Government plans to develop intelligent transportation systems

  • Date: 2017-03-07

I. Background

Rapid advances in information and communications technology, the popularity of smart mobile devices, and developments in cloud technology have intensified public demands for real-time traffic information updates, internet and mobile applications, and integrated transportation data. To meet these demands for smart transportation and smart living, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has launched a plan (2017-2020) to develop intelligent transportation systems. The plan will leverage Taiwan’s advantages in information and communications technology to reduce losses from traffic accidents, offer convenient transportation in remote and rural areas, alleviate congestion on main traffic arteries and make public transportation more accessible.

Intelligent transportation integrates transportation functions with the information and communications industries to make transportation services more convenient and efficient. In developing domestic intelligent transportation systems, Taiwan has completed fundamental research and development (R&D), run pilot demonstrations and then leveraged the results in a broader context. The nation is now equipped with traffic management systems for highways, freeways and urban roads, a multi-lane free-flow electronic toll collection system for freeways, an information system with arrival updates for intercity and city buses that provides timely integrated traffic information services, and integrated farecard readers for public transportation.


II. Six programs to promote intelligent transportation and living

The intelligent transportation systems development plan will be a joint effort by central and local authorities to support value-added innovations for various industries and integrate facilities and resources. In 2017 and 2018, the plan calls for six strategic intelligent transportation pilot programs at three incubation sites—the Taipei-Yilan corridor, remote areas in Hualien and Taitung, and urban communities. Once positive results are verified, the programs will then be promoted nationwide.

A. Intelligent transportation safety plan: Promote safety R&D for smart motor vehicles and smart intersections; incorporate timely tour bus updates into the existing coach information system to track traffic information; establish a safe, shared, green-energy smart scooter system; and subsidize the installation of vision enhancement cameras on large motor vehicles.
B. Relieve congestion on major traffic arteries: Expand the scope of real-time traffic updates using eTag readers, motor vehicle sensors and mobile communication data; provide active traffic information and effective route guidance to divert traffic flow at certain times and in certain areas to help ease congestion.
C. Make transportation more convenient in Eastern Taiwan and remote areas: Use smart transportation strategies such as a demand-responsive transit system, with a flexible service model for public buses much like booking a taxi by phone. These measures will increase the reliability and efficiency of public transport services and the number of transportation options and mobility in remote areas to meet the basic transportation needs of residents in eastern Taiwan and rural areas.
D. Integrate and share transportation resources: Use a service-oriented approach to provide door-to-door transportation services that meet travelers’ needs by establishing a mobile transport service interface and platform integrating booking and payment processes.
E. Develop “internet-of-vehicles” technology applications: Using Yilan County as a demonstration zone, coordinate the speed of passenger coach fleets on national highways and employ vehicle-road interaction technology to ensure efficient traffic flow and transportation safety; use a self-driving car demo project to investigate and verify the technological, operational, industrial, legal and systemic issues regarding Taiwan’s development of internet-of-vehicles applications.
F. Fundamental R&D for smart transportation technology: Conduct R&D on signal control systems suitable for domestic mixed traffic flow comprising both two and four-wheeled vehicles; deploy an internet-of-vehicles prototype platform that integrates vehicle and road operations; and carry out R&D on unmanned vehicle applications for transport purposes.


III. Expected benefits

By 2020, these initiatives are expected to achieve the following goals in the targeted regions:

A. Reduce traffic congestion by 25 percent and road accidents by 20 percent.
B. Raise the number of passengers using public transportation by 10 percent; in rural areas, increase public transport service accessibility by 20 percent.
C. Generate production value of NT$30 billion (US$970.87 million) in related industries.


IV. Conclusion 

The government’s intelligent transportation initiatives will apply information and communications technology, systems integration capabilities and innovative approaches to develop Taiwan-specific application services that integrate people, vehicles and roads, and mobile public transport services. These advances will create an intelligent transportation environment that provides safety, improved traffic flow, seamless travel, shared transport and environmental sustainability. The government also hopes to apply the program’s positive results to domestic industries to help drive related software development and technological upgrades, and help cement Taiwan’s place in the global mainstream.