Introduction - IRF | International Road Federation - Better Roads, Better World

Intelligent Transport Systems


Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) contribute to all major transport policy objectives. Through the application of ITS, road networks can be operated and utilized more efficiently. The term ITS encompasses many systems with different objectives and applications that can be found everywhere.

Safe roads and safe driving: ITS plays an important role in both preventing accidents and mitigating their impacts. ITS also helps to implement ambitious policy objectives set by national governments and supra-national bodies.

Delivering road sustainability: As with road safety, ITS contributes to the improved sustainability of roads through a multifaceted approach. Many ITS applications are aimed at either optimizing the available supply of road infrastructure or reducing demand for it. The result of ITS technology is a more efficient and reliable road transport network that operates with a minimized effect on the environment.

A simplified description of the procedural steps involved in most ITS applications is:

  • Data collection: ITS is capable of capturing a range of roadway information, from the number of vehicles passing a certain point and their average speeds to weather conditions. ITS technology can even follow the positioning of vehicles through mobile phone tracking or satellite-based systems.
  • Data transfer, processing and analysis: Following collection, ITS can communicate the data to central units where it is aggregated and transformed into information used to determine future actions.
  • Informed decision-making: This processed data can then be applied in a number of ways to ensure the efficient operation of road networks. For example, a road operator can use ITS data in the context of highway management; or a road user, on the other hand, can alter his route upon receiving updated traffic information.

With ITS, the IRF believes that road managers have a very strong and cost-efficient tool at their disposal for saving lives, reducing emissions and increasing the reliability of road travel. The IRF therefore strongly supports the implementation of ITS in order to make better roads for a better world.

IRF is member of the European Union ITS Advisory Group

Following the implementation of ITS Directive 2010/40/EU, the European Commission has installed the EU ITS Advisory Group. The tasks of the Group are to assist the EC in preparing specifications by providing feedback on technical and commercial aspects, to monitor evolution of ITS policy and advise and provide guidance to the Commission and to exchange experience and good practice in deployment and operation of ITS.

IRF is one of the Group's 25 members and is represented in the Group by the IRF Geneva Secretariat.

IRF inputs into the EU Advisory Group are compiled in consultation with the IRF membership exclusively.

To find out more about IRF's activities in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), please contact Mui-Ling Wang at