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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

Sunday, September 7, 2003
Contact: Nancy Singer, 202-366-0660
FHWA 28-03

Federal Highway Administration Recognizes Outstanding Traveler Information Web Sites

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced the third annual winners of its national awards for traveler information Web sites that give travelers easy access to current information about safety and mobility on the highways.

Recognized as the top traffic information sites in the United States are the Georgia Navigator Web site, the Washington State Department of Transportation traffic information Web site, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet TRIMARC Web site and the Gary-Chicago-Milwaukee (GCM) travel Web site, a cooperative effort of the GCM Priority Corridor Partners, the Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation.

FHWA Deputy Administrator Richard Capka formally recognized the winners at the board of directors meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on Sept. 7, 2003, in Minneapolis.

"The World Wide Web is an important means of providing traveler information," Capka said. "These outstanding sites were chosen because of their user friendliness, comprehensiveness and real-time reporting. Reliable, accessible traveler information saves travelers and shippers lives, time and money by giving them choices of time, route and even mode of transportation."

The selections were made following a national review of 276 traveler information Web sites, covering both content and usability of the sites. Content evaluation was based on whether the sites provided information on current conditions such as incidents, construction notices, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and tolls. Usability criteria addressed organization, navigation and presentation of information to users.

The Georgia Department of Transportation's Georgia Navigator (www.georgianavigator.com) was just redesigned with a new map of the state, more cameras, customized information on travel times, major alerts at the top of the page and information from weather stations. Faster servers and increased bandwidth have been added to handle the large volume of users. The Georgia DOT continues to seek input from the public by surveying users about Web site features, frequency and time of use and whether information is used to alter a route or mode of transportation. Upcoming site enhancements include streaming video for real-time cameras, "My Navigator" personalized home pages and mobile device capability such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones.

The Washington State Department of Transportation Web site (www.wsdot.wa.gov/traffic) receives continual favorable feedback from its many users. In one peak month, the site registered 67 million page views. The information is organized according audience and usability. Functionality standards ensure that all agency Web pages look and function in the same way. The site currently is designed for Web-savvy users and is being redesigned for more basic users who want to start with a statewide view and drill down to local areas. In the future, there will be one-stop shopping for travel alerts and slowdowns as well as personalization and e-mail alerts.

TRIMARC (www.trimarc.org) provides travelers with information for the interstate highway system within the greater Louisville/Southern Indiana urbanized area. The cooperation between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana DOT has led to the success of this Web site. Ease of use is very important, and developers studied other traveler information Web sites. They designed the site with a feature to click on signs or cameras for more detailed information. The Web site complies with accessibility standards and includes interactive maps. The Web site's most recent enhancement, invisible to users, allows updates posted on the Web to be sent automatically to the 511 system.

For the second year in a row, the GCM Travel Web site team is a winner, providing an example of great regional cooperation. The GCM Travel Web site (www.gcmtravel.com) is developed cooperatively with data from the Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin DOTs through a state-of-the-art data sharing system that uses a Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) interface. With this system, users can link to information across the entire three-state priority corridor, including cameras, traffic maps and dynamic message sign messages. Real-time information on the Illinois Tollway, a link to transit information on the traffic congestion map and links to the Chicago airports are new features this year. Northwest Indiana soon will add information gathered from sensors to the Web site, making available more information to emergency service providers and real-timer information on transit. A 511 telephone traveler information system will use the same data sharing system to provide information on the phone.

The technologies of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) provide data to populate traveler information Web sites. For more information about ITS and the Web awards, visit the Federal Highway Administration's Operations Web site at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov.


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