Saturday, November 14, 2015

Intelligent Technologies Initiative Act of 2015

Last month Rep. Takano (D,CA) introduced HR 3852, the Intelligent Technologies Initiative Act of 2015. The bill would require the DOT to establish a grant program to fund a grant program for funding intelligent transportation system (ITS) projects.

Grant Program

Section 3 of the bill would require the Secretary to establish an Intelligent Technology Initiative to provide “grants to eligible entities to establish deployment sites for large scale installation and operation of ITS to improve safety, efficiency, system performance, and return on investment” {§3(a)}. The program would provide grants to 6 entities for projects for up to five years. The bill would authorize $200 million per year thru 2020.

Moving Forward

Takano is not a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, so it seem unlikely that he has the pull to move this bill through the Committee Process. While $200 million is a relatively small amount of money in surface transportation program, the money would still have to come out of some other program so it is likely that there would be some significant opposition to this bill when if it came to the House floor.


There are a number of ITS projects that seem almost inevitable, if program bugs can be worked out. In my opinion one of the biggest obstacles to effective ITS deployment is that the various systems that are being talked about have some serious potential cybersecurity problems that must be solved before the systems can be safely deployed.

Unfortunately, this bill is completely devoid of any mention of cybersecurity issues. There is no requirement for a cybersecurity component in any of the systems to be considered for the grant program. Nor is there any requirement in any of the required reports to Congress to include any information about cybersecurity issues.

I would like to see in any grant program for ITS deployment a clear requirement to address cybersecurity issues in any deployment scheme. Further, it would seem to me that a portion of the grant program should be set aside for specific studies on ITS cybersecurity issues. Failure to take these two requirements in an ITS implementation grant program clearly mark the program as being short sighted and not worthy of the limited transportation funding system.

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