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Regional Traffic and Safety Information Dissemination: Phase III

The Nashville area is home to several local transportation agencies, many with their own intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has made significant investment (TDOT SmartWay, TSIS/511, and associated ITS equipment) throughout the state. Opportunities are available to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of these separate systems, and each agency benefits from coordinating their systems, using standardized means of disseminating information, and sharing and syndicating travel information where possible.

Vanderbilt recently completed “Regional Traffic and Safety Information Dissemination – Phase II.” This project aided local transportation agencies and traffic operations centers (TOCs) in disseminating traffic and safety information from TDOT SmartWay. Vanderbilt successfully developed a template website that uses TDOT’s GeoRSS feeds. This template includes a map of incidents, filterable statewide road condition information, real-time camera images and dynamic message signs, a fully-functional companion mobile website, and performance measurement for analyzing visitor content preferences. Vanderbilt also performed a significant amount of research into considering alternate means of interfacing local TOCs with TSIS. Phase II ended September 15, 2011, and the template has been successfully installed on the City of Franklin website.

Phase III (phase I: feasibility study, phase II: template development) will include deployment of the website template to corridor cities such as Cookeville and Jackson and cities with TOCs (Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Clarksville). Vanderbilt will assist with interfacing TOCs with TSIS to increase TDOT SmartWay’s coverage by incorporating state highway observations not visible with TDOT ITS infrastructure. As not all information reported by the local TOCs will be of interest to TDOT, Vanderbilt will design and implement a simple reporting system (to be hosted on a Vanderbilt server) for TOCs to report information about local road conditions (e.g., non-interstate and non-state route) to their constituents. This project should lead to increased communication and ITS coordination between local agencies and TDOT.

This research should lead to greater use of syndicated information and increased communication between local agencies and TDOT and serve as a working prototype for other states and local transportation agencies to emulate.

Dr. James Dobbins is the principal investigator of this project and funding support is provided by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.