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Deploying Portable Traveler Information Systems

Project #: 4W2025
Start Date: 03/01/2008
End Date: 09/30/2009
Status: Completed

This project looks into utilizing sophisticated portable equipment to provide advanced traveler information at any location that requires it. Such portable ATIS features changeable message signs that can be fed with correct and useful information automatically and/or remotely. Portable ATIS should be complementary to the existing fixed ATIS infrastructure and become a fully integrated component of the existing system management toolbox. This means, in particular, that it should be controllable from a central transportation management center (TMC) to allow real-time updates based on the traffic situation system-wide. Moreover, a portable sensing equipment package may be deployed along with the signs to provide delay calculations or travel time estimates based on local factors. The project is designed to move toward deployment. The first part of the project will be to paint an accurate picture of the limitations faced by Caltrans practitioners by inventorying the hardware and software currently in use. In parallel, the team will review existing technology and best practices in the ITS industry. Next, the project team will produce a guiding document for practitioners and ITS vendors that outlines high level system requirements of the technical and operational needs of portable ATIS. The team will publish a Request for Information (RFI) asking vendors to describe how closely their product meets Caltrans’ requirements as defined in the guiding document. Lastly, the project team will evaluate pilot deployments. The evaluation will be kept simple and leverage feedback on whether the project’s objectives have been met, and how the selected portable system performs with respect to key metrics such as reliability and delay calculation accuracy.


Provide expertise and support to the California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT) on a project looking at deploying portable, remotely controlled, changeable message signs that provide real-time delay information at critical times and locations as part of an integrated advanced traveler information system (ATIS).


  • Pat McGowen
    Pat McGowen