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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 63· No. 6 > Internet Watch

May/June 2000
Vol. 63· No. 6

Internet Watch

by Diane Enriquez

Check Out TRIS Online

For those of you who prefer to browse for transportation information while seated comfortably in front of your computer, here is a valuable resource for you. TRIS Online (http://tris.amti.com/) is a public-domain, Web-based version of the Transportation Research Information Service (TRIS). It is designed to enhance transportation research, safety, and operations by sharing knowledge and information.

TRIS is the world's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic database of published and ongoing research of all modes and disciplines in the field of transportation. For the last 30 years, TRIS has been developed by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) with support from state and federal agencies.

TRIS Online is a result of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and TRB that was signed at the TRB's 1999 annual meeting. The MOU provided for the development, testing, and implementation of the fully searchable, web-based version of the TRIS database. One year later, the TRIS Online was ready for public use and is currently accessible from the National Transportation Library's (NTL) Web site: http://ntl.bts.gov/tris/.

TRIS Online contains more than 400,000 bibliographic records of federal, state, local, and association research that has been published in books, journals, technical reports, and other media from the 1960s to date (with some coverage from prior years). TRIS Online contains all the records found in TRIS except for the international records from the International Road Research Documentation (IRRD) system. However, TRIS Online provides links to the IRRD database as an option with each search.

Users can look for monographic, journal, technical report, and conference literature in TRIS Online through comprehensive search capabilities. The site's database can be searched by either a basic word search or an intelligent word search by author, title, and subject. Search results can be narrowed down by restricting the query to specific areas, such as the article title, contributor, or date of publication.

After the user submits the search criteria, the search results are listed by publication date and description. The site provides two ways for the user to view the material from their search. The "More" link can be selected to view additional information about that specific publication. Or additional information about multiple publications can be viewed by checking boxes next to the description, which allows the user to quickly view a large amount of material rather than going back and forth between screens.

The user is provided with detailed information about each document, including the title, author, publication date, number of pages, publisher, and volume number. Users also can read an abstract, if available, for an overview of the material. TRIS Online allows users to access to electronic copies of full-text reports or link them directly to the publishers or suppliers that produce the documents.

TRB will continue to produce TRIS Online and BTS will publish the database and make it available on the Internet as a component of the NTL. It is anticipated that within three years, more than 70 percent of government reports listed in TRIS Online will be available electronically for downloading, printing, or through e-mail requests.


Diane Enriquez is the Webmaster for the Federal Highway Administration's Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. She is employed by Avalon Integrated Services Corp. of Arlington, Va.

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