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5.0 Technical Support Resources I .

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5.0 Technical Support Resources This section describes some support services 0'nformation and software) which could be unkind by transportation professionals to improve their access and understanding of secondary information. Such resources have been included In our research because oftheir value to Me transportation professional In aggregating and disseminating transportation related statistics and information. These resources may assist transportation planners to more quicldy acquire and understand data identified through the siege assessment evaluation. Resources identified. include: . . Center for Microcomputers in Transportation:' In may 1986, FLEA established the Center for Microcomputers In Transportation (McT~ns) to serve as a resource for Be distribution and support of microcomputer software. McT~ns replaced three FHWA centers: Microcomputer Applications in Highway Projects (MA"), Microcomputers in Transportation Planning APE, and Safetr.and Typic En~eenng Applications for Microcomputers (STEAM), as wed as He Urban Mess Transportation Adm~nishation's Transit Industry Microcomputer Exchange ~ME) Support Center. McTrar~s represents aD funchonal areas under He purview of FHWA and UMTA and is self- supported by user fees. McT~ns membership has reached over 18,000 worldwide and He catalog now contains more Can 250 Portion packages. They also maintain a technical assistance hotline, publish the Software ~ Source Book, which identifies software and information sources in the transportation eng~neermg field, and are actively involved m software maintenance. PC-TRANS:2 Established in 1986 by He University of Kansas ~ Transportation Center, PC-TRANS exists to help ~sportation engineers, planners, administrators, and transit providers find specialized microcomputer applications and software. Moor areas addressed by the center include. highway engineering, regional and ruM transportation planning, traffic engineering and safety, and transit operations. PC-TRANS originally published a newsletter, PC-TRANSmisQon, which has now become a magaz ne format published 10 times a year. They also published the 1991 PCs in Trar7~porf~ion Software Directory. The directory contains infonnation on more Man 500 software products and sources of sof~vareinfonnatio~ PC-TRANS also works closely wad He Federal Highway Admirustration (FHWA) to help facilitate the distribution of software developed Trough FlIWA programs. Finally, the KU Technology Transfer Program has 1Wallace, Charles E. And W.M. Sampson. "MATS National Technology Resource", 1TE Journal. April 1991, pp. 35-37. Minor, Carl. "PC-TRANS - Lending a lIelpfill Hand", Ace; Journal. April 1991, p.39. 51

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provided an ideal medium for presenting short courses and workshops covering microcomputer applications for the transportation professional. . BTS Statistical Information Line - 800/853-1351. The BTS has established a toD-8ee number designated to answer public inquires relating to transportation information. The information line specializes in providing referrals to the proper individual/organi~tion and is shed Dom 8:15 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, ET. After hours arid on weekends, cans are received electron~caby and acknowledged the foDowung day. National Vehicle Detector Test Center - Although not yet operational due to limping, the test center is proposed to address the need for standardization, certification, and information sharing related to vehicle detection technologies. The center is designed to be used! to both users and vendors. One of the primary benefits of the center was to save agencies the expense and time of testing equipment before it is implemented, as wed as avoid the duplication of multiple agencies testing the same technology. The status of the center is unknown. Inquiries can be made to Ralph GiDmann, Office of Information Management, Federal Highway Administration - (202)-366-5042, fax- (202)-366-7742. Vehicle Detector Clearinghouse - The clearinghouse has been established as an inters step towards the test center described above. The mission of the clearinghouse would be to provide information, particularly product test results, to transportation agencies on the capabilities of commercially available vehicle detectors. The clearinghouse would also be used to advance the development of standard test protocols. The status of the clearinghouse can be obtained by contacting Ralph Gilimann, Office of Information Management, Federal Highway AdmLnistration - (202)-366-5042, fax- (202)-366-7742. 52