ENTERPRISE does more than share ideas, it produces results. Since 1992, the group has been addressing transportation problems by consistently creating effective solutions. Each of the thirteen member agencies choose the project’s direction, evaluate its progress, and utilize its outcomes, gaining from the exponential benefits of collaboration.
Unlike other organizations, ENTERPRISE has no preconceived results or agendas. Projects can develop naturally, changing their focus when required, to take advantage of new ideas.
At the 1993 Rural ITS Conference in Keystone Colorado , Dr Cunningham as representative of the medical community spoke about the need to reduce the time required for emergency responders to be notified of stranded vehicles and to understand the location of such vehicles. The ENTERPRISE member states responded to this call to action by agreeing that emergency notification “Mayday” projects were a high priority for the group. The ENTERPRISE group has been involved in Mayday efforts in various ways since 1993, and a summary of these activities is as follows:
The Mayday concept is comprised of an in-vehicle emergency notification and location system combined with adequate facilities on the response side. Mayday systems reduce the time it takes emergency service responders to reach crash victims via manual or automated incident and accident reporting systems.
Starting 1994, there were three active FHWA-sponsored operational tests of approaches and technologies to accomplish the Mayday vision. One of these projects (the Colorado Mayday Project) was co-sponsored by the ENTERPRISE Program and performed in the ENTERPRISE member state of Colorado . This test proved that the best suited location service would be an on-board GPS based facility that could determine the map position of the vehicle., Another (the Puget Sound Help Me project) was performed in the ENTERPRISE state of Washington . This test complemented the results of the Colorado one giving relevant information about the weakness of simple GPS positioning; more information is needed like direction of travel and type of vehicle to expedite the response. Beyond the three federally funded Mayday projects, Minnesota sponsored an additional project called Mayday Plus. This showed how the response side of the Mayday service does require arrangements for PSAP, EMS and other operators. Also the value of an open voice communication became obvious. With three of the four active Mayday operational tests occurring in ENTERPRISE member states, the ENTERPRISE Consortium organized and funded the Multi-Jurisdictional Mayday (MJM) Project.
The mission of the MJM group was to ease the entry of public and private sector agencies into the Mayday arena. At the time that MJM was initiated, no private sector telematics or Mayday-type services were commercially available. The MJM group met for approximately 3 years, with two key activities:
- Provided a forum to coordinate the evaluations being performed on all four Mayday operational tests, which allowed each evaluator to benefit from the experiences, data collected and conclusions of the other evaluators; and Provided a forum for public meetings in which all active public and private entities with an interest in Mayday delivery could come together and advance the industry.
- The evaluation coordination helped to advance each individual project, and led to more thorough evaluations with the limited budgets of each project. However, the greatest benefits came from the public forum meetings that for the first time brought together agencies such as GM Onstar and the Mayo Clinic, as well as other State DOTs interested in eventually having active Mayday systems in vehicles traveling within the state.
Among other things, this early MJM project helped facilitate a discussion between the medical providers and the commercial providers who now offer Mayday products and services to travellers across the country. One tangible benefit of this project is that it began the dialog that has resulted in several states (including ENTERPRISE member states Minnesota and Iowa ) receiving a direct data feed from the Onstar call center. When Onstar-equipped vehicles in these states are involved in accidents, the data is transmitted by Onstar to the state for viewing on a map display.
The Enterprise work on Mayday has furthered the national deployment of e-911 services and the results also found a response in Europe where the European Commission started a similar arrangement. A very valuable result of the “real live” Mayday tests was that they gave the convincing proof that lead to the agreement that in Europe there will be a direct link for any emergency call from the vehicle to the PSAP.
ENTERPRISE member agencies deploy and use a wide variety of ITS field equipment. The development of NTCIP communications standards will offer a tremendous benefit to these member agencies by facilitating the interoperability of systems and equipment. Many ENTERPRISE member states have begun including NTCIP compliance as a requirement in the procurement process, but lacked an effective method for testing systems or hardware for NTCIP compliance. The ‘Integrating NTCIP Compliant Hardware‘ (INCH) project is regarded as a true success story within ENTERPRISE because it gave not only ENTERPRISE members, but also the entire ITS industry, a tool to effectively, quickly, and efficiently test NTCIP compliance.
In addition to outlining NTCIP specifications, INCH has provided insight into the procurement, installation and testing of NTCIP-compliant devices and summarized the experience that has already been gained from those already working with these standards. Until recently, agencies deploying NTCIP-compliant equipment have relied on compliance testing procedures that are complicated and manually intensive. INCH has developed software to simplify the process of NTCIP compliance testing, reducing required testing time by 50-75%. Additionally, INCH has provided hands-on training to further aid agencies with NTCIP-compliant deployment.
As INCH provides ENTERPRISE members with verification that hardware is being procured in compliance with NTCIP, deployments are hitting the mark in terms of performance, and large amounts of time and capital are being saved.
“Because of the ENTERPRISE INCH project, we were able to quickly determine which dynamic message signs were NTCIP compliant, and which were not. This allowed us to work with our vendor to bring all signs to compliance, and our procurement of signs is much more effective now.”
– Manny Agah, Arizona DOT
Over the last decade, more and more states have been deploying Road and Weather Information Systems (R/WIS), with the goal of providing weather and road surface conditions to public officials, travelers, and state maintenance crews. In the early 1990s, there were few facilitated discussions between the weather monitoring and forecasting industry and the transportation industry. ENTERPRISE recognized the importance of initiating discussion between weather monitoring and prediction vendors and state DOTs, specifically for the ability to reach consensus on common ITS standards for weather data exchange.
The 1995 ENTERPRISE project titled “Weather and Road Information Coordination – WRIC” organized a workshop, which brought together the weather vendors, the State DOT Maintenance and Traveler Information officials, and other key weather industry professionals such as NOAA’s National Weather Service. The workshop was open to public and private participants, and the sessions facilitated a dialog around the need for and approach towards developing standards for the exchange of weather data.
Several things were initiated by this early ENTERPRISE project:
- The discussions and conclusions of the workshop helped to establish the need for an organized weather forum, which was a contributing factor to the formation of the Aurora Program;
- The workshop initiated a three way dialog between the weather vendor industry, the standards development organizations, and the State DOT maintenance and traveler information professionals;
- The workshop helped three ENTERPRISE member states realize the need for manual entry of weather events and maintenance in response to events, which contributed to the formation of the Condition Acquisition and Reporting System (CARS) Consortium, which has now grown to 15 states.
The weather monitoring and prediction industry has changed considerably since 1995, when the WRIC project funded efforts to bring all agencies together. Currently, ITS standards (particularly NTCIP) allow State DOTs to purchase interoperable weather monitoring devices. The amount of weather data that is now integrated into maintenance decision support processes and into traveler information systems has also increased.
ENTERPRISE members are currently researching a wide range of technologies and their applications. The group remain focussed on bringing together understanding and free thinking to solve problems affecting the transportation industry today and in the future.