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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Travinfo Evalution (technology Element) Traveler Information Center (tic) Study (september 1996 - June 1997)


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 June 30, 1997 with respect to the system reliability , communications interface and operator interface elements of the evaluation of the TIC. System reliability examines system failures, including their initial symptoms, causes and duration. The communications interface examines TIC data access on the part of both the public and private sectors. Operator interface investigates the human element by considering the role of the operator in the flow of information through the TIC, the operators' tasks and responsibilities and the operators' physical working environment. With respect to system reliability, during the period of investigation (January-June 1997), a total of seventy-three problems originated within the TIC, eighty-nine percent of which originated within the primary TIC program, TransView. 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 June 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. Private sector access of data, via the Landline Data System, has also been quite limited. From November 1996 to June 1997, only three ISPs downloaded data on a continuous basis, one of which downloaded 95% of all data during this reporting period. The operator's role in the flow of information through the TIC has been crucial both in terms of data entry and data interpretation and prioritization. The two most time-consuming data sources are the California Highway Patrol's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and Metro Network's airborne reports that respectively utilize approximately 57% and 26% of all operator time. Key Words: TravInfo, traveler information center, evaluation, traveler information, information service providers, advanced traveler information systems

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