More and More Acronyms

The ITS space has so many acronyms...even the name of our industry is an acronym. Most niches have esoteric acronyms, but because each state seems to want to invent its own nomenclature, our industry gets to have at least 3 different acronyms for the same thing. Most folks don't like the FHWA coming in and telling us what to do. However, this is one instance where the feds stepping in and defining some common language would be welcome. It'd be great to know we're referring to the same thing, but after much pleading, we haven't gotten far down that road. So in the meantime, lets go through some of the most common ones and identify the overlaps.

Smart Work Zone Related

An ITS-enabled work zone consisting of sensors and automated messaging based on travel conditions, most commonly displayed on message signs. These terms can be used interchangeably:

  • IWZ (Intelligent Work Zone)
  • SWZ (Smart Work Zone)
  • AWIS (Automated Work zone Information System)
  • RTTM (Real Time Traffic Management system)
  • ATMS (Automated Traveler Management System)
  • ATIS (Advanced Traffic Information System)
Message Signs

An electronic sign that displays information to motorists (portable or non)

  • CMS Changeable Message Sign
  • DMS Dynamic Message Sign
  • VMS Variable Message Sign

Add a P in front of any of those to denote a portable, trailer-based device.

Traffic Sensors
  • PTS Portable Traffic Sensor
  • RTMS Remote Traffic Microwave Sensor
  • NITDS Non-Intrusive Traffic Detection System
  • PVS Portable Vehicle Sensor

HAR Highway Advisory Radio. Used in many states for permanent applications, and in a few for portable deployments. They broadcast pertinent messages on an AM radio station.

PNS Public Notification System - Used in various states to mean...various things. California uses it to report the misuse of its agency vehicles. Arkansas uses it to denote the combination of a HAR and flashing beacon signs. Very different things, but the same acronym.

CCTV Closed Circuit TeleVision - easy one.

POE - power over ethernet. This allows you to connect to a device and provide power and communications with one cable. It typically requires a "poe injector" that sits in between your device and the communications network (cell modem, fiber optic switch, etc).