In my post dated March 31 I wrote about the TTI website known as My35. In the post I said it would be nice to see some data on the number of people using it, and especially the number who changed their route based on what they saw there.
I just received an email from Bob Brydia, the principal investigator on this project. I will let him tell the story.
Bob writes, “Allow me to introduce myself, Bob Brydia, with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. I’m the Principal Investigator of the project you referenced in your Feb 18 and March 31 blog articles and also the designer of the real-time map you provide the link to. I also wrote the article in ITS International that you referenced in the blog posting.
Your article states that you’d like to see some usage statistics, so I thought I’d reach out and try to provide you with some information. I’d like to thank both Jerry Ullman and Chad England for forwarding your blog articles to me and I obviously need to sign up.
I’m going to caveat my response by saying that we suffer, on the I-35 corridor, with (a lack of) good ways of reaching the public. Given that 2/3rds of the traffic is through, and we don’t have billboards, we have a decided lack of market penetration to a huge portion of the driver base. The communications component of the project team is constantly searching for new ways to get to the public. As an example, 4 new rest stops recently were completed and we’re putting pull up banners in those locations, showing a corridor graphic with completion dates by section and a QR code that goes straight to the real-time map. We also link to the map from newsletters, our daily automated lane closure announcements, tweets, Facebook, etc.
As you can see from the table below, we’ve averaged over the past 4 months, more than 10,000 visitors and upwards of 12,000 pageviews. Since we went live with the corridor traffic map in October 2012 and started with less than 1500 visitors, most of which were testing, we’ve been building our user base from scratch.
Additionally, since we deployed the new tabbed interface for information (Feb 2014), we’re tracking the tab clicks and the percentages of information has a breakdown as shown in the table below. The map tab is underrepresented as the desktop view always has the map present and the mobile view defaults to the map tab. Approximately 1/3 of the site traffic originates from mobile devices.
From a survey that recently concluded (yesterday!, so the results aren’t published yet), of the respondents that were aware of the real-time map, nearly 90% (89.33) found the information to be useful. 8% said the information wasn’t enough, outdated, or incomplete, and 2.67% provided no answer to that question.
You also asked if drivers have changed their plans based on the available information traveler information resources (which is a wider set than just the map). From the responses, 32.58% said “Never”, 12.92% did not respond, and a total of 54.49% answered anywhere from Once or Twice to Frequently. Nearly 25% of the respondents answered “Frequently”.
I hope this information provides some follow-up to the questions you posed in your March 31 blog. Please feel free to contact me if you need or would like any additional information.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions.”
Thank you Bob for your detailed response! We exchanged a few more emails, then he wrote back with this additional information, “Just one additional note on the map. If you click on options, you can customize all the information to your trip, so by direction, and by the type of information you want to see. That customization will persist across all tabs, so if you click Option and indicate you only want to see northbound information, the lane closure list will filter down to NB only and when you click to say…travel times, only the NB travel times will show. There’s no other traffic map in the nation that puts information together in this manner.”
I agree. And the more useful we can make these websites, the more users can customize their experience, and the fewer unwanted notifications they receive, the more folks will use them.