Enable ATIS

In the last post we discussed two states’ plans to control work zone ITS elements using their existing TMC software. I said system operations software is not made to drill down to the work zone level of detail. Some of you disagreed saying it works well. It does make sense to have everything run from the same system. I just don’t think that most systems are ready for us yet.

But a new effort is underway that may help bridge the gap. It is called EnableATIS or Enable Advanced Traveler Information Systems:


It is a USDOT effort to take traveler information to the next level. The idea is to integrate data from a wide variety of sources and to deliver it to everyone that needs it in a way that best meets their needs. The goal is to inform agency decisions day to day and also inform driver decisions regarding route, time of departure, and even travel mode.

Their vision statement is clear and well written. And the work zone ITS community has a role to play in each of the areas. Here it is in its entirety:

“Enable ATIS is a transformative concept of the traveler information community that will:

• Improve transportation system mobility and safety by better informing agency operational strategies as well as individual user decisions

• Foster multi-source data and information integration and delivery that will transform the user experience on the transportation network

• Advance planning, engineering and research with new forms of data about traveler behavior and response to transportation operations

• Promote development of dynamic and transformative applications for real-time, multi-modal, and traveler information partnerships”

EnableATIS efforts began in 2011 and are still very early in the process. It sounds like the 511 Coalition has taken the lead. To date, there has been minimal industry input and zero work zone participation. Industry participation has been limited to just 2 or 3 ITS America members. Work zone vendors, in particular, need to get involved to insure that the eventual system structure will accommodate detailed work zone data and delivery methods will refresh often to update changing traffic conditions ahead of and within the work zones.

There will be opportunities for involvement on several levels:

  • Data definitions
  • Data quality control
  • Data format
  • Delivery channels
  • System architecture

I have said many times that systems operations people don’t understand work zones. They aren’t accustomed to the level of detail our systems provide nor do they understand how important that detail can be. Please consider helping them to build a system that will make full use of all that we, as an industry, can provide.

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