Provide traveler information in rural areas to allow for good travel decisions in inclement weather and construction season.

Oregon DOTs experience with rural traveler information systems.

November 2001
Oregon,United States

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Lesson Learned

This lesson is about Oregon DOT’s experience with providing traveler information in rural areas. Many agencies did not recognize until recently the need or potential benefits to providing traveler information in rural areas. Providing traveler information in rural locations has proven to be very valuable in terms of reduced user delay and safety benefits. The need for such information to the public is particularly important in order for them to avoid construction congestion during summer months and to travel safely during the winter months. Oregon DOT’s experience in providing traveler information in the rural areas via 511 telephone services and Web-based services are presented below.
  • While designing your 511 services, consider the contingency of being overwhelmed with high call volume during inclement weather conditions. Customer satisfaction is key to a successful traveler information system. Agencies have experienced over-whelming response to their phone based traveler information system during peak weather periods, resulting in over-run systems often leading to user dissatisfaction.
  • Recognize the costs associated with maintaining an up to date Web-based traveler information service. Oregon DOT has utilized web-based technologies to provide state wide traveler information for many years. The TripCheck System was designed to allow ODOT personnel from anywhere in the state to enter information into the on-line system. The de-centralized system has proven to be a success. The costs to maintain the TripCheck site annually is approximately $117,000 which does not include the time of ODOT personnel to enter the information into the system or the cost to gather the information from the field. The public has embraced the system and user sessions top 350,000 during peak periods in the winter months and average 100-200,000 during non-peak periods. Challenges noted include the need to recognize the costs associated with maintaining an up to date system. Without accurate, timely information, the public will recognize the weaknesses of the system and discontinue use.
  • Provide e-mail address on your traveler information Web site and assign staff hours to respond to the received emails. To maintain good relations with the public, agencies should consider providing an e-mail address for users to communicate with the host agency and also provide staff-hours for personnel to respond to received e-mails.
  • Include costs of advertising of rural traveler information systems. Advertising of rural traveler information systems, through road-side signs, television and radio ads, is recommended and should be included in project budgets.

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Rural ITS Toolbox

Author: Deeter, D., H. M. Zarean, and D. Register

Published By: U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: November 2001

EDL Number: 13477

Other Reference Number: FHWA-OP-01-030

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Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Aimee Flannery, Ph.D., P.E.
George Mason University

Lesson Analyst:

Firoz Kabir


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Benefits From This Source

In Colorado, a downhill truck speed warning system installed on a curved section of I-70 reduced 85th percentile truck speeds by 27 percent.

Costs From This Source

A bicycle safety system was installed for $5,000 at a tunnel near Chelan, Washington.

A Minnesota integrated communications system project to share application of ITS across transportation, public safety, and transit agencies cost just over $1.5 million.

A pedestrian safety system was deployed in downtown Boulder, Colorado; total project cost ranged from $8,000 to $16,000.

A variable speed limit system consisting of multiple ITS components and covering 40 miles over the Snoqualmie Pass in Washington was designed and implemented for $5 million.

Animal warning system deployed in the Greater Yellowstone Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems (GYRITS) corridor at a cost of $3,800 per site.

Colorado DOT deployed a truck speed warning system in Glenwood Canyon at a cost ranging from $25,000 to $30,000.

During a pilot project Minnesota State Patrol vehicles were equipped with an accident investigation system at a cost of $8,000 to $10,000 per vehicle.

Emergency preemption equipment was deployed at several intersections in British Columbia, Canada at a cost of $4,000 (Canadian) per intersection.

The cost to equip a police vehicle in Dane County, Wisconsin for coordinated interagency incident response was $8,000 to $10,000.

Lessons From This Source

Provide traveler information in rural areas to allow for good travel decisions in inclement weather and construction season.

Use speed warning signs on dangerous curves to reduce speeds of trucks.




United States

Systems Engineering

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smart work zone systems, smart work zone, smart work zones, Smart work zones, workzone, WZ

Lesson ID: 2005-00074