In the Rearview Mirror: ITS America’s 2018 Annual Meeting

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ITS America's 2018 Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan was our most successful ever, thanks to you. See what was trending on social media with the #ITSDetroit2018 hashtag, and click here for more photos from the event.

Breaking Records
More than 2,500 registered attendees and more than 135 exhibitors made their way to the Cobo Center June 4-7th, making 2018 our most popular annual meeting ever.

Technical Sessions
More than 80 technical/special sessions were presented at this year’s conference. Papers and presentations will be available to registered attendees shortly – check back at the ITS America Detroit conference website shortly.  

Partners and Sponsors Make the Meeting Go ‘Round
ITS America events and conferences are made possible through our generous sponsors. This year, #ITSDetroit2018 was supported by the Michigan Governor’s Office, PlanetM, Michigan DOT, the Michigan Economic Development Council, General Motors, HNTB, Kapsch, AAA, Blyncsy, Crown Castle, Cisco, EDI, HERE, IRD, Michael Baker, Parsons, Southwest Research Institute, NREL, Utah DOT, MTC, Washington DOT, HELP Inc, Colorado DOT, AECOM, Toyota Research Institute, Iteris, Together for Safer Roads, WSP, Miovision, the AWARN Alliance and Spectrum Co., and HELP Inc. Provider of Prepass.

Smart Mobility Stage
The intimate Smart Mobility stage anchored the show floor and presented outside-the-box topics from automotive manufacturers, mobility startups, educators, and even broadcast television professionals.

King’s Focus on Safety and Technology
Heidi King, deputy administrator for NHTSA, opened the conference on Tuesday morning: “We need to keep our minds open to advanced transportation innovation - technology does not stay in its lane.”

GM’s announcement solidifies the importance of DSRC
General Motors EVP Mark Reuss took to the stage on Wednesday, announcing the to the crowd Cadillac’s expansion of Super Cruise to all models and plans to incorporate V2X into the entire line by 2023.


Panasonic and Gebhardt Look to a More Secure Future
“With our Intelligent Transportation solution we’re talking about empowering DOTs with the ability to analyze everything from speed and heading, to windshield wiper and traction control status – providing valuable context on road conditions.”- Tom Gebhardt, Panasonic North America CEO and Chairman, closes out #ITSDetroit2018

From the Exhibit Floor
More than 135 exhibiting companies participated in this year’s expo. The show floor hummed with activities, demonstrations, and networking. Innovative technologies included autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, bicycle and pedestrian safety applications, traffic management and operations, signal communications, infrastructure upgrades, emergency alerting breakthroughs, sustainable and green alternatives, and academic research.

Demonstration Highlights
Students, OEMs, public agencies and private companies provided tech demos on smart parking, safe intersections, DSRC connected vehicles, C-V2X, work zone safety, signaling and video, and more. 

Mark Reuss, EVP General Motors; Gov. John Hickenlooper, State of Colorado; Gov. Rick Snyder, State of Michigan; Shailen Bhatt, President & CEO, ITS America; and Carlos Bracers, Director Utah DOT and Chairman of the Board, ITS America

Mark Reuss, EVP General Motors; Gov. John Hickenlooper, State of Colorado; Gov. Rick Snyder, State of Michigan; Shailen Bhatt, President & CEO, ITS America; and Carlos Bracers, Director Utah DOT and Chairman of the Board, ITS America

Keynote Panels on Transportation 2.0 Panels on the main stage included Detroit local transportation planners and representatives from leading OEMs discussing “Mobility 2.0,” and how they are looking at changes for the 21st century. On Wednesday, a special Governor’s Roundtable with Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado took the stage, an intimate conversation that included how the two states tackle training and education for the next generation of transportation professionals.  Thursday’s conference closer included military reps, city DOT leadership and cyber security professionals, talking about ensuring the security of connected systems and networks.

2018 ITS America Podcast

Catch up on the official ITS America 2018 Annual Meeting Podcast series, brought to you by Smart Highways.


Announcements and Events  
Ancillary meetings, events, and announcements took place throughout the week, including the FHWA National Dialogue on Highway Automation Workshop, the always popular State DOT Roundtable, Connected Vehicle 201 Training, and ITS America’s announcements of the launch of the ITS America Data Exchange and formal partnership with Together for Safer Roads.

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The Monday evening reception, sponsored by Kapsch, included voting and awarding of the “Best of ITS” projects. This year, eight different projects were presented to reception attendees, with the most votes going to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and The American Center for Mobility (ACM) in the Connectivity, Autonomy, and the Future of Transportation Category. In the Transportation Systems Operations Category, the winner was Michigan DOT and HERE, with their Active Traffic Management (ATM) Project, US-23 Flex Route.

The 2018 Award for Outstanding State Chapter went to ITS California; and the award for Overall Membership  Growth was presented to ITS Carolinas. A trio from University of Missouri-Columbia was honored with a check and complimentary registration to the Detroit event by Southwest Research Institute in the annual Student Essay Contest. “Evolution of Sharing in Transportation: Transitioning to Driverless Fleets” was authored by Alex Gross, Jacob Kaltenbronn, and Colby Wedwick.

Last but not least, Director Kirk M. Steudle, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, was inducted this year into the ITS Hall of Fame.  Steudle oversees MDOT’s more than $4 billion budget, and is responsible for the construction, maintenance, and operation of nearly 10,000 miles of state highways and more than 4,000 state highway bridges at a department with 2,500 employees.

ITS America's vision is a better future transformed by intelligent mobility. Safer. Greener. Smarter. With your help, we brought our vision to Detroit, and we look forward to expanding our conference content, our message, and our mission in 2019 in Washington, D.C. #ITSDC2019

ITS America Staff: Closing in on #ITSDetroit2018

The ITS America staff is spending the next few days in a whirlwind of last-minute preparations before #ITSDetroit2018 kicks off next week. A sneak peek into what we are most looking forward to as we pack up and head to Michigan for the 27th ITS America Annual Conference.


Steve Bayless, VP Regulatory Affairs & Public Policy

Looking forward to catching up with all our automaker friends!






Cathy St. Denis, VP of Communications & Strategic Initiatives
Motor City, here we come! I’m psyched to be heading to Detroit. It will be great to see the demos, with real-life technology applications in action.  Who wouldn’t want to experience the future?! And did I mention I haven’t been in downtown Detroit since the last century?! I can’t wait to see all the great changes I’ve been hearing and reading about, in this great city with so much transportation history.




Jade Kenny, Director of Social Media & Membership Outreach
What am I looking forward to the most at #ITSDetroit2018? EVERYTHING!  I am very excited to see the City of Detroit for the first time. My father has been a Ford mechanic  for 25+ years, and has traveled to the city many times. He has always spoken highly about his experiences there, so I can’t wait to see it for myself. 

As someone who has been working on this meeting for a year and a half, I can tell you I am blown away by how this has all come together. I am looking forward to hearing Mark Reuss speak about how GM is playing a role in building intelligent communities & ultimately assisting our vision here at ITSA to improve and save lives.

I am also looking forward to meeting all of our new and existing members at the Membership Coffee on Wednesday at 10:30 AM in the ITSA Booth.  I will be running around COBO snapping pictures and trying to capture all the great things happening for the ITS America Social media accounts, but don’t be afraid to stop me & say hi. See you soon!



Lindsay Shelton-Gross, VP Membership & Marketing
Mobility 2.0! I'm looking forward to the Women in Transportation breakfast on June 5th. I am a huge fan of anything that helps the next-generation of ITS professionals succeed and build their career potential, so it's satisfying to see the winner of Southwest Research Institute's Student Essay Competition be recognized for their hard work.  I hope to sneak away from the show floor at least a few times to sit in on a few of the remarkable technical sessions. I can't wait to to hear more from presentations on the Smart Mobility Stage; like youth workforce highlights and Advanced Emergency Alerting.  Also, there are a number of product and partnership announcements that I'm certain will generate excitement in the industry at large. 

Naturally, I'm also looking forward to spending time with our members (and prospective members) - make sure to stop by Booth #351 to say hello, and learn about the fantastic things coming up for our organization. (I'm bringing my car shoes.)



Rachel Rettberg, Director of Meetings and Events
What am I most excited for? The packed exhibit hall with lots of engaging demonstrations, the interesting technical tours, the general hustle and bustle of an exciting ITS America event, and ... maybe a nap on the morning of June 8th.  (PS #GOCAPS #GETTHATSTANLEY!)






Jeff Davis, SVP Business Development
I'm looking forward to all the announcements about amazing things we've accomplished over the last year at ITS America - there have been a lot of changes, but I'm truly excited about all value we're building for people in the industry. 






Carlos Alban, Senior Program Specialist
It’s been three years since the last time we were in Detroit for the ITS World Congress in 2014, and personally I am very excited to be back in Detroit this year because it comes at an important time in our industry. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues, and hearing about how the work they are doing will help shape the future landscape of transportation. I am also looking forward to walking the expo floor and seeing hands on how research and innovation can help improve the way we transport goods, improve mobility, and make our roads safer for everyone. Last but not least, I hope there is time for another visit to the Detroit Beer Co.!



Sara Davidson, Technical Lead, Smart Systems
I am most looking forward to the opportunity to experience the event that at least half of our staff dedicate significant time and effort to each year. I also look forward to meeting more individuals in the industry and getting a sense of the energy/enthusiasm at these events.  Also, I am looking forward to spending time with my coworkers outside of our usual office setting.

Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment (AACVTE)

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Since 2011, thousands of vehicles have been participating in a large-scale test of connected vehicle technologies in Ann Arbor.  US DOT has sponsored two research programs in Ann Arbor; Safety Pilot Model Deployment (SPMD) and the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment (AACVTE).  Currently, there are about 1,300 vehicles participating.  These vehicles are communicating with each other and with select intersections by broadcasting their latitude and longitude coordinates, heading and speed at ten times per second.  Additionally, 25 intersections are also equipped with communication devices.

After extensive changes to the standards and security protocols that govern dedicated short-range communication (DSRC), AACVTE’s suppliers will begin delivering new vehicle awareness devices (VADs) and after safety market devices (ASDs) in May. Further, 49 intersections will be equipped expanding the infrastructure footprint to include all of Ann Arbor. While the VADs are transmitting devices, the ASDs will run applications and provide drivers with several different types of warnings via a speaker and a light bar. Beginning in early May, we will be replacing existing hardware in current participants’ vehicles as well as recruiting additional drivers to participate in AACVTE.  Drivers who have a VAD or an ASD installed in their vehicles will be paid $40.

For more information, please see  To enroll in AACVTE, please contact us at or 734.936.1088.

Mary Lynn Buonarosa is the Project Manager, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) Human Factors Division

Jim Sayer: The Cost of Delaying DSRC

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Up to 8.1 million car crashes and 44,000 deaths could be prevented if the federal government mandated connected vehicle technology now, rather than waiting even three years to develop and evaluate competing technologies.

Connected vehicle technology has been demonstrated to dramatically improve safety on our roads and highways, and every year that we wait to put it in place, we're losing thousands of lives.

Given current crash, injury and fatality rates, the cumulative lost opportunity of not mandating Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) now represents roughly one full year's worth of fatalities, injuries and crashes that occur on U.S. roadways that could otherwise be prevented.

A recently published UMTRI white paper detailed the effect a delay would have:

  • A 3-year delay of 2022 could prevent 7.4 million-8.1 million crashes; 2.8 million-3.1 million injuries; and 40,717-44,558 deaths.
  • A 5-year delay of 2024 could prevent 12.6 million-13.6 million crashes; 4.8 million-5.1 million injuries; and 69,556-75,098 deaths.
  • A 7-year delay of 2026 could prevent 17.9 million-19.1 million crashes, 6.8 million-7.2 million injuries; 99,338-105,746 deaths.

This analysis clearly illustrates the negative consequences of waiting for the potential of a different communications solution. If, as a society, we keep waiting for something better to come along, we will always be in a waiting mode—and hence nothing will get deployed.

DSRC is the existing technology for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. This is not to suggest that DSRC is the only means of communication that should be considered, but rather that additional communication technologies could be used in combination with DSRC – whereby providing necessary redundancy.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed that DSRC be standard in all new light-duty vehicles. These rules, and the technology behind them, have been in the making for more than 20 years, when the Federal Communications Commission first set aside wireless spectrum to DSRC for transportation applications. The capability has undergone more than 10 years of testing around the country and across the globe. 

A newer technology, called C-V2X, is emerging from the cellular industry. Its supporters say it has a longer range and enhanced versatility. But the analysis clearly illustrates that delaying a mandate of DSRC results in lives lost that could otherwise be saved.  DSRC is ready for deployment today, C-V2X would need a yet-unknown amount of additional time to develop, test, propose standards and develop proposed rulemaking prior to deployment.

Read the analysis: The Cost in Fatalities, Injuries and Crashes Associated with Waiting to Deploy Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

Jim Sayer is the Director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)

Seun Phillips: A Sense of Energy


So, I’ve been asked: What are you looking forward to at this year’s ITS America Annual Meeting?

First, the mobility demos. If you want to look at what some of the leading-edge companies are creating, this is the place. Seeing the creativity and talking to some of the innovators renews my enthusiasm and confidence in the future of mobility as a truly revolutionary moment in the history of transportation.

There is a palpable and growing excitement about the future of Detroit, and Michigan’s leading role as a hub for innovation, testing and validation for mobility technologies. At the heart of the excitement is the commitment by all those engaged in inventing the transportation future – major automotive manufacturers, entrepreneurs and the public sector.

At PlanetM, we’re actively engaged in serving as a business accelerator for startups and other businesses developing products and services in the automotive mobility space. We’re also facilitating pilots between corporates, startups and Michigan Department of Transportation; creating an epicenter of mobility for startups, OEMS and suppliers to coexist (27 total companies as of March); and, establishing well over 1000 meaningful connections.

Not to be overlooked is Gov. Snyder’s leadership role in pushing for the establishment of the American Center for Mobility (in Willow Run near Detroit Metro Airport), and creating laws for the testing of autonomous vehicle on public roadways.

For anyone who has been to Detroit, there’s one unmistakable impression – a sense of energy. And people. Many are rediscovering the city and spirit that made Detroit the home not only the auto industry, but an inspiration for the arts, and some of the best music – R&B, rock, jazz and blues.

Of course, it’s not quite Chicago blues. I’m a Michigan transplant. Grew up in metro Chicago, and then went to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where I studied engineering. But make no mistake about it: there are many developments around Detroit that have the makings of a major international city on the rise.

You can see for yourself the many reasons for the enthusiasm. Take a ride on the city’s transit rail QLine, and you’ll see new hotels, the expansive Little Caesar’s Arena in the city’s newest neighborhood, The District, and a long list of commercial and residential developments. The city is calling people back.

During your visit to Detroit, you can see for yourself. Here are a few places to keep mind:

Seun Phillips is a Director at PlanetM.


Amanda Roraff: Michigan Putting the World on Wheels


By now, many of you probably have your tickets to Detroit for the ITS America Annual Meeting.

Think of your trip as a journey to PlanetM – the land where mobility is what we do 24/7. There’s no better place for conversations about the future of intelligent transportation.

PlanetM is a campaign launched two years ago to elevate Michigan as the hub of mobility innovations, with a mission to grow high-profile business sectors. Our goal is to be the global center for mobility, autonomous vehicle technology development, testing and application.

Since spring of 2016, we have made many connections in the U.S. and around the world.  Meanwhile, in Michigan, we support entrepreneurial projects with grants, and the newly established Landing Zone serves as an acceleration for more than 25 affiliated companies working in the mobility space. In addition, we’re collaborating with public, private and philanthropic partners to launch mobility pilots across the state.

Just as Michigan put the world on wheels, we believe our state stands at a historical threshold as the preeminent place for automakers, auto suppliers along with entrepreneurs and innovators who are leading the way in the mobility revolution.

In Michigan, we’re building on our legendary automotive history, innovative spirit, industrial landscape and collaborative atmosphere. And, we look forward to your visit and conversations about what is a revolutionary breakthrough in transportation that will transform how we live, work and travel.

This year at ITSA, I’m looking forward to the technology demonstrations, especially the intersection safety pilot in Detroit with Derq and Michigan Department of Transportation. Be sure to stay tuned during the event for an announcement on how PlanetM will be supporting mobility pilots in the State of Michigan.  

As I travel nationally and internationally and talk about PlanetM, I find the sentiment is always, “No one is doing what you’re doing.” We think so, too. And that gives all of us a deep sense of purpose and pride.

As a lifelong Detroiter, there are so many things I love about the region. If you have some time during your visit think about a bike, hike, picnic on Belle Isle; a visit to Eastern Market (great Bloody Mary at Vivios!); and, a stroll along the River Walk and Woodward Avenue in downtown.

Amanda Roraff is Operations Manager for PlanetM.


Debby Bezzina: Welcome to Michigan!


Welcome to Michigan! 

I look forward to engaging with you during the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting, and sharing the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment and Mcity with you. There is however, another City that deserves your attention: Detroit! I am excited to share with you this fabulous place, and hope that you will find time during your stay to get out and enjoy all that Detroit has to offer.  Whenever I have family or friends visit, “The D” is where we head.

To truly experience Detroit, it's best to immerse yourself in the simple pleasures it offers.  First, make a dinner reservation at the Whitney Restaurant for 5:30 PM (Yes, 5:30!)  The Whitney is famous for upscale dining in the D. Completed in 1894, it retains the exquisite charm and elegance of Detroit at the height of the automotive capital of the world.  And while your reservation is for 5:30, arrive at 10 a.m.; as long as you have a dinner reservation, you can park there for free

Next, cross Woodward Avenue and hop on the Q-line and head north. The Q-line is a light rail system that was launched in 2017.  A day pass is $3.  The Q-line runs north/south on Woodward Avenue, connecting Downtown to Midtown and New Center areas.  The Q-line averages over 7,000 passengers daily.  Exit the Q-line at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA is world renowned for its spectacular collections including spectacular Diego Rivera murals depicting industry through the ages in the city. They're truly phenomenal and captures the spirit of the assembly line worker and the auto industry in general.  My favorite, though, is the China Room.  Pay attention to time - the DIA closes at 4:00 PM. 

Hop back on the Q-line heading south. There are many boutiques to stop at on the way back including the Peacock Room nestled in the Park Shelton, featuring vintage-inspired pieces. Hop on and off the Q-Line as often as you like!  Ultimately, take the Q-Line to the end of the line where you’ll see the Joe Louis fist sculpture, and the Spirit of Detroit statue. Walk across Jefferson Avenue to Detroit's Riverwalk.  The Riverwalk is a 3.5 mile stretch along the Detroit River with fantastic views of Canada!   When you've had enough walking as sightseeing, hop back on the Q-line to the Whitney.  I recommend arriving ahead of your reservation and enjoying a drink in the Ghost Bar, known for live entertainment and the famous Witching Hour Martini!

Debby Bezzina is the "Connected Ann Arbor" lead for Mcity. She is also the lead for the U.S. DOT Center for Connected and Automated Transportation at UMTRI.

Safety First. Safety Always.

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Safety first, safety always.

When it comes to connected and automated vehicles, you could say I was an early adopter. My interest in this technology dates back more than a decade, and while there are many benefits, none matters more than the potential to save lives. This is why I am so pleased to welcome the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting to Detroit in June. 

At the Michigan Department of Transportation, we embrace the Toward Zero Deaths movement. The only acceptable number for deaths on Michigan roads is zero. That sounds lofty, I realize. But when you ask someone how many deaths from auto crashes are acceptable, people scratch their heads, then the answers vary widely. Phrase the question another way — “How many crash deaths are acceptable for your family members?” — the answer is, understandably, a quick and resounding “Zero!”

Some 37,000 people died on our nation’s roads last year, yet the reporting on each is often minimal, no doubt reflecting our unfortunate acceptance of these tragedies. Have we become desensitized?

Think about it. Thirty-seven thousand deaths. People like you and me, our spouses, children... Just conducting their daily lives, commuting to work, traveling for vacation, driving to a child’s school concert or football game.

That number is the equivalent of 370 plane crashes with 100 passengers each. Any one of those catastrophes would have us riveted to the wall-to-wall media coverage.

The development of connected and automated vehicles offers the most significant breakthrough to reduce that number since the advent of the automobile. As reported in the Atlantic Monthly in 2015, researchers estimate driverless cars could, by mid-century, reduce traffic deaths by as much as 90 percent. In the U.S. alone, that would save 300,000 lives over a decade.

Let’s face it. The exponential evolution of technology shows no signs of slowing. That technology both enables and demands multi-tasking. Multi-tasking might be fine in some instances but not when it comes to driving.

Despite ever-evolving laws and prolific safety campaigns, distracted driving continues to cause more crashes and more deaths. Automakers have made tremendous strides in building safer vehicles -- seat belts, air bags, anti- lock brakes, and more recently, lane control, adaptive cruise control, forward and rear assist and more.

But even while the technology and research continues to save lives, we discover new distractions to offset the gains. Today, more than 68 percent of U.S. adults have a smart phone, up from 35 percent in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center.

While safety is the over-riding imperative, driverless cars hold other benefits. Chief among these is mobility in our golden years. If any of you have had to take the keys from a parent or another elderly relative, you know how painful that can be.

All of this brings me to some key things going on in Michigan. With overwhelming bipartisan support, the Legislature last year adopted bills that will keep Michigan at the forefront of these developments. With genuine enthusiasm, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bills a few weeks later. Chiefly, the bills: allow complete AV operations on any road, any time, with no special license; allow for truck platooning; allow on-demand automated networks; and created the Michigan Council on Future Mobility.

So the future of self-driving vehicles presents myriad ways to make our lives safer and more efficient. As someone who has spent my entire career, more than three decades, searching for ways to improve the movement of people and goods, I see limitless possibilities.

Kirk Steudle is the Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Innovation and Resurgence: Detroit


ITS America is a great place to hear from industry leaders on the current and future state of mobility technology. And, what’s more, it’s a great place to see some of those technologies in action.

ITS America's 2018 Annual Meeting is an ideal place to connect and foster relationships that will ensure future success. You’ll soon find out there is no better place to be than Detroit this June!

The Auto Office is very pleased to have supported some of the industry’s newest, most important centers for technology innovation. The American Center for Mobility in nearby Ypsilanti Township provides 500+ acres of purpose built, real-world testing of automated, connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. It is already one of the leading test centers in the world, and will continue to build out unique capabilities in the years ahead.

Similarly, Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) in Corktown, Detroit, are leading the way in developing lightweight materials and manufacturing processes that will help cars of the future save energy, extend range, and be safer. These centers, partially funded by the US Departments of Defense and Energy in partnership with the state of Michigan, are a prime example of public-private partnerships driving innovation and commercialization, in addition to delivering workforce development and training programs to ensure a next-generation talent pipeline.

As you’ll see, Detroit is a city on the rise. The economic and cultural resurgence has earned praised from around the world. During your visit, you’ll find many great places to explore. There are two I would highly recommend.

First: Detroit Institute of Arts. Most of the world’s best loved cities have major art museums that inspire. Detroit is no different. I think visitors who have never been will be very pleasantly surprised at the volume, breadth and depth of the collection. You’ll find the museum size to be impressive, but manageable. Inside, not only will you find works by masters like Van Gough, Degas, and Picasso, but also a great mix of new and old, including artifacts from ancient Egypt. It is truly a must see attraction.

Second: Take in a show at the Fox Theater. This venue is one of the most lavishly decorated entertainment venues in the world.  Awe-inspiring site lines and great acoustics. It’s also across Woodward Avenue from Comerica Park, so you might even be able to fit in a Tigers baseball game.

Eric Shreffler is the Managing Director, Auto Office; Michigan Economic Development Corp.

ITS America and Transportation 2.0

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In my decade of being a senior leader in transportation in the United States, serving in three states and in the federal government, we have seen a significant change in how Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are defined. In the beginning, it meant signals coordinating and providing "real time" information to travelers. It then progressed to Traffic Management Centers that could manage the flow of our systems.

The vehicles themselves have changed dramatically. In 2010, I experienced an ITS demonstration of a "connected vehicle" that would shake the driver’s seat if I tried to merge with a car in my blind spot. In 2014, at the ITS World Congress in Detroit, I was with another DOT director in the back seat of a car as a driver took us on I-75. The driver merged into traffic and took his hands off the steering wheel - the future had arrived. Four years have passed since that demonstration, which feels like an eternity in this brave new world of transportation technology. 

We’re coming back to Detroit in 2018 for another ITS America meeting, this time for our annual conference. What will we see there in June, and what do we mean by the theme “Transportation 2.0.”? Where the 2014 World Congress was all about demonstrations of what could be, this year you'll be able to see actual deployments of technology at work - public and private sector innovation working to achieve our collective goals of saving lives and making people's lives better. 

In addition to the deployments and demonstrations (yes, we've got those too - the future continues to beckon), you'll hear from executives in the public, private and research sectors explain how they see the ongoing transformation of transportation. On our first day, we’re really looking forward to hearing from Heidi King, Deputy Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Beyond that, Governor Snyder of Michigan and Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado will host a bipartisan roundtable to look at what the future may hold for "Smart States" around the country. Why have they been champions of innovation and how can Transportation 2.0 help them solve big challenges? 

Solving challenges in the 21st century requires partnerships, which is why we’re bringing together leaders from the private and public sectors to give a multi-disciplinary perspective on Mobility 2.0. We'll host an OEM roundtable with senior executives from Ford, General Motors, MOIA and the city of Detroit, who will give us a sense of how technology innovations are changing the transportation landscape.

We also know that Transportation 2.0 must include a robust and relentless focus on cyber security to ensure systems are safely connected. No one person or entity owns the entire system, so we must take a multi-disciplinary approach to mitigate risk.  We will hear from officials heading up efforts in Michigan and New York City, among others.

The pace of change will always accelerate. We must continue the dialogue if we expect to solve today’s problems and avoid creating new issues for the future. I hope you will join hundreds of leaders from the private, public and research sectors as we seek to safely deploy technology to save lives and make people's lives better. Together, we can realize our vision of a better future transformed by intelligent mobility.

Shailen Bhatt is President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America


Making Connections: Michigan's Mobility Business


I’m never surprised at being surprised.

That’s the feeling after watching the demos at the ITS America Annual Meeting.

And, this year, I know I’ll be blown away again by the impressive blend of creativity, engineering and technology on display.

In my role at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, I oversee three programs – PlanetM, Pure Michigan Business Connect, and International Trade. The emergence of mobility technologies and impact on the transportation industry will profoundly impact all three of these areas.

And, in Michigan, we’re not only up to the challenge, we have a plan in place to support innovation among entrepreneurs and businesses riding the wave of the transportation frontier.

At this truly historical time, we are fortunate to come together to share ideas and conversations about the mobility transformation. Perhaps more than any other state, Michigan is playing a vital role in bringing together people, technologies and businesses.

We’re focusing on making connections for global companies with Michigan’s mobility assets (end-customers, testing sites, universities, startups, suppliers). In addition, we look to help mobility companies get connected to new technology deployment opportunities.

Pure Michigan Business Connect has brought together Michigan purchasers with suppliers to more than $5 billion in new purchase orders from some of the world’s largest companies. And, finally, our State of Michigan’s International Trade Office, which connects Michigan companies to export opportunities in foreign markets.

While other states have progressive mobility-focused legislation, and world class testing sites, no other state has a business development program solely focused on mobility/CAVs. And, no other state offers a program like Pure Michigan Business Connect that connects the state’s companies to over 350 in-state and global purchasers.  


Beyond all the conversations about mobility, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Detroit. For those of you looking to explore when you’re in town, I’d suggest checking out the views of the city from Belle Isle Park (designed by the guy who designed Central Park in NYC). The Detroit Riverfront is great for a morning or evening jog. As far as meals, so many new restaurants, where should I begin. If you like Asian fusion, Peterboro is great. For a good steak, Prime and Proper is phenomenal. Central Kitchen, Selden Standard, PARC, Ottava Via are also solid choices.

Trevor Pawl is the Vice President, PlanetM, International Trade & Procurement Programs, Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder: Shaping the Next Transportation Frontier

Detroit recently launched a new campaign to let visitors know it is Go Time in Detroit. That message is also true of the innovation and collaboration that is happening in Detroit and across Michigan around the future of mobility.

We are proud to be the capital of the global automotive industry. While we are well known for putting the world on wheels more than a century ago, today we are committed to embracing a new legacy as a leader in the future of mobility. We call our mobility ecosystem — and the collective of initiatives it encompasses —PlanetM.


 There is a convergence happening with the IT and the automotive industries coming together to create a new mobility industry. Here in Michigan, we are committed to building an ecosystem where business, research and entrepreneurship can thrive and shape the next transportation frontier with autonomous and connected vehicles.

As residents change the way they live, travel and use services, many of the technologies that are changing these industries will be conceptualized, tested and created in Michigan. We also are at the forefront of putting policies in place that will serve as incubators for this critical industry. Michigan was one of the first states to legalize self-driving vehicles on public roads and we are proud to be a global leader when it comes to initiating policies and regulations around self-driving vehicles.

When it comes to connected and autonomous vehicles, collaboration is critical. The technology is developing more quickly than industry or government can keep up, and we need safety to go hand-in-hand with progress.

At ITS World Congress in Montreal late last year, Michigan led a symposium that allowed global leaders in mobility to share best practices, and to learn more about how testing facilities can work together to advance the technologies surrounding connected and automated vehicle development. What we learned was that collectively we are doing wonderful things but that our work is far from done.

That is why I am excited to welcome you to Detroit for the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting — to keep making progress on what we accomplished in Montreal and accelerate that progress. We need to get the people who will determine how to do technical, legal and regulatory standards across the U.S. and across the world collaborating for success.

Come to Detroit to experience the excitement, revitalization and renewed energy found throughout the nation’s comeback city. But also come ready to roll up your sleeves and keep the advancements we have already made accelerating forward. I look forward to seeing you in June.

Rick Snyder is the Governor of the State of Michigan.

Mark L. Reuss, ITS America 2018 Keynote: Making "Every Day" Vehicles Fun


One of the best moments during the planning of  ITS America events is the "yes" - receiving confirmation from a requested keynote. We are thrilled with our speakers this year, and can't wait to hear from one particular leader in transportation: Mark L. Reuss, EVP of General Motors Company.  

Mark will kick off our Wednesday, June 6th program at 9:00 AM in the COBO Center.  As Mary Barra, Chairwoman and CEO of General Motors noted: Mark "has a true passion for cars and inspires us through his determination to create the best vehicles." 

Interested in learning more about Mark? Check out this May 2017 Automotive News feature.

It’s Go Time Detroit

You have heard the news about Detroit – its resurgence, its transformation, its comeback. But now, it’s go time Detroit. And we can’t wait for you to see it for yourself at the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting.

We are proud of our automotive heritage, but you can feel a newfound energy moving through The D. From cyclists pedaling through the streets using the MoGo bike share system, to the QLine, the city’s new streetcar system, zipping up and down Woodward Avenue – Detroit is alive with a vibe you can’t find anywhere else. What better place to host the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting?

The development stretches beyond transportation and connectivity. It includes The District Detroit, an entirely new 50-block neighborhood encompassing the world-class sports facility, Little Caesars Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons. The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.

If you’re the foodie-type, indulge in Detroit’s nationally trending dining scene, where there’s a collection of newcomers and staples alike. Explore the heart of the city, Campus Martius Park, or walk Detroit’s beautiful international riverfront.

In Detroit, it’s go time and we are thrilled to host ITS America. We are retooled, revved, re-energized and ready to show off – and we can’t wait to see you in The D.

Larry Alexander is the President & CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Part of the Solution

At some point in the mid-90’s, I received the most coveted gift an ex-urban teenager could hope for: a Virginia driver’s license and all the freedom afforded to it by law.  Alas, included in the deal was not the sleek speedster of teen movie dreams, but instead a primer-gray 1985 Dodge Caravan, the third row bench seat removed. (My parents assumed this modification would lend itself to less teens piling into the minivan. I plead the fifth on how accurate the assumption turned out to be.)

I didn’t love driving an un-air conditioned “mom-mobile” at 17, but I didn’t hate it, either. A car was a car, and it reliably transported me to the places I needed to be: sports practices, friends houses, summer jobs, boring parties.  It required few repairs, which was a good thing, since I had no money. There was very little public transportation available in my hometown, far west of D.C. proper - at the time, the closest Metro stop was still a 40 minute drive east.

Teenage Lindsay (This was not my first car.)

Teenage Lindsay (This was not my first car.)

The story of the minivan is uneventful. It lived a happy life, with a fairly responsible high school driver. The car to follow, however -  a beautiful European sedan with leather seats  - met an untimely death. I still mourn it’s loss. It was the first car I ever loved, and the first car I ever crashed. It would not be the last.

Jeff Davis, Senior VP at ITS America, has recommended changing our organization’s main mission to “Keeping Lindsay Off the Road.” He’s only semi-joking.  I am a notoriously not-so-great driver. I listen to music too loudly. I am not particularly aggressive, but I am certainly impulsive, especially when it comes to lane changes. My kids distract me with snack requests and general bickering. I don’t look at my smartphone while behind the wheel, but I’ll admit I have committed that grievous sin in the past. I am a daydreamer, and poor with directions. I gravitate toward used cars that could be better maintained. That first automobile love of my life was t-boned when it’s electrical system failed, mid-left turn. Coasting through a yellow light in a non-operational car while a pick-up truck bears down on you? Twenty years later, I still get the shivers.

I have been a part of multiple fender benders. I have broken down on sides of highways, urban and rural roads, and in the parking lot of a questionable tourist trap near Myrtle Beach, SC.  I have had an airbag deploy. My very first date in college involved a minor car accident.  I have rear-ended; I have been rear-ended. I witnessed a horrific motorcycle crash 4 years ago, the memory of which makes me cringe. The second car I owned had an unfortunate post-market alarm system connected directly to the battery - the only way to disable the sound was to pop the hood and pull out a series of mystery wires. There was the crushed front end of an SUV. There was another sedan, hit twice in two days (neither my fault!) I have shattered numerous tail lights, and slightly fewer headlights.

The years have passed, the cars have changed, the insurance rates have skyrocketed. To be very clear:  I’m not proud of any of this. It’s terrifying, and it’s a little shameful.

All this said, I like to think there is good news on the horizon. The deployment of intelligent transportation - connected and autonomous vehicles, infrastructure modernization, traffic management, MaaS - is primarily an issue of safety. I know promoting the convenience, efficiency, sustainability, and technological advancements of the transportation sector is important (and the success of ITS pays my mortgage, I suppose), but I’m no longer just any ol’ bad driver, or employee of any ol’ association  -  I’m also a mom of two impulsive sons, boys who will one day crave that very same square of plastic I received at 16.

Or… maybe not. Perhaps my kids will happily jump into an automated shuttle that takes them wherever they please. Maybe they will hop on the nearest dockless bike. Maybe a driver’s license won’t carry the same kind of cache it did for a teen in the early '90s. Maybe my sons will still get licenses, and the luxury of advanced vehicles outfitted with technology to help avoid the situations their mother has not. Hopefully, they will make it well into adulthood without having to collect their insurance card and registration for a brief meeting with law enforcement on the side of the road.

My heart seizes at the notion of anything worse.

ITS America President and CEO Shailen Bhatt has a refrain: “We save lives. We make people’s lives better.” That is, ultimately, the very core of the organization’s mission, and something I repeat to myself throughout the workday.  In Detroit’s COBO Center June 4-7, our 2018 Annual Meeting attendees have remarkable programming to choose from, much of it focusing on how ITS is saving lives, and making those lives much, much better.

Although agenda planning is still underway for our “Transportation 2.0” event (call for papers and sessions closes March 1st!), historically, ITS America conferences have showcased a variety of sessions dealing with transportation safety:

  • Designing Safe, Useful and Trustworthy Automated Vehicles (ITS America Pittsburgh, 2015)

  • Safety Benefits of Integrated DOT/911 Dispatch System (ITS America Pittsburgh, 2015)

  • Bicycle Detection - Achieving “Vision Zero” Success (ITS America Pittsburgh, 2015)

  • Connected Vehicle Benefits for the Emergency Responder (ITS America San Jose, 2016)

  • Using ITS to Protect Motorists Against Wrong Way Drivers (ITS World Congress, 2017)

Over the next few weeks, you’ll be reading more on this blog about how topics at the Detroit conference - cyber security, traffic operations, vehicle connectivity, ride sharing, infrastructure improvements, and more - are contributing to a safer future for drivers and pedestrians.  According to NHTSA, 37,461 people were killed in 34,436 crashes in 2016, an average of 102 per day. There is a significant human cost for delaying the deployment of ITS technologies. I will breathe a sigh of relief for myself, for my friends, for my family, and for the world swirling around me when I have assistance in safely maneuvering a 5,000 pound steel behemoth.  Or better yet, when I don’t have to maneuver a car at all.

I hope to be a part of the saving. I hope to be a part of the solution. I hope to see you in Detroit.

Lindsay Shelton-Gross is Vice President of Membership and Marketing with ITS America.  Tweet all Detroit restaurant and museum recommendations to @lsheltongross.

See for Yourself: The Spirit of Detroit

On the surface, Detroit, Michigan is a perfect location to host the 2018 ITS America Annual Meeting, in recognition of our automotive heritage and leadership in developing the technologies that define America’s transportation future. What lies beneath the surface is a regional bond dedicated to reshaping a great American city. That is the Detroit I am so anxious for every participant to see - something we like to refer to as the “Spirit of Detroit.”

Spirit of Detroit.jpg

Over a half-century ago, Detroit was one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. Buoyed by our automotive industry and strong manufacturing-based economy, the Motor City was cosmopolitan, a place where families came to establish roots, where entrepreneurs came to seek their fortune, and artists to showcase their talents. That vibrancy was reflected in the Spirit of Detroit statue that was dedicated in 1958. The bronze figure was the work of renowned sculpture Marshall Fredericks and stands today on Woodward Avenue as a symbol of our character.     

Much has changed in the world over that time but, close to home, one constant remains; the pride of our residents. You see it in the faces and hear it in the voices of Metro Detroiters as we talk of our community. As someone who was born and raised here, I can assure you the experience of attending this Annual Meeting will leave you with lasting impressions of the grandeur of Detroit.  

Certainly you have heard stories about the economic struggles of Detroit and we, as a community, are working diligently to position ourselves for a prosperous future. And the recovery is well on its way.  This community certainly owes a great deal to ITS America for choosing the Motor City. I have no doubt that their decision will be rewarded.  Simply put, that’s the “Spirit of Detroit.”   

Rob Morosi is a Communications Specialist for the Michigan Department of Transportation and the chairperson for the 2018 Annual Meeting Communications Committee

ITS America Heads to Motown

The 2018 ITS Annual Meeting America Planning Committees are excited to welcome attendees of the 2018 Annual Meeting to Detroit, MI this June.

Check back as we hear from Michigan natives and transportation professionals from PlanetM, University of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and ITS America staff and members as we prep for our best annual conference ever: #ITSDetroit2018