Participate in truckers' meetings to advertise new freight advanced traveler information systems, communicate changes in existing systems, and obtain feedback from stakeholders.

Experience in mobility management and freight data in Washington State

January 2003
Seattle,Washington,United States; Tacoma,Washington,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

A Field Operational Test (FOT) of freight ITS technologies included a secondary demonstration of small-scale congestion management systems deployed at the Port of Tacoma and Port of Seattle. The deployments were designed to reduce the increasing levels of freight traffic and congestion at the ports' gates and access routes by providing real-time traffic information in time for truck drivers to alter their routes and thereby avoid congested ramps and exits. The system at the Port of Tacoma used a queue detection system on the off ramp and a beacon sign north of the exit. If the system detected a back-up on the ramp, it triggered an alert at the local WSDOT traffic operations center for monitoring staff. The staff determined through visual observation of traffic cameras if an alternate exit had sufficient capacity, and if so, activated a beacon sign to notify truck drivers to use the alternate exit. For the Port of Seattle, the WSDOT installed several video cameras at terminal roadway approaches. The video feeds were integrated into the regional traffic Websites and also made available to trucking companies.
  • Participate in truckers' group meetings to exchange information about traveler information systems. Much can be gained for state DOTs and local transportation agencies to participate in truckers' group meetings. Attending these meetings produces the possibility for ongoing feedback, with the transportation agencies providing updates on system status and truckers providing feedback on the value of the systems and where they can be improved.
  • Ensure that deployment of traffic cameras is accompanied by an outreach and advertising effort. The deployment of camera system for the Port of Seattle was not advertised formally or announced with an advertising campaign. Rather, outreach was informal, having been conducted by regional trucking companies that attended the quarterly port truckers' group meetings. Nonetheless, the deployed system had a greater than expected usage. For example, in July 2002, the website showed approximately 2,000 hits on each camera. The evaluators suggest however that a formal or a comprehensive promotion of the cameras would be beneficial. Note that motor carriers and shippers and receivers also used the cameras to investigate reasons for delay. The cameras enabled these customers to confirm reported conditions, identify reasons for delay, and communicate this information with drivers.
  • Beware that integrating new technology into operations is likely to add complexity to the dispatching task. Dispatchers use multiple information sources in the course of the decision-making activities involved in dispatching. Adding additional sources, such as the three video streams in the Port of Seattle, can be burdensome and demand more resources. The cameras in this deployment were well integrated into the regional traffic management system in the Seattle area, but in the design and deployment of a system it is important to be cognizant of the impact on the dispatchers.
  • When designing and deploying an ATIS designated for freight, closely coordinate with stakeholders when selecting locations for the key components of the system. The WSDOT worked closely with the Port of Tacoma on selecting the location for the queue detection system, the beacon sign that informed drivers of the alternate route, and the selection of the alternate paths.
  • Be aware that the usefulness of the system may increase or decrease over time, due to changes that occur outside the system. The development of the Port of Tacoma ATIS overlapped with a reconstruction project at the Port of Tacoma Road and route 509 interchange. By the time the ATIS was deployed, the traffic congestion it was to address had been alleviated by the interchange re-construction. In addition, freight congestion overall was lower from 2000 to 2002. However, forecasts of traffic call for a 52 percent increase between 1998 and 2018. It is anticipated that the ATIS at the Port of Tacoma will increase as traffic volumes increase.

Applying the above lessons learned in the deployment of freight-oriented ATIS supports freight mobility goals and customer satisfaction goals.

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WSDOT Intermodal Data Linkages Freight ITS Operational Test Evaluation Final Report - Part 2: Freight ITS Traffic Data Evaluation.

Author: M. Jensen , M. Williamson , R. Sanchez, A. Newton, C. Mitchell, and Mark Hallenbeck

Published By: United States Department of Transportation

Source Date: January 2003

EDL Number: 13781

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/4218

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Lesson ID: 2011-00569