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NCHRP COMMITTEE FOR PROJECT 20-5 COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF CHRISTOPHER W. JENKS, Director, Cooperative Research Programs CHAIR CRAWFORD F. JENCKS, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs CATHERINE NELSON, Oregon DOT NANDA SRINIVASAN, Senior Program Officer EILEEN DELANEY, Director of Publications MEMBERS KATHLEEN S. AMES, Illinois DOT NCHRP SYNTHESIS STAFF STUART D. ANDERSON, Texas A&M University STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and Special CYNTHIA J. BURBANK, PB Americas, Inc. Programs LISA FREESE, Scoot County (MN) Public Works Division JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and Synthesis Studies MALCOLM T. KERLEY, Virginia DOT GAIL STABA, Senior Program Officer RICHARD D. LAND, California DOT DONNA L. VLASAK, Senior Program Officer JAMES W. MARCH, Federal Highway Administration DON TIPPMAN, Editor MARK A. MAREK, Texas DOT CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant JOHN M. MASON, JR., Auburn University ANANTH PRASAD, HNTB Corporation TOPIC PANEL ROBERT L. SACK, New York State DOT TOM BATZ, Transportation Operations Coordinating FRANCINE SHAW-WHITSON, Federal Highway Committee, Jersey City, NJ Administration PETER COSTELLO, INRIX, Orlando, FL LARRY VELASQUEZ, New Mexico DOT RICHARD A. CUNARD, Transportation Research Board TIM HAZLETTE, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet K. LARRY HEAD, University of Arizona DAVID C. LIVELY, California Department of Transportation GALEN McGILL, Oregon Department of Transportation FHWA LIAISON JEAN-YVES POINT-Du-JOUR, Maryland State Highway WILLIAM ZACCAGNINO Administration RAJ S. GHAMAN, Federal Highway Administration (Liaison) BOB RUPERT, FHWA Operations Office of Transportation TRB LIAISON Management (Liaison) STEPHEN F. MAHER DENNIS CANNON, U.S. Access Board (Liaison) Cover Figure: Travel time sign (Brian Kary, Minnesota Department of Transportation).
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FOREWORD Highway administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which information already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consider- ation may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviating the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to highway administrators and engineers. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire highway commu- nity, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials--through the mechanism of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program--authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, NCHRP Proj- ect 20-5, "Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Problems," searches out and syn- thesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute an NCHRP report series, Synthesis of Highway Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. PREFACE This synthesis reports on the state of the practice in real-time traveler information systems. By Donna Vlasak Emphasis is placed on the needs and expectations of travelers, the current status of a variety of traveler information systems in the United States, available and emerging data sources, Senior Program Officer and business models for sustaining traveler information. This synthesis will benefit state Transportation DOT transportation managers and others that provide or seek to provide affordable, accu- Research Board rate, timely, and effective information in a format that travelers can use. Four major activities were undertaken in this synthesis effort. A literature review of previous studies, evaluations, and research activities was conducted. In addition, a survey was distributed to 51 unique public agencies operating traveler information systems that achieved a 65% (33/51) response rate. A third major activity performed was to observe and test as many statewide, regional, and local traveler information systems as possible. Observing content and presentation of traveler information systems allowed the consultant to avoid asking extra survey questions and allowed for map presentations to describe types of content nationwide. A fourth major activity involved a number of in-person meetings and telephone discussions with a variety of transportation professionals representing both public and private sector industries with experience in either research, operating, or evalu- ating traveler information systems. Dean Deeter, Athey Creek Consultants, West Linn, Oregon, collected and synthesized the information and wrote the report. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand.
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