Please find below a list — albeit non-exhaustive — of commonly used acronyms and terms in the ITS domain.

ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control):

Cruise control system that uses sensors to automatically maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, adapting to speed changes, etc.

ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems):

In-vehicle technologies designed to improve vehicle safety by aiding the driver, such as collision avoidance, curve warning, distance control, etc.

AFS (Advanced Frontline System):

Concept of intelligent lighting, according to curves, weather and speed

AHS (Automated Highway System):

Research initiative aimed at developing automatic guidance on motorways for vehicles using cruise control

AID (Automatic Incident Detection):

Radar- or video-controlled system enabling rapid location of an incident or accident on tunnels and motorways

ALERT (Advice and problem Location for European Road Traffic):

Protocol used for traffic messages by RDS-TMC

AMI-C (Automotive Multimedia Interface Consortium):

Non-profit corporation of worldwide vehicle manufacturers which aims to develop a set of common specifications for a multimedia interface to motor vehicle electronic systems to accommodate a variety of computer-based electronic devices in the vehicle


Application Programming Interfaces


Application Specific Integrated Circuit

AVI (Automated Vehicle Identification):

A system which transmits signals from an on-board tag or transponder to roadside receivers for uses such as electronic toll collection (ETC) and stolen vehicle recovery

AVL (Automated Vehicle Location):

Location system, in particular for buses and heavy-goods vehicles, used widely in fleet management utilising technologies such as GSM, GPS and Internet

BAS (Brake Assist System):

Safety system amplifying the brake force in case of emergency

CAN (Controlled Area Network):

Data bus which enables computerised exchanges in a high bandwidth

CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation):

European Standardisation Committee

DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting):

Standard which enables the high-quality transmission of text, data and sound at a higher data rate

DARC (Data Radio Channel):

A digital data transmission method using FM radio that is compatible with RDS and offers a higher bit rate (10 kbits/s)

DATEX (Data Exchange Network):

Agreement between European traffic centres to exchange traffic and travel information

Digital Tachograph:

An electronic system fitted to commercial vehicles to record driver information and details about driving time and distance

DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication):

Standard enabling data transmission at a frequency of 5.8 GHz


European Commission

EDI (Electronic Data Interchange):

A standard form of electronic communication used mainly for electronic commerce and document interchange

EFC (Electronic Fee Collection):

A system that enables automatic debiting/payment for a transport service without any action from the user at the moment of use - example: automatic toll collection

EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service):

A positioning system designed to augment satellite navigation systems and which will ultimately form part of the Galileo satellite navigation system; typically used for air applications

ESP (Electronic Stability Program):

Safety function linked to brake sensors and traction control which enables cars to correct their trajectory on slippery roads and curves

FCD (Floating Car Data):

Floating car data are gathered from vehicles equipped with appropriate sensors (such as whether windscreen wipers are activated or the vehicle's location and speed) and then passed to traffic management centres that can evaluate this information for general traffic trends


The European contribution to the Global Navigation Satellite System; full operational capability planned for 2008

GATS (Global Automotive Telematics Standard):

Open standard to enable a full range of traffic information and other telematics services

GIS (Geographic Information Systems):

Data management system designed to collect, analyse and report geographic and demographic information

GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System):

The combined total of all satellite navigation and positioning systems operating around the world and offering signal reception worldwide

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service):

Standard for data transmission by packet, with a speed of 64 Kbits/s

GPS (Global Positioning System):

US satellite positioning system used to pinpoint geographic locations worldwide

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications):

Digital cellular telephony system used in ITS services such as traffic information, emergency call and fleet management

HMI (Human Machine Interface):

Previously know as man-machine interface (MMI); means by which a user interacts with a machine and includes simple and advanced functions such as voice recognition, speech synthesis and touch screens


The ability to move between two or more modes of transport



ISA (Intelligent Speed Adaptation):

Systems designed to alert drivers when they exceed the speed limit or are travelling dangerously slow, with some systems also offering dynamic correction capabilities


International Standards Organisation

ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems and Services):

Any system or service that makes the movement of people or goods more efficient and economical, thus more "intelligent"

LBS (Location-Based Services):

Services that depend on knowing the user's location to deliver user-specific information, such as real-time traffic updates or point-of-interest data

MAGIC (Mobile Automotive Geographic Information Core):

An industry consortium established to develop and promote an open industry specification for delivering navigation, telematics and related geographic information services across multiple networks, platforms, and devices

MOST Cooperation:

Cooperation between car manufacturers and OEM suppliers to develop a low cost, high bandwidth solution for data and multimedia in-vehicle applications


On-Board Unit


personal computer

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant):

Small, hand-held devices offering functions similar to a personal computer (though limited); also now offering access to some ITS services

RDS (Radio Data System):

Digital channel transmitted within the FM radio wavelength used to relay traffic messages


Radio Data Systems incorporating a Traffic Message Channel

Road pricing:

Use of smart card technology or simple tags to charge road users based on criteria such as demand, congestion, time, or distance


Short Messsage Service


Combination of telecommunications and informatics

TMC (Traffic Message Channel):

Digital channel used to provide silent, coded messages to in-vehicle applications in order to display route and traffic information in a user's native language

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System):

Standard for third-generation digital cellular telephony which enables users to receive video and audio on mobile phones

VMS (Variable Message Signs):

Roadside message displays used for traffic control and information

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol):

Standard which brings Internet content to mobile phones

WIM (Weigh In Motion):

A technology for determining the weight of a commercial vehicle without requiring it to stop on a scale, using AVI to identify the vehicles and other technologies to measure the dynamic tire forces of a moving vehicle and then estimate the corresponding static weight


Extended Floating Car Data

Is there an ITS acronym or term missing from this list? Please e-mail with your suggestions!