October 2006 - ODOT ITS NEWSLETTER - VOL. 4, NO. 4
We hope you enjoy the 2006 Fall edition of ITS News, a quarterly publication produced by the Oregon Department of Transportation Traffic Engineering and Operations Section, ITS Unit. Previous editions can be viewed at the ODOT ITS News and Events Web site. Please feel free to contact the newsletter editor, Jon Lazarus, ITS Project Manager, at (503) 986-6586, with any questions or comments.
Jim Weisgram and Joey Mendoza, Technical Applications Development (TAD) staff for ITS Support
What does it take to keep ITS ticking?
ITS News: Jim and Joey, Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Could you give us a brief background on your positions and, generally, what you do with respect to ITS?
Jim Weisgram, Steve Dobrioglo, Juston Gleason, and Joey Mendoza - TAD staff and ITS support
Jim W: For the “central” ITS applications, I do work tracking, planning, communication and coordination with the ITS Unit as well as with various sections of Information Systems, ensure that we are positioned to respond to system issues 24x7, etc.
Joey M: I am responsible for a lot of the troubleshooting when an issue arises with one of our systems. I also work on the software and system development that is done to enhance and maintain the various systems within ITS.
ITS News: Could you describe the process for providing work items to you and how these get prioritized? Could you give us an estimate of how many work order requests you receive in a month?
Jim W: The average number of RFW’s/month is increasing over time. In the last year the average was about 25/month.
There are two recommended channels to request for IS services -- one is to contact the Computer Support Desk, and one is to use the Request for Work process. There is no hard rule about when you use one or the other. The Computer Support Desk is more aligned with providing services to an individual; install software, fix a configuration issue, and so on.
The Request for Work (RFW) process is more intended for system level work, such as software enhancements or system troubleshooting and repair. Most ITS system issues are handled via the RFW process. ODOT people can get their request in the process by using the RFW application on your web browser at http://highway.intranet.odot.state.or.us/cf/ISRFW/index.cfm.
Many people will make their requests by discussing them with contact from IS, such as a Field Services Unit technician, or a developer from Applications Development. Then the IS person will enter the RFW on their behalf.
With RFW’s for the ITS system, we work with Galen McGill and his staff to clarify what the requests are, determine if they should be done, and where the priorities lie. If the current system is not working properly, that is always a first priority.
Stay informed about ODOT ITS activities across the state.
Joey M: An RFW ends up on my desk after it has been prioritized and assigned. How quickly I’m able to work on it depends on the priority of the other RFWs in my queue. Now that we have some additional people assigned to ITS maintenance I would expect this work to start dividing up amongst our team, which should greatly reduce the lifetime of an RFW.
ITS News: What ITS systems are affected by the work you do?
www.TripCheck.com, ODOT’s flagship travel advisory web site
Highway Advisory Telephone, (HAT) otherwise known as 511, a telephone based travel advisory system
Scanweb, software that displays information gathered from remote weather stations
Highway Travel Conditions Reporting System (HTCRS), software used to enter and track road conditions such as accidents, closures, construction projects.
Highway Travel Conditions Information System (HTCIS), gathers HTCRS data and other information, formats it and provides it to other systems such as TripCheck or HAT/511.
OnRamp, software that tracks contact information for maintenance and Transportation Operations Center (TOC) crews.
Overlength Vehicle Detection, which warns trucks that their vehicle is too long for the road ahead (e.g. McKenzie Pass)
Skyline, software that controls variable message signs,
Camera Services, software that processes camera images and delivers to TripCheck (and other destinations),
Highway Advisory Radio (HAR), provides alerts and road condition information over AM radio
Display Board, displays incident and other information for TOC staff within the dispatch center,
Micromain, software that tracks ITS device inventory and maintenance work
Cable TV, streaming output that provides travel information on a cable television feed,
TripCheck Traveler Information Portal (TTIP), software that gathers information from Camera Services in ODOT and other agency ITS and traffic systems, and publishes to subscribers for a variety of uses.
Joey M: Jim has given you a great list. All of our systems need continuous maintenance and they are all evolving over time to increase efficiency and functionality.
ITS News: Give us an estimate of how often one of the TAD staff is on call, and how often some one gets a call when we have that person available during off-hours or holidays.
Jim W: Someone from the ITS unit is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Over the last year, we have implemented a variety of automated tools to monitor the ITS applications. Since then, we generally learn of application problems from the automated tools. On average we are notified after hours of problems around twice a month.
Joey M: I’m typically on-call for 3 weeks of every month. The other week is rotated with other ITS staff. It sounds hard, but to help manage my time I have two types of ‘on-call’ response times. The first is a 30-minute response and the other gives me up to two hours to respond. The 30-minute response time is generally reserved for major traffic holidays, weekends, and other days that we anticipate a high need from the public to view our data.
ITS News: Most of our readers are unaware of the new Salem Data Center and how this could be beneficial for the ITS unit. Could you give us a brief synopsis of what the SDC is and how it benefits the ITS unit’s systems?
Joey M: I’ve only been contracting within this position for 3 years, however, I know that the State Data Center was created by combining the data center resources of most State Agencies. The goal is to provide higher levels of service and cost savings by pooling those resources. For example, the SDC offers 24x7 support of their key systems. Most state agencies have not been able to provide that level of support. ODOT and other agencies contributed staff positions, equipment, time and effort to set up a new data center facility and organization in Salem . The SDC handles network communications and servers.
Jim W:At this time, ITS systems use the SDC network to handle the data communications from device, to regional servers, and to Salem servers. While most ODOT servers are now under SDC management, ITS equipment is excluded for the first year of operation. So, we still have ODOT people engaged in supporting the components that make up the ITS System.
ITS News: What project or work request has been your most troublesome so far?
Jim W: Implementing the web version of the Highway Advisory Radio software.
Joey M: The HAR system is definitely one of our most troublesome for a variety of reasons including the technology. As hard as things get though the best part of working in ITS for me has always been the wide range of technologies that are used to bring these systems to life. Sometimes a task I would have considered troublesome turns out to be one of my favorite projects once I’ve learned the technology involved (not HAR though).
ITS News: Which one(s) have been your greatest success?
Jim W: The ITS application group has delivered a number of highly successful projects. Maintenance work tends to be faster delivery, smaller impact and smaller gains. The answers here are for ITS maintenance work. The recent update of the Highway Advisory Telephone system to handle voice recordings for regional or statewide alerts has been very successful.
Having the SDC project unfold meant the ITS servers had to vacate the Revenue Building . We combined that effort with adding new and upgrading old ITS servers, and we are now in a better position to develop, test, and implement new system enhancements. Also, we eliminated many single points of failure. That is a big plus for us moving forward.
Joey M: We’ve had a lot of great projects that turned out very well, but it’s the behind-the-scenes tools that I really enjoy working on. For example, tools that can detect errors that used to go unfound or an application that can make sense out of what is otherwise a tangled web of data.
I’d have to say that my greatest success is not any single project, but all wrapped up into the large number of small projects that have had a positive impact on ITS.
ITS News: TAD is currently in the process of hiring more resources to help with the work-load. Could you tell us what area their work will be focused on?
Jim W: We recently hired Steve Dobrioglo and Juston Gleason to work with Joey on ITS Requests for Work. All three will work together; Joey and Steve will focus on system enhancements and Juston will be taking on the day to day care and feeding of the overall system. But as needed and as time permits all three may work on any aspect of supporting or improving the system.
ITS News: If you could wave a magic wand and change the way things are done, what would you change? On that note, what advice would you give to other agencies and ITS departments (worldwide) that might be going through some of the same processes we are?
Stay informed about ODOT ITS activities across the state.
Jim W: In my opinion, one thing that would greatly streamline our work if our ITS application group was more multifunctional; if it included network specialists, database administrators, server and workstation specialists we would be more effective and more efficient. Also, ideally we could scale up the system maintenance staff as new systems are deployed. The problem is that everybody wants more staff. My magic wand would be able to clone Joey, Steve, and Juston, complete with training and ready to go.
Joey M: There are always things we could do differently and things could always be better, but for the most part I think what we’re doing is working. One piece of advice I have is to strongly encourage creativity in your departments. We’ve had a lot of very interesting projects that turned out to be great successes and they each started off as someone’s crazy idea
ITS News:With the recent announcement of the re-organization of ITS unit under the State Maintenance Engineer, how do you anticipate things changing?
Jim W: We try to work as closely as possible with the ITS Unit, and Galen McGill (the ITS Unit manager) has always been very engaged in what we are doing and has made himself available to work with us. I think Galen has a very clear vision of where ODOT ITS is heading, and we benefit greatly from the time he gives us. With the reorganization, I expect Galen will need to delegate more responsibility to his staff, and we will be getting more of that vision through his staff rather than directly. I don’t expect this is going to be a problem, but we will need to adapt to the change.
Joey M: I’m not expecting that there will be much change from my point of view with the work we do for the ITS unit.
ITS News: Thanks for the interview. We’ve come to expect great things from our TAD partners because of the outstanding job you have done so far. We can’t say enough how much we appreciate your efforts. Thanks again.
Jim W: Thanks.
Joey M: Thank you.
For additional information on these programs visit the Oregon Department of Transportation's ITS unit's web site: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ITS/
Following is an update on select Transportation Application Development (TAD) and ITS Unit projects currently underway. For more information on a specific project, see the ITS Internet projects page at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ITS/projects.shtml.
TripCheck Update -
We've updated the TripCheck frequently asked questions section with additional common questions we have been getting about TripCheck. Check out our FAQ's section at this link (http://www.tripcheck.com/Pages/ATFAQ.asp) and you may learn something new about TripCheck!
Click here to see up-to-date statistics about TripCheck usage, or type this into your browser address line: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ITS/its_stats.shtml
Check it out at http://www.tripcheck.com and find useful road and weather conditions at ODOT's TripCheck.com web site.
TripCheck users are dependable about providing feedback. Here are some of the excellent suggestions we've received along with the changes we've made:
-Updated icon for Mary's Bridge closure on 99W at Corvallis. We had a public member write in about how the old icon was far too south to be associated with this bridge in Corvallis. We agreed and now the icon is properly placed.
-Updated graphic in Medford to include the name of the road, Rossanley Drive, in which ORE238 goes through since the new construction and re-direction of this Oregon route.
-Updated icon placements on maps for more efficiency - We found a couple misplaced icons that were covering city names. We moved the icons to more accurately show their locations and re-arranged some of the city names based on your feedback. You may notice these changes on all the TripCheck pages, but the changes are especially noticeable on the Portland Metro map, where the icons get cluttered the most.
-The Winter Maintenance page was updated with some newer information for this upcoming winter driving season.
-Oregon Travel Information Council (OTIC) - More businesses are signing up to be featured on TripCheck, and OTIC has developed a new web site for businesses to sign up to be listed in the Travel Services section of TripCheck (http://www.oregontic.com/sales/tripcheck.php ).
-There were several transit updates on TripCheck. You can view them at TripCheck's Bus Rail page.
-If you have any suggestions or feedback for us you can email us at TripCheck.Support.ODOT@odot.state.or.us
What to look for:
-Caltrans District 1 (Coastline) Camera images - We are currently discussing a partnership with Caltrans district 1 to add 3 new cameras, 2 on US101 and 1 on US199.
If you have any suggestions or feedback for us you can email us at TripCheck.Support.ODOT@odot.state.or.us
-There is a newly recognized Scenic Byway in Oregon. This new route showcases Mt. Hood and has a splendid trip from Troutdale south of I-84 to Hood River. Watch for this new Scenic Byway web page this winter.
-NOAA, or the National Weather Service, has made local weather alerts available as RSS feeds and XML feeds.We will soon be sharing these on TripCheck with the other travel alerts. Watch for these this winter!
-When signs are posted in snow zones, motorists must carry chains or traction tires no matter what road or weather conditions exist. This winter the location of these snow zones will be shown on TripCheck when the snow zone signs are posted.
For more information related to TripCheck, please contact Glen Hammer, Glen.A.HAMMER@odot.state.or.us, at (503) 986-3977.
For more information related to the Oregon Travel Information Council, please contact Craig Tutor, email@example.com, at (800) 574-9397.
RTP Draft web page to be added to TripCheck
Regional Trip Planner -
This project is developing a system that will collect and deliver comprehensive public transportation information (bus, train, shuttles and taxi's) to the public in Oregon.
The information will be delivered to the users via a Web site. ODOT has contracted with Pacific Intermedia Inc., from Portland Oregon, to develop and implement the data system.
This work will include development of public and provider data administration interfaces. The project is currently in the development phase and programming will continue into Fall 2006. ODOT expects to conclude testing and training by January 2007 with a system launch shortly thereafter.
For more information on the Regional Trip Planner project, please visit
Transport Advanced Traveler Information Implementation (TTIP)
The TripCheck Traveler Information Portal
(TTIP) project was completed around the end of March 2006. The portal is providing production feeds of ODOT's data to subscribers. The TTIP deliverables include a map of the Portland regional area for use by partner agencies. TTIP also includes public and agency data sharing feeds. The public data feed can be used by Internet Service Providers to publish to public web sites for a wide dissemination of Oregon and Portland regional traveler information. The agency feed will be used by other public agencies to enhance their internal traffic management. We currently have 23 companies and 4 agencies registered as TTIP users. The total number of individual users is 48.
If you would like to subscribe and receive XML feeds of our TripCheck data, click on this link and follow the instructions:
It is expected that additional data sources and enhancements will continue to be added over the next few months and years as the traveling public demands more up-to-date views of our highway infrastructure.
Release of Oregon Statewide ITS Architecture and Operational Concept Plan 2006 -
Cover of Document
In August, ODOT completed an update of the statewide ITS Architecture. The project also included adding an operational concept plan to the architecture making it compliant with the Federal ITS Architecture rule. The statewide architecture focuses on statewide ITS applications and complements the regional ITS operations and implementation plans that have been completed.
Click here or copy and past this path into your browser:
Transportation Operations Center System: Event Management -
Region 1 TOC - Transportation Operations Center
Oregon has four Transportation Operations Centers (TOCs) with the goal to provide and track transportation information for dissemination to ODOT operations, law enforcement, other State and public transportation systems, and the general public through a series of mission critical services. The purpose of the TOCS project is two-fold:
Enable all of Oregon’s TOCs to work in a coordinated and more tightly integrated manner by consolidating stand-alone systems, devices and processes into one.
Provide enhanced communication, more complete information and immediate dissemination to ODOT customers and partners, both public and private.
Prototypes of the primary screens that will be used in the management of an event have been completed and approved by the TOC managers group. ODOT has completed the system level design and construction activities have begun to complete system level services. Other individual components will be built in parallel by assigned development groups starting in November. As working components of the system are completed they will be distributed to a limited audience for testing and feedback. The first of these working components is scheduled for completion in early January. Vendors are being hired as needed to provide specific expertise. Development and testing will occur through summer of 2007 and it is anticipated that the TOCS will go live in the fall of that year.
Contact Lorena Lambert, Lorena.LAMBERT@odot.state.or.us, at (503) 986-4017 for more information.
ITS Travel Time Algorithm Assessment and Refinement -
ITS Travel Time on VMS sign located on I-205
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) currently utilizes an algorithm within their Advanced Traffic Management System (
) to display travel time on strategic Variable Message Signs (VMS) along their Interstates. Over 500 freeway sensors collect 20-second speed, volume, and occupancy data used by the algorithm to estimate travel time. Previous research undertaken by Portland State University (
) has revealed promise for using ODOT’s current algorithm for travel time applications under normal traffic conditions.
However, under periods of congested traffic, the algorithm appeared to underestimate travel times. Before expanding the use of the algorithm to estimate travel time for use all VMS, Tripcheck.com and the 511 traveler telephone system, ODOT is funding research to better understand the accuracy of the algorithm’s performance under all types of traffic conditions.
is leading the research effort into refining current techniques to improve estimating real-time travel time.
Contact Hau Hagedorn, Hau.HAGEDORN@odot.state.or.us, at (503) 986-3612 for more information.
511 Emergency evacuation notice for Bend fires -
Fire at Lake George August 13, 2006
When the Black Crater Fire forced more than 150 residents to evacuate from their homes near Sisters, the Deschutes County 911 system was flooded with worried callers.
Luckily, several Central Oregon agencies had been working on developing a place for people to call to get information during an evacuation, without tying up the lines for those with a life-threatening emergency.
“During the B&B Complex fire several years ago, 911 was overloaded with calls. During any emergency or perceived emergency, it’s difficult to keep people from calling 911 for info. They don’t know where to call and they see it as an emergency that they get information,” said Dave Neys, assistant District 10 manager. “The emergency managers from Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson County approached ODOT about using our 511 system to get out recorded messages about an evacuation.”
Through a series of discussions, which included Neys and Galen McGill, ITS Manager, the Emergency Evacuation Information System (EEIS) was born. The system uses ODOT’s existing 511, TripCheck, and cable channel avenues as places for people to go to get information about the current evacuation.
“ODOT has a stake in this because we participate in an evacuation,” said Neys. “Any evacuation requires a good transportation system.”
Fire at Lake George August 13, 2006
EEIS allows a county emergency manager to record a message about the evacuation, which then goes to the Transportation Operation Center for approval to go “live” on 511. When someone calls 511 when there is an emergency message, that message is presented first, before the normal list of options. The caller is prompted to go to TripCheck.com, to find a text version of the message and a link to more fire information. The message is updated as needed.
“The week that we were going to test the system, the Black Crater Fire broke out and people were put on evacuation notice,” Neys said. Those working on EEIS decided to test it live. Between July 27 and Aug. 1, James (JAWS) Wittenberg, ITS Support Coordinator, recorded 19 messages that related to the evacuation. On the first day, 162 callers to 511 selected the emergency prompt. Two days later, the number of callers for EEIS was 3,198. A total of 11,165 callers listened to the message between July 27 and Aug. 6.
“We can assume that the load on EEIS was a load taken off 911 and ODOT’s own dispatch center,” said Neys. “TripCheck and 511 can handle the load. We’re getting updated, important information out in an easy way to those who need it. It’s a benefit to not only the emergency agencies, but also to the public.”
For a sample of the sound file used for this evacuation notice click here, to open the WAV file (it is recommended you have Microsoft Windows Media Player version 10 to listen to this WAV file).
For more information contact Heidi Hiaasen, Heidi.HIAASEN@odot.state.or.us, the Region 4 public information representative.
ITS TechBuzz - Questions and Answer for folks outside of ITS
Welcome to this new section for the ITS news called ITS Tech Buzz! We've had a number of questions over the years come in about "How does this work?", or "Why did you do it this way?", so we've created a section to answer some of these questions. We're also going to try to answer our questions in such a way that the non-ITS professional will understand. Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions please pass them along to the editor, Jon Lazarus. Thanks.
TechBuzz Question of the Quarter:Why does TripCheck have weather data sometimes on the camera image and other times within the border of the image (see screen prints)?
First of all, I'd like to recognize a good question when it is asked. The answer is not as straight forward as you might think, which is why this question was chosen as our inaugural one.
To answer this question, we need to start with how our data gets from the device along the road to the TripCheck web site. In this case, 'the device' happens to be 3 different types of weather stations, and each type reports data to TripCheck in a different way.
As we’ve learned more about operating a statewide network of cameras and weather station equipment, our ITS equipment standards have evolved to balance initial costs with ongoing maintenance and operating costs. Our initial weather stations were deployed with cameras and were inexpensive to deploy. The weather data was overlaid on the camera image and then transmitted back to a central location for use on TripCheck. However, any time there is a problem with a weather sensor, we have to choose between removing the entire image from TripCheck or continuing to publish incorrect weather data until a technician can visit the site.
Our current standard for weather station equipment uses equipment that can bring the weather data back to a central database independent of the image from the camera. The data is associated with the camera image centrally which provides the ability to manage the weather data separate from the image.
Quartz Mt Camera Image
It also allows weather data to be used in other systems. As these older systems with the weather data overlaid on the image , reach their end of life, they will be updated with systems that meet the newer equipment standards.
With that understanding, here is a description of the 3 types of weather stations ODOT uses:
Rainwise stations are the oldest type of weather stations that ODOT currently uses. Click here for a picture of this type of station. Weather data is placed on the camera image before the image goes to the image capture box. As a consequence, the text is placed directly over the photo image. An example of a Rainwise Station is Quartz Mountain where you see the weather information right over the actual photo.
Even though it has worked great for many years this type of configuration makes it hard to work on when there is a problem. You must go to the site when the weather station is posting poor information. ODOT is no longer deploying this type of RWIS station and is making arrangements in the next two to four years to replace these old RWIS stations.
La Pine Camera Image
This is ODOT’s current standard for weather stations. Click here for a picture of this type of station. Data goes straight to a central database. Weather information is attached to the image after the image is processed so there is a choice as to where the data will be placed instead of automatically over the image. If sensors fail, the data from the failed sensor can be selectively removed until a technician can visit the site. An example of an SSI station would be La Pine. SSI stations will eventually replace other types of stations once they become old and inefficient.
TWI stations take less energy to run and are commonly powered by a solar panel. TWI stations weather stations are often used where there is not a camera in the same location, although a few of them are used where there are cameras. These stations use less energy, cost less to operate, and use ODOT's Low band radio frequencies and microwave back bone system to transport data via a terminal node controller (TNC) packet to the ODOT WAN. The data from these systems has also been integrated into ODOT’s weather database.
Because of this, TWI stations are often found
Valley Falls Camera Image
in remote areas. An example of a TWI Station where there is also a camera is Valley Falls. The communication network for these RWIS stations is very old but still very operational and will be very expensive to replace.
In summary, the Rainwise stations are not able to split the weather data from the camera image, therefore, TripCheck can only display what it has, which is the camera image with the weather data on it.
The other devices are able to send data separately from the camera image into the database, where TripCheck is able to determine how and where to display this information. The images and data are displayed to the web servers for the world to see on TripCheck.com, but that is not the end of the story. The same weather information is being used in other systems (click here for concept of operations diagram). If you would like to learn more about other aspects of TripCheck and how they all work together (and will work in the future), please visit the ITS Documents web page and click on the Oregon Statewide ITS Architecture and Operational Concept Plan (click here to go directly).
We hope this answers this quarter's ITS TechBuzz question, however, if you have further questions on this topic, please pass them along to the editor, Jon Lazarus. Thanks.
ITS CONSTRUCTION - List of current ITS construction projects
Following is a list of projects that are currently under construction:
I-5 at Arndt Road - Camera Screenshot
Doak Mountain RWIS (Hwy 140 at MP 53.70). Project is currently under construction.
I-5 North Santiam Highway to Kuebler Boulevard. This project includes two cameras to be operated by the NWTOC. The project is currently under construction.
I-5 South Medford Interchange (I-5 at MP 27.3) Traffic monitoring camera and fiber optic installation. The project is currently under construction.
Modoc Point RWIS (US 97 north of Klamath Falls). The project is currently under construction.
Portland Area VMS (I-205 at MP 11.66, SB and I-205 at MP 24.5, SB). These 2 variable message signs were added to the I-84 NE 105th to Troutdale (ATMS, CCTV & communications) project to create the Region 1 CCTV, Communications, & VMS project. The combined project consists of extending fiber optic network east along I-84 and installing nine new traffic monitoring cameras. Project will also place two existing variable message signs, a ramp meter and a RWIS on the network. Additionally, the project includes the construction of 2 new Type 1 variable message signs. Anticipate an October 2006 bid opening.
Region 1 Rural VMS (US26 at MP 61.82, WB). The project is currently under construction.
Region 2 Miscellaneous Operations Project: This project consists of 3 Highway Advisory Radios (HARs), with warning signals in the Eugene-Springfield area and an upgrade to the Cushman Flood Warning System near Florence on US 101. This system will report status into HTCRS, 511, and TripCheck systems. A camera will also be added for verification purposes. This project is currently under construction.
I-5 at Perkins Road - Camera Screenshot
US97 South Madras VMS (MP 214.11 NB) and ORE138 Junction VMS (MP 97.13 NB). The project is currently under construction.
Region 5, 2007 ITS project. This project consists of 1 Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) transmitter with three warning signs and traffic gates at two on-ramps to I-84. These gates will prevent traffic from entering I-84 during emergencies such as snow storms. Cameras are included for verification purposes. The project design is complete. Anticipate a November 2006 bid opening.
Select projects in design include the following:
I-5 North Albany VMS and Camera (I-5 at MP 236.8 NB). This project is currently under design. Anticipate a December 2006 bid opening.
Region 2 VMS and Traffic Cameras (I-5 at MP 186.9, NB; I-5 at MP 190.99, SB; OR 69 at MP 7.64, EB; and US 20 at MP 31.25, EB). This project includes four variable message signs and three traffic monitoring cameras located in and around Eugene and Springfield. The project is currently under design. Anticipate a November 2006 bid opening.
Burnt River Canyon Freight Improvement Project. This project consists of 3 variable message signs and traffic monitoring cameras, 4 speed indicating signs, and 2 road and weather information system (RWIS) stations along I-84 in the Burnt River Canyon corridor. The project is currently under design. Anticipate a November 2007 bid opening.
ITS METRICS - Get the Latest ITS Statistics
TripCheck usage data -
A quarterly summary of the TripCheck and ODOT travel information phone system usage numbers follow. The ITS unit homepage added a statistics section to our ODOT web site for frequently asked questions about our statistics. Click here to see the latest and greatest stats or type this into your browser address line: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ITS/its_stats.shtml
This page includes graphs of the current month's usage data for TripCheck visits, pages views, hits, and calls to the ODOT phone system.
The approximate TripCheck averages for the Third quarter of 2006 (July, August, and September) are:
706,447 visits per month**
7,680,632 page views per month**
27,311,119 hits per month**
This quarter last year (3rd Quarter 2005) TripCheck.com had 539,670 visits per month,
4,292,589 page views per month, and 20,606,959 hits per month.
The phone system (including 511 calls) for this quarter-period is:
42,330 calls in July^
35,660 calls in August^
27,535 calls in September^
^A notable mention here: These are new monthly "highs" (i.e. these values are the highest for each respective month for any previous year of operation).
The average for this period is 35,175 calls per month. The average for this quarter last year was 20,109 calls.
**Visit:A visit is a series of actions that begins when a visitor views their first page from the server, and ends when the visitor leaves the site or remains idle beyond the idle-time limit. The default idle-time limit is twenty minutes. This time limit can be changed by the system administrator.
**Page View: A hit to any file classified as a page. Contrast the value for "page views" with the value for "hits," which includes hits to files of every type.
**Hit: Each file requested by a visitor registers as a hit. There can be several hits on each page. While the volume of hits reflects the amount of server traffic, it is not an accurate reflection of the number of pages viewed.
Green Light Metrics -
The Green Light weigh station preclearance program is now serving 4,114 trucking companies with 40,408 trucks equipped with transponders. The program precleared the 7-millionth truck in its history on July 13 when a truck operated by NPE, Inc. was signaled to keep going past the Woodburn Port of Entry on southbound Interstate 5. NPE, or Nickel Plate Express, is a long-haul truckload carrier of general commodities serving major markets in 11 western states. According to the company's Web site, approximately 75 to 80% of its business is within the I-5 corridor between California and the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon opened the first Green Light site in October 1997. It started keeping track of green lights in January 1999 when it had four weigh stations preclearing an average of 51 trucks a day. Today, 22 stations have Green Light systems and this year they’re preclearing an average of 3,700 trucks a day.
Here's a recap of milestones in the Green Light program:
1 million -- Feb 2001
2 million -- Mar 2002
3 million -- May 2003
4 million -- Apr 2004
5 million -- Jan 2005
6 million -- Oct 2005
7 million -- Jul 2006
In the early years of the program, the Motor Carrier Transportation Division estimated the benefits of weigh station preclearance by using a truck costs per mile calculation developed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). In 1997, ATA estimated that operating a heavy truck cost $1.92 per mile. Among other costs, that included 0.367 for driver wages, 0.535 for other wages and benefits, 0.125 for fuel, and 0.404 in equipment rents and purchased transportation. In 2003, the last time the ATA rechecked its estimations, the cost was up to $2.80 per mile. That includes 0.551 for driver wages, 0.804 for other wages and benefits, 0.198 for fuel, and 0.651 in equipment rents and purchased transportation.
Factoring the ATA's estimated $2.80 per mile cost with its estimate that trucks average 42 miles per hour from point of origin to delivery equates to a cost of $1.96 per minute ($2.80 x 42 = $117.68 per hour or $1.96 per minute). Truck operating costs vary widely in the trucking industry, but if operating a heavy truck costs $1.96 per minute and a truck saves five minutes when it avoids stopping at a weigh station, for every million trucks precleared by Green Light the trucking industry saves $9.8 million in operating costs and more than 83,300 hours of travel time.
Green Light Web site -- http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/GREEN.shtml
Trucking Online Metrics -
More than 10,100 companies are signed up for Trucking Online, including 2,750 based in Oregon. There are about 24,000 companies with trucks registered in Oregon so now the ones doing business online include 49% of those based in another state or Canada and 30% of those based in Oregon. From January 2003 through September 2006, these companies used a home or office computer for over 700,000 transactions or record inquiries that formerly required a phone call, fax, mail delivery or field office visit.
Oregon-based trucking companies will soon be able to go online to conduct business related to the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), including the annual renewal of their license. Trucking Online developers are adding IFTA-related transactions and records inquiries to the growing list of online features. In July it became possible for users to check the status of their IFTA account and now they can look up the IFTA tax returns they've filed with the Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD).
Oregon companies who participate in IFTA are required to file quarterly fuel tax returns detailing their travel in other states and Canada. Each return separates miles traveled according to the type of fuel used by their trucks. The companies compute how much fuel tax is owed to other jurisdictions, or how much tax credit other jurisdictions owe them. The tax computations are based on each motor carrier's miles per gallon for each fuel type, the number of miles traveled in a jurisdiction, and the amount of fuel purchased in that jurisdiction.
The newest Trucking Online features lets companies check whether a particular IFTA tax return has been received. They can see whether MCTD has checked the return for errors, amended any errors, and accepted the return as "completed." If it has been accepted, companies can use this online feature to view all the details on the return -- total miles by fuel type, gallons by fuel type, miles per gallon, etc. Other IFTA online features are in the works and coming in the next few weeks, including the ability to file quarterly returns online, make payments, and complete the annual IFTA license renewal process.
Visit the Trucking Online Web site for more information – http://OregonTruckingOnline.com
ITS MAINTENANCE - System Maintenance Updates
ITS System Maintenance Report -
This section update shows some of the requests for work completed by our staff and gives a break-down of high-lights and areas where maintenance and enhancement work was done. TripCheck.com, 511 phone line, Herbicide line, and HTCRS are examples of the systems supported.
July 1 - September 30, 2006
80 requests for work were received. Of these, 48 were for repairs or minor maintenance work, 12 for minor system enhancements, 8 were assigned to small Information Systems projects, and 12 assigned to formal Information Systems projects.
Here is a sampling of significant ITS system maintenance work completed in the last 3 months:
Updated HAT/511 to support using custom recorded messages for alerts
To reduce the number of dropped phone calls on HAT/511, updated HAT/511 system to switch to touch tone only after 3 voice recognition errors.
Updated HTCRS to version 2.30 to support HAT/511 alert voice recordings, and to include 25 other requests for work for HTCRS improvements and/or bug fixes.
Updated TripCheck to better support the Firefox web browser.
Completed 28 Request for Work to resolve miscellaneous minor system problems.
For questions contact Jim Weisgram at (503) 986-3211 or James.D.WEISGRAM@odot.state.or.us
ITS update on Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS also known as Micromain) –
The Micromain project has been working well to launch trouble tickets for assets and quickly identify the priority list for technicians in the field, who do the needed repairs. One of the benefits of the Micromain software is that it allows a database of all ITS assets (like cameras, weather stations, ice detectors, etc) to be kept and cataloged with a unique identification number. Among other information kept about each asset, the highway and mile point is also logged. Have a look at a couple screenshots below of the type of reporting we are now able to do:
Here is the current device failure report, for all ITS devices, year to date:
The project to start to work with the GIS mapping section of ODOT to produce a map for all ITS assets within Micromain has started. The project is undergoing an architectural review of the way ODOT does business and where we keep this data. There is a two step process currently in place to accomplish our goals:
Firstly, take a snapshot of the database and all of the assets with only the 6 critical fields needed to import them into the GIS mapping database. This will allow the ITS unit and GIS mapping section to understand the data, what assets should be shown, and how to proceed to the next stage. The second stage for this will be to link both databases and 'update' the GIS data from the Micromain database on a regular basis. This allows almost instantaneous changes to be populated to the GIS database when available, so when someone requests a map of ITS assets, they get the most up-to-date placement of the inventory.
Some basic maps will be available on-line to the public from this project. Watch this space for more to come...
For ODOT employees: click here to access Micromain.
For questions contact Jason Shaddix (503) 378-2645 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ITS in the News
*ITS Benefit of the Month: Optimized Signal Timing Reduced Delay by Approximately 22 Percent in Tysons Corner, Virginia
[transport-communications] Monday, October 2, 2006
Link to further information from US DOT:
*UK Insurance Firm Launches ‘Pay-as-You-Drive’ Cover
[transport-communications] Thursday, October 5, 2006
Link to story in The Guardian:
Link to news release from Norwich Union: http://www.aviva.com/index.asp?PageID=55&year=&newsid=2840&filter=corporate,csr,uklife,intlife,ukgeneral,intgeneral,morleyfm,intfm
ITS Lesson of the Month for September 2006
NTOC Talks Newsletter: September 27, 2006
Category > Resource: September 27, 2006 (JPO)
The topic of September’s Lesson of the Month is finding innovative funding resources to help finance management and operations (M&O) strategies and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The lesson describes the experience of several agencies with innovative funding.
Six New ITS Standards Fact Sheets released and ITS Standards Status Updates available at U.S. DOT ITS Standards Website
NTOC Talks Newsletter: September 27, 2006
Category > Resource: September 27, 2006 (FHWA)
The U.S. DOT ITS Standards Program has released six new Standards Fact Sheets which provide concise, "plain English" descriptions of ITS standards. The ITS Standards Website has also been updated with several ITS Standards Status changes.
*Colorado DOT Trip Data Predicts Travel Times
[transport-communications] Monday, September 18, 2006
Link to story in the Summit Daily News:
*More than Road Maps
[transport-communications] Monday, September 18, 2006
Standards are key for bigger geographic information systems.
Link to story in Washington Technology:
Which Commute is Worst?
Friday, September 15, 2006
Link to story in the Portland Tribune:
*AOL Driving Directions Finds Voice
[transport-communications] Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Link to story on TechWeb:
Traffic Jams Don't Stop the Data Flow
Monday, September 11, 2006
Link to story in the Portland Tribune:
Bush names new Transportation secretary
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Link to story in the Seattle Times:
Freight Mobility Matters ... at least in Portland
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Link to story in the Portland Tribune:
Friday, August 4, 2006
Link to story in the ITS International:
Oregon's online Services third best in the nation
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Link to story in the The Oregonian:
Link to study:
*Google Maps Delivers Live Traffic Updates
[transport-communications] Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Link to story from NewsFactor Network: http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_title=Google_Maps_Delivers_Live_Traffic_Updates&story_id=12100B4BA49F
Link to further information from Google: http://google.com/gmm/index.html
*These stories provided by Bernie Wagenblast and The Daily ITS news, in the Transportation Communications Newsletter. For a free subscription send an e-mail to email@example.com or contact the editor, Bernie Wagenblast, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITS OREGON Meeting
Stay informed about ODOT ITS activities across the state.
The next ITS Oregon Meeting, October 12th, 2006, 9:00 am, location:
David Evans and Associates
7th Floor Large Conference Room
2100 SW River Parkway
Portland, OR 97201
Message from the President, Hau Hagedorn:
I'm happy to announce the launch of ITS Oregon's (http://www.itsoregon.org) new and improved Web site. With the redesign, we are endeavoring to provide updated content on ITS happenings pertinent and of interest to Oregon and the Northwest. The site features a home page that provides the latest news regarding events, projects, and other noteworthy items. The posts are searchable so that archived posts can be easily accessed. The site also allows the ability for visitors to post comments which in the future, may be used to generate dialog among the broader ITS community in Oregon. For those that are using a feed reader (or aggregator) just simply point it to: http://itsoregon.wordpress.com/feed/to get the latest updates.
As always, we appreciate your feedback as we are constantly striving to increase the usability of site. If you have some news you'd like for us to post, please feel free to email me or contact one of our board members.
President, ITS Oregon
The old web site address is still active and will redirect you to the new one.
Visit the ITS site for more information about training opportunities. Link to site: http://itsoregon.wordpress.com/training/
Oregon Department of Transportation, ODOT employees only
ODOT’s Highway Mobility Operations Workshop
Highway Mobility Operations Workshop, October 17 & 24th, 2006 1/2 day
October 17th Portland http://s-salemrev-69/stc/student/psciis.dll?class=student&loc=0000047184
October 24th Portland: http://s-salemrev-69/stc/student/psciis.dll?class=student&loc=0000047185
Central Puget Sound Regional Fare Coordination (RFC): Experiences and Lessons, October 19th from 1pm to 2:30pm - Web cast, Conference Call
The U.S. DOT's ITS Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Program is sponsoring a T3 (Talking Technology and Transportation) session on the topic. The conference call and simultaneous web cast are free of charge to both Federal and non-Federal participants.
Oregon State University, National Center for Accessible Transportation Accessible Transportation Seminar Series, October 31 - November 1, 2006
A State of the Science Conference on Accessible Transportation
Where: Doubletree Lloyd Center in Portland, Oregon
For further information please contact Dr. Kate Hunter-Zaworski at
541-737-4982 or email her at email@example.com.
Link to site:
Operations Academy Senior Management Program, March 12-23, 2007 and November 5-16, 2007
University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (CATT) has announced the availability of a two-week, total immersion transportation management and operations Senior Management Program. Acceptance for the program is competitive, and requires the nomination of a local, State or Federal transportation agency. Nomination Forms are available at www.operationsacademy.org. It also requires a commitment on the part of those attending the program to satisfy the self-study requirements, and to spend two uninterrupted weeks participating in the program activities.
For additional information: www.operationsacademy.org
Contact: Kathleen Frankle, firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to site: