in this process. This means that it is not sufficient to analyze the various legal and institutional boundary conditions in the countries considered exclusively, but that it is necessary to pay attention to the opinions of the general public and certain technical elites with regard to the innovation potential of technical developments. Here, cultural self-conception and practiced life styles of the different societal groups play a major role. Apart from selected European countries, the USA will be taken into consideration in particular. Work is divided into three steps:

  1. Monitoring of transport policy activities in countries with successful transport policy concepts in order to identify relevant initiatives and projects in the field of innovative transport technologies and services in metropolitan areas and the status of their introduction;
  2. In-depth analysis of selected countries with investigations of implementation conditions, the effectiveness of innovative technologies and services, and their effects with respect to a “sustainable development” in the transport sector. Also barriers have to be identified for those cases, in which the objectives envisaged have not been reached.
  3. Analysis of the possibilities of transferring the experience gained to representative German conditions and development of strategic options to foster innovation processes.

The results shall contribute to improve the decision bases of research, transport, and environmental policies and to reveal new development options and tendencies for associations and innovation-oriented industry.

Halbritter, G. u.a., 2002: Verkehr in Ballungsräumen: Mögliche Beiträge von Telematiktechniken und -diensten für einen effizienteren und umweltverträglicheren Verkehr. Beiträge zur Umweltgestaltung A 149, Erich-Schmidt Verlag, Berlin.
Further information

Kuhfeld, H., Schlör, H. und Voigt, U., 1996: Ökonomische Folgenanalyse im Rahmen des TAB-Projektes “Optionen zur Entlastung des Verkehrsnetzes und zur Verlagerung von Straßenverkehr auf umweltfreundlichere Verkehrsträger”. Gutachten im Auftrag des Büros für Technikfolgenabschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag, Berlin.



Prof. Dr. Günter Halbritter
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe