To support statewide traveler information services, design and implement reliable interface software processes to capture incident data from the local and highway patrol police’s computer aided dispatch systems.

Statewide systems implementation experience from iFlorida Model Deployment

Florida,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The iFlorida project established methods for statewide monitoring of traffic conditions, a 511 system, and a Web site for disseminating traveler information. While the video and traffic data obtained from the statewide monitoring stations were occasionally useful to confirm information about incidents that occurred within the range of the video cameras, most incidents were not within camera range. Because of wide spacing between the monitoring stations, data from the statewide monitoring system alone were inadequate to meet the needs for statewide traveler information services. A supplementary source of data, particularly for incident information, was the Florida Highway Patrol Computer Aided Dispatch (FHP CAD) system. However, there were challenges to incorporate the FHP CAD data into the Condition Reporting System (CRS), the central data warehouse software for iFlorida. Lessons learned include:
  • Develop a robust electronic interface for obtaining comprehensive incident information data from the highway patrol police organizations. Prior to the iFlorida project, the FHP maintained a Web site that included selected incident information extracted from its CAD systems across the state. Because the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 5 (D5) Regional Traffic Management Center (RTMC) activities prior to iFlorida were focused on I-4 and restricted to the Orlando area, the FHP CAD Web site was rarely used by RTMC operators. If an RTMC operator wanted information about an incident on I-4, the operator could request it from the co-located FHP CAD Troop D dispatchers. With the advent of iFlorida and its plan for a new statewide traveler information system, the D5 RTMC needed statewide incident information, so the iFlorida project included developing an interface between the FHP CAD and the CRS (iFlorida’s central software). However, the CRS presentation of incident data obtained from this interface with FHP CAD did not operate as expected, for example, it did not effectively restrict incidents to those on roads included in the iFlorida statewide system jurisdiction and it sometimes placed an incident at an incorrect location. When the CRS failed to operate as expected, RTMC operators referred to the FHP Web site directly for statewide incident information in order to populate the statewide 511 system.
  • Beware that interfacing with just the highway patrol police may not be adequate to get complete incident data. A key limitation noted by FDOT with regard to FHP CAD incident information was that it was not inclusive of all incidents, as the local police rather than FHP responded to incidents at some locations. This meant that FDOT might not be aware of incidents at some locations, so the statewide traveler information was sometimes incomplete. Subsequently, FDOT undertook steps to remedy this limitation by making the 511 user feedbacks on unreported incidents available to RTMC operators.
  • Develop a reliable filtering mechanism to capture correct incident data from the police CAD systems. The primary sources of incident information for the CRS were the FHP CAD system and RTMC operator input. However, RTMC operators found using the CRS extracted CAD information difficult because the CRS did not filter the FHP CAD incidents effectively for iFlorida roads. At times, an RTMC operator was required to spend most of his time deleting FHP CAD information for incidents occurring on roads outside the iFlorida limits. Nonetheless, the CRS provided tools that FDOT used to manage 511 messages. However, in May 2007, the CRS contractor discontinued development of the CRS and the CRS software failed. FDOT subsequently migrated to SunGuide as its traffic management center software and, by November 2007, was using SunGuide to manage 511 messages for the statewide 511 system.
The FHP CAD data served as a valuable source of information for the iFlorida’s statewide traveler information service, which was to increase traveler satisfaction and enhance mobility on the roadways. As evident from iFlorida’s experience, in order to effectively use the police CAD data for traveler information, it is essential to deploy a communications interface that will present relevant information.

Lesson Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Lesson

To comment on this lesson, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


iFlorida Model Deployment Final Evaluation Report

Author: Robert Haas (SAC); Mark Carter (SAIC); Eric Perry (SAIC); Jeff Trombly (SAIC); Elisabeth Bedsole (SAIC): Rich Margiotta (Cambridge Systematics)

Published By: United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE Washington, DC 20590

Source Date: 01/30/2009

EDL Number: 14480

URL: https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/3977

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Analyst:

Firoz Kabir


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Lesson

(click stars to rate)

Lessons From This Source

Assess security risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and identify countermeasures to ensure operations of transportation management centers.

Be flexible to use data from various sources, such as the highway police patrol’s incident data, user feedback, and monitoring stations, to develop a statewide traveler information system.

Beware of challenges involved in developing an integrated statewide operations system for traffic monitoring, incident data capture, weather information, and traveler information—all seamlessly controlled by a central software system.

Beware of costs, utility, reliability, and maintenance issues in deploying a statewide transportation network monitoring system.

Beware of the limitations of using toll tags in order to calculate travel time on limited access roadways and arterials.

Beware that software development for ITS projects can be utterly complex, which demands avoiding pitfalls by following a rigorous systems engineering process.

Define a vision for software operations upfront and follow sound systems engineering practices for successfully deploying a complex software system.

Deploy a variable speed limit system only after the software systems required to support it are mature and reliable.

Design traffic video transmission systems around the constraints of bandwidth limitations and provide provisions for remote configuration of video compression hardware.

Develop an accurate, map-based fiber network inventory and engage ITS team in the construction approval process.

Develop an effective evacuation plan for special event that gathers a large audience and consider co-locating the responding agencies in a joint command center.

Ensure compatibility of data format of the field-weather monitoring sensors with the central software in the transportation management center.

Ensure that experienced staff oversee the development of a complex software system and thoroughly follow systems engineering process.

Ensure that Highway Patrol's CAD system operators enter key information needed by the transportation management center operators.

Establish a well defined process for monitoring and maintenance before expanding the base of field equipment.

Estimate life-cycle cost of ITS technologies as part of procurement estimates in order to assess the range of yearly maintenance costs.

In developing software for automated posting of messages on dynamic message signs, focus on the types of messages that are used often and changed frequently, and also include manual methods for posting.

Incorporate diagnostic tools to identify and verify problems in the transmission of video in a transit bus security system.

Perform adequate analyses and tests to design, calibrate and validate the capabilities of a bridge security monitoring system in order to reduce false alarms.

To support statewide traveler information services, design and implement reliable interface software processes to capture incident data from the local and highway patrol police’s computer aided dispatch systems.

Use simple menu choices for 511 traveler information and realize that the majority of callers are seeking en route information while already encountering congestion.

Lesson ID: 2010-00541