Canadian road authorities face a number of unique challenges due to factors including the country’s vast and varying geography and sometimes harsh climate, a high degree of urbanization, and the significant rate of cross-border trade with the U.S. To begin responding to such challenges, Canadian road authorities have employed and adopted robust Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), Operational Technologies (OT), and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) to provide improved safety and efficiency to road users. These are collectively referred to as Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). Today’s road transportation system is a combination of legacy technology like ramp metering systems and networked traffic signals and newer developments like Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), Bluetooth detection, high definition video and data analytics.
While traditionally, legacy systems were closed, not wirelessly accessible, and electro-mechanical rather than computerized, increased connectivity capabilities via the Internet have brought these systems online. In turn, this has created new considerations related to cybersecurity practices and procedures. Because of the critical role that road transportation networks play for our country and our economy, we need to increasingly focus on ensuring that this very infrastructure is reliable and effective — and with the increasing permeation of digital technology across our economy, questions of cybersecurity and digital needs pertaining to these systems must be brought to the forefront.