System providers have deployed a number of technology components and systems that are proven abroad. However, Indian traffic conditions are different with a high level of vehicle heterogeneity and lack of lane discipline. There is a need to determine which ITS components and principles that are successful abroad work well in India and identify what needs to be customised or even original R&D to be carried out to make them work here. The procurement culture in India is conservative and authorities stay away from cutting edge products; everybody wants to deploy solutions and components that have worked elsewhere. This puts innovation driven ITS companies in India in a fix as obtaining test beds for new products is difficult; it is like a chicken and egg situation.
Dr Krishnan feels that a few forward looking cities should open up less critical parts of their road network for deploying and testing innovative products giving the industry a real-world test beds for their new products. The cities also stand to benefit as they get to try latest products that are often calibrated or customised for their specific traffic conditions.
ITS has been around in India at least since ASIAD-1982 when synchronised traffic signals were installed in Delhi.
- Intelligent traffic signals for urban traffic management,
- Highway Traffic Management Systems (HTMS) for some sections of National Highways,
- ITS for public transport such as GPS tracking of buses, e-ticketing and traveller information systems, and
- ITS for safety and enforcement such as red-light violation detection systems, speed-limit violation detection systems and e-challaning systems.
There are a number of installations of these types of systems that are at least moderately successful. There is a community of ITS specialists and companies with expertise in ITS, which bodes well for the future of ITS in the country.