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Getting Ground Access Information to the Traveler 193 The Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) project seeks to use map-based inter- actions to simplify the airport ground access trip itinerary planning process, while at the same time allowing for text-based data entry for users who prefer it. The project, which has been under development for several years, provides the traveler with immediate access to readily accessible information, followed by additional screens and hyperlinks to external sources only when needed and selected by the user. The project proposes that a hierarchy of screen information be provided to the traveler using the airport website: 1. The user should specify where he/she wants to go upon leaving the airport by using a single click on an interactive map (or entering the destination as text). 2. The program should quickly and briefly describe all modes of transportation that are avail- able to that general area, whether they are airport-based or traditional public transportation services. 3. The user should be able to request additional information on the chosen option(s) if needed. 4. The program should quickly provide the information that is relevant and appropriate to the service being queried. Some of this information will be stored in the airport's server; in other cases, a transfer to a second regional traveler information system will be initiated. 5. More detailed information specific to the proposed solution should be provided to the user, which can include product sales by the proposed carrier when appropriate. Passenger Information Provided by the Airport Figure 9-13 shows the opening screen of the BWI Ground Access Information System. The user is requested to specify his/her destination; this specification can occur on the Google map, using standard Google navigation procedures. The user is encouraged to click on a point "somewhere near" his/her proposed destination. More detail about geographic location can be provided later in the process if needed. Alternatively, the user may select a destination from a series of drop-down lists offered by town/city name, by WMATA MetroRail station, or by MARC commuter rail sta- tion. Beneath the drop-down lists, the user can input the zip code of the destination, if known. If the interactive map has been used, the map centers itself on the clicked destination, and a summary of immediately available information is presented for taxi, shared-ride van, bus, or rail service to the area. Rough travel times and costs are included. For each destination, the program gives a proposed fare on the shared-ride system and offers a link to the company that serves that particular zip code. On the display panel, a rail tab that brings up a second display panel is offered for the user desiring more detail about rail connections. Figure 9-14 shows an example of the content of the rail-oriented display panel, including the next four departures from Baltimore/ Washington International Airport to that destination. If the user has entered the destination by choosing a rail station specifically, the rail-oriented display panel opens first, and hyperlinks to more information are provided for the other modes. The hyperlink for automobile directions transfers the user to MapQuest, where the origin "BWI Airport" has already been entered in the request form. Passenger Information Provided by Other Agencies The program is still under development, and the project managers are now working on the issue of transfer to automated origindestination trip itinerary planners operating in areas adjacent to the airport. Ultimately, the user could be satisfied with the station-to-station level routing advice given directly by the program or choose to go to a more detailed door-to-door itinerary trip plan- ning system for his/her specified destination.
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SOURCE: Beta testing version of BWI system under development by the I-95 Corridor Coalition. Figure 9-13. The BWI ground access module allows the user to click on any destination on the interactive map, which produces options by automobile, taxi, van, and rail services. SOURCE: Beta testing version of BWI system under development by the I-95 Corridor Coalition. Figure 9-14. The airport user seeking rail information is presented with trips from BWI to the nearest commuter rail, light rail, and Amtrak stations.