Evaluation of Intelligent Transportation Infrastructure Program (ITIP) in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This study distributed website surveys and conducted telephone interviews to evaluate customer satisfaction with web-based traveler information services that supplied real-time traffic information. A complex network of microwave and acoustic vehicle sensors were deployed on major arterials and freeways in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in order to collect and transmit real-time traffic data to a central computer database located at the National Transportation Data Center (NTDC). The real-time data was made available to Mobility Technologies, Inc. (formerly know as Traffic.com) in a public-private partnership to allow them to generate real-time maps of traffic congestion and traffic density in each city.
The real-time maps as well as other live traffic data gathered from SmartTraveler.com, radio broadcasts, helicopter surveillance, and probe vehicles were consolidated and transmitted to media houses (TV and radio stations) and the general public via the internet. In addition, transportation management centers (TMCs) and other stakeholders were provided with the more detailed NTDC raw data to supplement their internal operations and incident management planning.
Roadside sensors were installed at 114 locations in Pittsburgh and 178 locations in Philadelphia. Traffic data such as traffic volumes, lane occupancy, speed, lane density, and vehicle classification were transmitted, processed, and archived by the NTDC every 60 seconds.
The General Public
Telephone and internet surveys were used to evaluate the impact of ISDMI traveler information on customer satisfaction in the general public. Internet surveys, however, provided the best data since respondents had already used the website, and were not just potentialusers responding to a telephone survey. The authors noted that internet respondents tended to be younger males.
Customer satisfaction results were based on 137 internet surveys in Pittsburgh, and 64 internet surveys in Philadelphia. Post-deployment data collection was completed by August 2001 in Pittsburgh, and April 2002 in Philadelphia. The surveys were designed to collect information on customer awareness, access, acceptance, use, and value.
According to the internet survey, 68 percent of users in Pittsburgh and 86 percent of users in Philadelphia changed their original travel route, while 47 percent of users in Pittsburgh and 66 percent of users in Philadelphia changed their original time of travel as a result of the traffic information. The effect on mode choice was less noticeable, 6 percent in Pittsburgh and 2 percent in Philadelphia changed their mode of transportation based on the information provided.
18 percent of internet respondents in Pittsburgh and 47 percent in Philadelphia felt Traffic.com helped decrease their commute time. However, 75 percent of respondents in Pittsburgh and 43 percent in Philadelphia felt their commute time remained about the same.
Less than 10 percent of internet respondents in Pittsburgh, and 27 percent in Philadelphia were willing to pay money for the traffic information.
Media Houses (TV and Radio Stations)
Two media houses in Pittsburgh were surveyed, and three were surveyed in Philadelphia. Participants were questioned on their assessed value of the ISDMI information provided. In general, media houses were satisfied with the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, reliability, and delivery of information provided.
Stakeholder and TMC satisfaction was evaluated based on interviews with a few key personnel from several of the agencies provided with access to the ISDMI system; however, since the system was not fully operational at the time of the survey a comprehensive examination of customer satisfaction was not possible. In Pittsburgh, two of five TMC stakeholders interviewed used the system and indicated the internet interface was easy use and the ISDMI data provided improved coverage areas that could improve traffic surveillance and incident management efforts. In Philadelphia, however, only the TMC had access to the ISDMI data at the time of the surveys. The one stakeholder interviewed expressed concern among the TMC staff regarding the reliability and accuracy of the ISDMI data and its usefullness for incident management.