In Phoenix, Arizona, an evaluation of traveler information provided on cable television found that 29 percent of surveyed respondents thought the traffic channel was useful.
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United States

Phoenix Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative Evaluation Report

Summary Information

This report contains the evaluation results for three projects undertaken during the Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative in Phoenix, Arizona (collectively known as AZTech). Investigators noted that Phoenix does not generally experience the severe levels of congestion common in some other metropolitan areas; this could be a contributing factor to the minimal benefit achieved by some of the implemented systems. The authors particularly noted that the freeway system provides numerous alternate routes for avoiding incidents that might occur on a traveler’s intended route. Evaluation efforts determined customer satisfaction with two Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) deployed during the project and the impacts of coordinated signal control on delay, safety, and the environment.


Evaluation results for ATIS included in the report present an assessment of customer satisfaction with the publicly operated Trailmaster web site and the Traffic Check cable TV traffic information service. Both the web site and television channel provided information on travel conditions on Phoenix area roadways by integrating data from the freeway management system and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Roadway Closure and Restriction System.


Analysis of web site usage statistics indicated that the number of visits to the traveler information web site increased steadily during the evaluation period at a rate of 50 percent per year; evaluators expected this trend to continue. Overall, usage levels for the Phoenix web site were significantly lower than those experienced in Seattle, where traffic congestion is a more significant problem (as reported in the Seattle MMDI report). Two focus group studies revealed Phoenix area travelers felt that congestion levels were not high enough to warrant frequent use of the site. Users did find the site helpful in assessing delays due to construction. Participants felt that the addition of congestion information for arterial roadways would make the site more useful.

A telephone survey was conducted to assess the impact of the traveler information cable TV channel implemented through the MMDI. 35, 000 cable subscribers in Tempe, Arizona received the Traffic Check television service during the evaluation period. Seven percent of these subscribers responded to a postcard survey inquiring about their use of the traffic information channel. Phone interviews were conducted with 723 subscribers, approximately half of whom had used the Traffic Check channel. Due to the small sample size, the authors of the evaluation report caution against extrapolating the survey results to a larger population.

The phone interviews yielded several interesting results regarding the usage and customer satisfaction with Traffic Check. Of the participants who commute regularly, 93 percent report listening to traffic radio broadcasts for traveler information, 77 percent used traffic reports on local television, 75 percent use dynamic message signs (DMS), and 48 percent report using Traffic Check. Survey results also indicate that pre-trip information in general may be less useful than en-route information, as shown by the percentage of respondents who felt that various traveler information services were useful.




Traveler Information Service
Respondents Rating Service "Useful"

Radio broadcasts

Encountering congestion first-hand

Dynamic Message Signs

Local Television

Highway Advisory Radio

Traffic Check TV


Telephone Calls

It is notable that frequent users of Traffic Check were over two and one half times more likely than occasional users to rate the information as useful. 74 percent of Traffic Check users reported changing routes in response to information about delays while 80 percent of all commuters reporting changing routes when encountering delays. 52 percent of those using the television service indicated that they changed the timing of their trip. Only 19 percent of those who used Traffic Check indicated that they would be willing to pay an addition fee of $1 per month for the service.



Phoenix Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative Evaluation Report

Phoenix Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative Evaluation Report
Publication Sort Date
C. Zimmerman (Battelle), et. al.
Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
Other Reference Number
Report No. FHWA-OP-00-015

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