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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-014    Date:  April 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-014
Date: April 2018


State of the Practice for Traveler Information During Nonrecurring Events


Traveler information for nonrecurring events is a vital component to the effective functioning of any transportation system. Timely, correct, and clear information is most needed in situations where unexpected or unusual events occur. These events stress the transportation system the most as well as the traveling public who have to make decisions often based on incomplete or outdated information.

Traveler information for nonrecurring events has evolved significantly in recent years. While agencies continue to use traditional dissemination methods, such as DMSs, HAR, and 511 websites, the available tools have expanded to include mobile apps, social media platforms, and text/email alerts. In the near future, it is hoped that connected vehicle technology will provide personalized, real-time traveler information directly to travelers in their vehicles. Currently, private sector websites and apps provide users with valuable real-time routing, congestion, and event information. While the availability of media drastically expands the toolbox from which traffic managers can draw, it is important to implement information approaches in ways that meet the needs and desires of travelers as well as the needs and limitations of agencies. Key findings and recommendations from this project are as follows:

Travelers routinely mentioned the need for information about nonrecurring events that is helpful and easy to access.(33 ,6 ,34) There are several areas of research that would benefit from understanding the needs of the public, the transportation system, and the intersection of the two, which would result in optimal decisions being made to adjust to nonrecurring events, such as the following:

Future research should focus on determining what information from nonrecurring events will help the traveling public make the most effective and safest travel decisions.



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