ENTERPRISE member agencies use a variety of tools and approaches to inform travelers about conditions on the roadways, including Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) and traffic flow maps on internet dissemination websites. The impacts of these tools are not clearly understood. While the public response to these dissemination tools has been very positive, there remains minimal solid evidence about the travel pattern changes caused by these messages or the impacts on other routes. Based upon the ENTERPRISE Travel Time Best Practices project, in nearly every state deployed, the travel time reports have received very positive feedback, and perhaps the value lies in informing travelers of conditions ahead, regardless of whether they divert.
ENTERPRISE recognized the need for additional research on the impacts of traveler information and approved the “Impacts of Traveler Information on the Overall Network Project” to focus on understanding the impacts that travel time message displays (web and roadside) have on the network.
To determine the impacts of travel times, on-line surveys were created and linked to the traveler information portion of the Minnesota and Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) websites to gather feedback from travelers regarding their use of travel time information displayed on the web and on roadside DMS.
In addition to surveying travelers’ opinions, historical travel time displays on DMS together with related traffic volume data (from locations downstream of the DMS) from the Minnesota and Washington State networks were analyzed.
This ENTERPRISE Project was highlighted in the July/August 2013 ITS International publication.