Sanchez, R., et al.
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The Greater Yellowstone Weather and Traveler Information System (GYRTWIS) is a regional 511 telephone traveler information system in Montana. Deployed in January 2003, the GYRTWIS service integrated the existing #SAFE wireless en-route weather information system, with the SAFE-PASSAGE pavement temperature model, to enable travelers to receive site-specific predictive weather information using a wireless phone, landline, or Internet connection.

To evaluate the impacts of road weather information on the traveling public the Western Transportation Institute and the Montana State University (WTI/MSU) surveyed Montana residents before and after the new 511 service was deployed. 511 replaced the pre-exisitng *ROAD and 800 recorded message services which provided non-interactive road weather information in the state for about two years. In 2002, WTI/MSU administered the "before" survey and distributed 1,500 questionnaires equally between districts. In 2003, the "after" 511 survey was conducted and 3,000 questionnaires were distributed based on state population distribution. The purpose of each survey was to investigate users’ perceptions of road and weather information phone services with respect to accuracy, availability, usefulness, and understandability of the information provided. For the 2002 survey, the percentage of responses by district was fairly uniform and approximately 348 mail-back questionnaires were returned. In 2003, approximately 676 questionnaires were returned.


In general, the results showed the new 511 service was well received. As an average across all measures of satisfaction, overall customer satisfaction ratings increased from 71 to 81 percent after the new 511 service was deployed. The table below excerpted from the report, compared customer satisfaction before and after the 511 service was deployed. The author indicated caution should be used in making direct comparisons between the before and after survey data since each survey presented the same types of questions differently. The before survey measured respondents perception of the system, and the after survey measured respondents satisfaction with the system.



Road Conditions & Weather Forecasts:
Somewhat Accurate/Very Accurate = 62%

Road Conditions Information:
Satisfied/Very Satisfied = 81%


Weather Forecasts:
Satisfied/Very Satisfied = 73%


Somewhat Available/Very Available = 62%

Satisfied/Very Satisfied = 77%


Somewhat Useful/Very Useful = 88%

Satisfied/Very Satisfied = 90%


Somewhat Easy/Very Easy = 73%

Satisfied/Very Satisfied = 82%
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In 2000, the U.S. Congress provided funds for projects that were assessed as supporting the improvements of transportation efficiency, promoting safety, increasing traffic flow, reducing emissions, improving traveler information, enhancing alternative transportation modes, building on existing ITS projects, and promoting tourism. A small number of these projects were selected for national evaluation. The Greater Yellowstone Regional Traveler and Weather Information System (GYRTWIS) in Montana was among the selected projects in Fiscal Year 2000.

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has been proactive in deploying road weather information systems (RWIS) to capture road condition information and predict travel conditions. However, the information was often unavailable to travelers. It was also difficult for road maintenance decision makers to use the RWIS information effectively to make decisions on snow and ice control activities.

MDT implemented the GYRTWIS to improve the availability of road weather information to maintenance personnel and travelers. The system was expected to provide detailed weather forecasts and predictions of road conditions to facilitate maintenance operations and improve the utilization of personnel, snow removal equipment, and anti-icing activities. The GYRTWIS system is an interactive telephone information service that provides road condition and weather forecasts via a 511-telephone access number. For travelers, GYRTWIS replaced the *ROAD service, that was a non-interactive, recorded message system.

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Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT
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Final Evaluation Report for the Greater Yellowstone Regional Traveler and Weather Information System (GYRTWIS)
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