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Aviation Careers Series: Airport Careers
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    Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) offer tools to address transportation safety on several fronts, including improving control of the vehicle, mitigating circumstances that contribute to crashes, and responding more quickly to crashes that do occur. By applying appropriate tools to specific problems. ITS offer the potential to significantly reduce the number and severity of crashes. Under the leadership of NHTSA, the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC), and the automotive industry, improved vehicle control devices are being developed. NHTSA estimates that the three most imminent in-vehicle crash avoidance systems (CAS) alone could reduce the number of annual crashes by 17% out of the 6.4 million nationwide. These countermeasures address rear-end crashes, roadway departures, and lane change/merge crashes, which collectively represent half of the highway crashes in the U.S., by assisting the driver in the driving task. Improved traffic control and enforcement techniques provide a second approach to reducing crash occurrence and consequence. Freeway management, including such techniques as incident management, ramp metering, and lane control, as well as advanced surface street traffic signal systems improve the flow of traffic to reduce crash occurrences. In locations with specific crash problems such as highway-rail intersections and certain arterial intersections or roadways, more aggressive automated enforcement techniques such as grade crossing compliance, video speed enforcement, and video signal enforcement systems can greatly reduce safety violations. Automation aids to commercial vehicle regulation such as the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) and automation assistant in inspections improve safety enforcement in an industry with skilled professional drivers operating vehicles with potential for significant loss to property and life. Techniques to make the driver more aware of the roadway environment also assist in the driving task. Navigation devices including route guidance assist in route finding, which is particularly valuable for unfamiliar drivers. Roadway condition information provided through variable message signs or in-vehicle devices allows drivers to select alternate paths or Modes to improve safety in addition to decreasing travel time. Quicker response for victims of crashes improves medical service, decreasing the chances that a fatality will result. Quicker removal of the crash from the travel way returns flow to normal conditions, decreasing the probability of secondary crashes. Automatic collision notification devices, rural mayday systems, and incident notification systems alert emergency service providers more quickly to the occurrence of a crash. These systems can reduce the time between crash and arrival of injured travels at emergency medical care. A reduction of 10 minutes in this time interval can improve the chances that an injured traveler will survive by over 10%. When incidents occur on congested roadways, crash rates triple in the congestion approaching the incident. Incident management systems reduce the duration of the incident-related congestion, reducing the duration of related increase in crash rate.

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