Designing a multi-modal traveler information platform for urban transportation
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Urban transportation networks are inefficient due to sub-optimal use by travelers. One approach to counter the increase in urban transportation demand is to provide better information to travelers, which would allow them to make better use of the network. Existing traveler information systems do this to a certain extent, but are limited by the data available and the scope of their implementation. These systems are vertically integrated and closed so that using any external elements for analysis, user interfacing etc. is difficult. The effects of such traveler information systems are reviewed via a comparative analysis of case studies available in the literature. It is found that information availability has a definite positive effect, but the social and environmental benefits are difficult to quantify. It is also seen that combining data by integrating systems can lead to additional uses for the same data and result on better quality of service and information. In this thesis, a regional platform for multi-modal traveler information is proposed that would support the development of traveler information systems. The architecture incorporates a central processing and storage module, which acts as an information clearinghouse and supports receiving, managing and sending data to and from multiple sources and interfaces. This setup allows sharing of data for analysis or application development, but with access control. The components are loosely coupled to minimize inter-dependencies. Due to this, the source, analysis, user interface and storage components can be developed independently of each other. To better develop the requirements and understand the challenges of the proposed concept, a limited implementation of the system is designed for the midtown Atlanta region, incorporating multiple data sources and user interfaces. The individual elements of the system are described in detail as is the testing and evaluation of the system.