Real time information showing current conditions and scheduled construction is available in many jurisdictions in electronic form. As the Internet’s worldwide web becomes more popular it is being utilized increasingly by jurisdictional governments to provide real-time information for travel planning. Many states, provinces and smaller county and city agencies have established such Internet sites.
There were no formal means for the various traveler information worldwide web sites to interact or coordinate. Existing systems used ad hoc technologies which were not easily portable to different locations and system configurations. Typical system installations were built independently in their jurisdictions and lacked integration between agencies for specific information exchanges or links. Additionally, existing systems did not adequately address multi-modal needs or the special needs of emergency vehicles, including police, fire and ambulance services in urban and rural areas.
As more traveler information sites became available to the public, formats for data exchange between jurisdictions, for links to other sites, and for displays that are understandable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction made the traveler information more effective and attractive to the public.
Internet Applications examined the current and proposed uses of the Internet as a tool for providing pre-trip planning information to travelers and for exchanging data between transportation professionals. Users benefited significantly from the coordination of websites through time savings and by being provided with more, and better, information.
In many cases, there were larger jurisdictions that contained many smaller organizations that each had their own traveler information websites. These entities may have all benefited from the sharing of information but had no architecture or standards to do so. Also, adjacent jurisdictions may have benefited greatly from sharing information from their websites. Because of the speed data can be sent over the Internet and because of the already developed infrastructure, it proved to be a very effective method for transportation professionals to exchange transportation related information.
This project proposed to develop the tools that will enable jurisdictions to coordinate sites and be able to exchange a variety of data in a standard format
Task 1 – Website Program Review
ENTERPRISE studied the layout and information presentation of existing Internet sites. This included examining the tools used to link the sites to other sources of information, the types of information presented and the format for presentation.
Task 2 – Website Architecture Documentation
ENTERPRISE designed an architecture for sites. This structure defined the levels for data exchange among traveler information websites as well as defined linking tools between Internet sites.
Task 3 – Data Exchange Standards
Based on the needs and uses of the Internet for providing users with information, standards were developed for data exchange. These standards encompassed data exchange standards including standards for graphical, tabular and textual information as well as communication protocols.
Task 4 – Traveler Information Site Coordination
ENTERPRISE coordinated the traveler information sites by identifying existing and planned sites. Samples of icons and useful tools gathered during the study were made available from this site.