Advanced Traveler Information Service (ATIS) : private sector perceptions and public sector activities
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Advanced Traveler Information Service (ATIS) : private sector perceptions and public sector activities

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    This paper presents the results of a study by the United States Department of Transportation Volpe Center to determine the nature and extent of the “data gap” between the needs of private sector Advanced Traveler Information Service (ATIS) providers and the public sector data they receive. The study was motivated by the perception that such a data gap exists and the need for a systematic description of this data gap before plans can be made to resolve it. Defining the data gap problem involves looking at both sides of the issue: the demand for particular types of ATIS data and the availability of the data desired. This paper analyzes private sector data needs and perceptions of availability and quality. For each issue raised, it examines the extent and characteristics of the problem on a national level, using information on the public sector. To do this, the paper combines results from two different surveys. One of these is a survey of private sector Information Service Providers (ISPs) to understand their data needs and elicit their perspective of the data gap. The survey was conducted by the Volpe Center for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), specifically for the purpose of this paper. The public sector data comes from a series of surveys of state and local public sector agencies that manage the highway and arterial system, respond to traffic incidents, and provide transit service. These surveys were conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the FHWA to create a database of metropolitan ITS deployment in 1999. Data collection and transfer activities of the public agencies relevant to the ATIS data gap were taken from the database for this study. The private sector survey reveals that some kinds of data, notably incidents, construction zones, traffic speeds, and road and weather conditions, are of high priority to most respondents. There are some similarities, but some divergences as well, between the priorities of the private sector, and the priorities for dissemination identified by the public sector. These differences may contribute to the data gap. The following statements summarize the most important observations about the current nature and extent of the data gap: Public agencies in major metropolitan areas collect more traffic data than agencies in smaller areas; Geographic coverage of available data is often inadequate and more likely to be inadequate the larger the metropolitan area; Inaccurate data is the second most common quality problem, after inadequate geographic coverage; Agencies in a single metro area provide data inconsistent with other agencies in the area; Timeliness and update frequency problems occur for incident data; Problems with inadequate spatial resolution are most important for traffic speeds; Some ISPs require greater temporal coverage than is available in most places and Public agencies are not necessarily willing to transfer data they collect.
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