The Inform Project followed the ENTERPRISE Simple Solutions project and focused on disseminating the cost effective, low tech solutions for rural transportation community through the development of a website. Through the Inform web site, local agencies could enter information either on the local characteristics or the recognized needs of their area. Based on user input, the Internet site recommended and offered information on those simple solutions most applicable to the local agency. The web site proved to be very popular, receiving thousands of hits and dozens of serious inquiries from rural transportation professionals. Through it, ENTERPRISE provided a much-needed link between the ITS community and rural transportation professionals.
Inform also promoted the simple solutions and ITS through the network of Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) / Technology Transfer (T2) centers. The centers in some ENTERPRISE states were used to provide feedback on the scope and the “look and feel” of the web site, and to disseminate the simple solutions to their constituents. In total, there were thousands of individual project descriptions and full Simple Solution reports distributed in the United States and Canada, and the Inform project was a major success story.
Inform Next Step
Now that rural communities had access to ITS solutions that they can implement, the logical next step was to make widespread rural ITS a reality. To facilitate that, the Inform Next Step project helped rural transportation professionals identify a wider range of potential applications, plan ITS strategies and utilize the national ITS architecture and the applicable standards by enhancing the Inform website. Strong, usable tools provided all rural planners with the ability to create cohesive plans that build strength by integrating different ITS elements and existing infrastructure. By ensuring architecture compliance, ENTERPRISE and the FHWA promoted system compatibility among various rural jurisdictions that might not have the time or money to work together to achieve it on their own.
Project Duration: 1997-2001