The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) placed data collection devices on some of the most heavily used sections of the Puget Sound region's freeways. The devices were installed on SR 512 and I-5 in the Olympic Region. The data collected from those devices were displayed in two places on WSDOT's website, on the state's 511 system and through the mobile phone application that WSDOT supports. The information was also distributed to private sector firms that distribute their own travel information via platforms ranging from conventional radio broadcasts to smart phone applications.
An anonymous Internet survey was conducted to obtain the opinions of individuals who seek information on WSDOT's traveler information website. The survey was posted as a link on WSDOT's Tacoma area website and was active for one month. As a result, the survey was limited to individuals who actively used the WSDOT website that provides congestion data to the Olympia/Tacoma region.
The survey obtained 84 total responses.
- Of the 60 respondents who have seen changes in travel information, 84 percent thought the information provided was useful.
- A total of 51 percent of those who had seen the changed travel information considered it "accurate," with an additional 44 percent considering it "sometimes, but not always" accurate.
- Overall, 95 percent of all survey respondents said that WSDOT should continue to collect and distribute travel congestion information.
A significant percentage of users indicated that they made travel changes in response to the information they obtained.
- More than 45 percent indicated they changed route or time of travel as a result of congestion information.
- Another 40 percent said they made changes but only under extreme conditions.
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