Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre, along with Paul Robichaud, New Brunswick Minister of Transportation, today announced the signing of two contribution agreements between the Government of Canada and the Province of New Brunswick for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the province. Under the first contribution agreement, $429,100 of federal funding has been allocated for the installation of Road Weather Information Systems along the National Highway System in New Brunswick. Up to 14 weather stations will be constructed to measure atmospheric and pavement temperatures. The data will help provincial authorities to make informed decisions on whether road treatment is necessary, the best time to apply de-icing chemicals to the road and how much to use. This will lead to improved driving conditions and enhanced safety for travellers. “The agreement for the acquisition and installation of Road Weather Information Systems stations is one of several that will establish a cross-Canada integrated network of information systems providing critical weather information for road maintenance crews," said Mr. Lapierre. "These new technologies will increase economic productivity while enhancing road safety and travel efficiency.” Road Weather Information Systems are automated weather reporting stations with special sensors embedded in and below the road, and on nearby towers. These systems collect detailed data on weather conditions at and near the road surface, which can assist weather forecasters in predicting icing conditions. Road Weather Information Systems are a joint provincial, territorial, Transport Canada and Environment Canada program to provide Canadians with road weather information. “Environment Canada’s Meteorological Service is directed toward one goal: to provide the best and most useful weather information possible to ensure the health, safety and security of Canadians," said Minister of the Environment, Stephane Dion. "This system will not only save lives but will also help reduce the usage of road salts, thereby protecting our environment.” Transport Canada is concluding funding negotiations with the provinces and territories for the development of a cross-Canada Road Weather Information Systems network. The department will pay up to 50 per cent of eligible costs relating to the acquisition and installation of the system components, subject to the successful conclusion of contribution agreements with the provinces and territories, which are expected to pay the balance and the ongoing operation and maintenance costs. As a condition of funding, provinces and territories are also required to enter into a data-sharing agreement with Environment Canada. Under the second contribution agreement announced today, the Province of New Brunswick has established a partnership with the University of New Brunswick’s Transportation Group that will lead to the creation of a National Centre for Rural ITS Research and Development. The initial research projects are in the areas of work zone safety and rural rail safety, traveller information systems and commercial vehicle operations planning. The total cost of these projects is $613,900, with Transport Canada providing $291,400. The Province and the University will partner on these projects with stakeholders including Maritime Road Development Corporation, International Road Dynamics and New Brunswick Southern Railway Company Ltd. “The National Centre for Rural ITS Research and Development will provide a venue to foster ITS development and expertise in New Brunswick," said Mr. Robichaud. "It will also contribute to road and rail safety through innovation and technology, while further developing partnerships between federal, provincial, academic and private transportation stakeholders.” Federal funding will be provided under the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP), a $600 million program to improve highway infrastructure across Canada. Part of the SHIP funding – $100 million – is for initiatives that better integrate the country’s transportation system. One of these is the ITS initiative, which includes applications such as advanced systems for traveller information, traffic management, public transport, commercial vehicle operations, emergency response management, and vehicle safety. Funding for this program is built into the existing financial framework.