U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
|Publication Number: Date: Winter 1997|
Issue No: Vol. 60 No. 3
Date: Winter 1997
The following article introduces a new, regular feature in Public Roads. "Internet Watch" will track new and interesting developments in transportation resources on the Internet.
The rising popularity of the Internet has brought about an explosion in the scope of transportation-related information available to computer users at the click of a mouse button.
From the engineering student with an on-line master's thesis to the U.S. Department of Transportation's official web site, the Internet today offers a smorgasbord of text, graphics, animation, movies, and sound bites on a vast array of transportation topics. This article (available at www.tfhrc.gov) will provide both novice and experienced Internet users with a roadmap for exploring this specialized information.
Simply put, the Internet is a conglomeration of interconnected computers that provide a technological foundation for interpersonal communication, professional collaboration, and everything in between. All that's required to take advantage of this "network of networks" is an Internet connection, a telephone line, a computer capable of running communications software, and a web browser such as Netscape Navigator, Mosaic, or Microsoft Explorer.
Federal government agencies have wasted no time in making their resources publicly available to citizens via the Internet. (See FHWA Web Sites.) Now it's possible to:
To date, at least 37 state departments of transportation (DOT) provide information through World Wide Web or Gopher (text-based) servers. Three of note:
Perhaps more useful are on-screen highway maps that provide real-time updates of traffic tie-ups. For instance, the Illinois DOT hosts a site that offers commuters estimated times of travel to and from Chicago's Loop ( www.ai.eecs.uic.edu/GCM/CongestionMap.html). Additional sites for major cities can be found in the Yahoo directory ( www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Transportation/Traffic_and_Road_Conditions/).
For lists of other transportation resources on the Internet, check the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center at U.S. DOT (www.volpe.dot.gov/o_transp.htm), or Yahoo's directory (www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Transportation/).
FHWA Web Sites
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) headquarters
(www.fhwa.dot.gov) -- The headquarters' site contains information about major programs (Federal Aid, Federal Lands, and Office of Motor Carriers), plus extensive contact listings for highway officials at federal, state, and regional levels.
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
(www.tfhrc.gov) -- From the home of FHWA's research laboratories, this site features current issues of Public Roads magazine and Research & Technology Transporter, plus technical summaries and technical reports on a variety of highway research subjects.
Office of Technology Applications (OTA)
-- OTA's site provides descriptions of OTA's featured programs, plus official contacts on federal and state levels.
FHWA/NHTSA National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC)
(www.va.gwu.edu/ncac/) -- NCAC offers access to film, animation, papers, and other publications reviewing tests of vehicle crashworthiness.
National Automated Highway System Consortium
(www.volpe.dot.gov/nahsc/) -- This is the home site of the public/private partnership developing a "safe, reliable, cost-effective automated highway system capable of substantially improving throughput, safety, and air quality along high-demand travel corridors."
FHWA's Automated Highway System (AHS)
(www.volpe.dot.gov/ahs/) -- The Intelligent Systems and Technology Division's page offers technical summaries of research aimed at developing automated vehicle control technologies.
National Geotechnical Experimentation Sites (NGES)
(www.unh.edu/nges/index.html) -- Funded by the National Science Foundation and FHWA, the NGES site offers a locator map, an updated bulletin board, and a password-protected NGES database.
DOT's Research & Technology Activities page
(www.dot.gov:80/dotinfo/general/research/) -- The Department of Transportation provides descriptions of technology sources and lists of contacts related to DOT's R&T programs.
Dick Stirba is the former webmaster/electronic publishing specialist at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. He started his career as a daily newspaper reporter, and in the subsequent 18 years, he has co-authored industry studies and corporate profiles, managed newsroom operations, and spearheaded the creation of an electronic publishing division for an independent newsletter publisher.