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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Trav Info Evaluation (Technology Element ) Traveler Information Center (TIC) Study: System Reliability and Communications Interface

  • Author(s): Miller, Mark
  • Loukakos, Dimitri
  • et al.

TravInfo is a Field Operational Test of advanced traveler information systems for the San Francisco Bay Area, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The project involves a public/private partnership which seeks to compile, integrate and broadly disseminate timely and accurate multi-modal traveler information through commercial products and services. The public sector component centers on the Traveler Information Center (TIC), which collects and integrates both static and dynamic traveler information. The TIC began operations in September 1996 and will operate as an FOT through September of 1998. Private sector participation includes Information Service Providers (ISPs), who refine the information and disseminate it to end users. This report documents the evaluation of the TIC performed from September 1, 1996 (date at which TravInfo went on-line) through December 31 1997 with respect to the system reliability and communications interface elements. Particular emphasis is placed on the period between July and December 1997 and the BART strike during September 1997. System reliability examines system failures. The communications interface examines TIC data access on the part of both the public and private sectors. With respect to system reliability, during July to December 1997, a total of thirty-eight internal and non-recurring TIC problems occurred. Eighty-four percent of all problems were either critical or major in severity. Approximately three-fourths of all problems were located in the Processing subsystem. Sixty percent of all problems were associated with TransView, the primary TIC software program. The publicly available traveler information phone service, Traveler Advisory Telephone System (TATS), recorded a fairly constant monthly call volume of between 50,000 and 60,000 calls during the reporting period of September 1996 through December 1997, with the exception of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) strike (September 1997). AC Transit alone contributed approximately 55% of the overall call volume throughout the reporting period. On average, for Oakland, the busiest regional system, approximately 3% of the TATS system capacity was utilized. The BART strike had a significant effect on overall call volume only during September 1997. Overall, however, the BART strike did not have any lasting effect on overall TATS call volume. The overall call volume went from 57,730 in August to 196,606 during September and then decreased to the "normal" level of 56,589 in October. Private sector access of data, via the Landline Data System, has also been quite limited. From November 1996 to December 1997, only three ISPs downloaded data on a continuous basis, one of which downloaded approximately 90% of all data during this reporting period. Key Words: TravInfo, traveler information center, evaluation, traveler information, information service providers, advanced traveler information systems

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