Better Roads Staff
Mobile Phones and More
One way agencies are using existing infrastructure to leverage intelligent transportation is enhanced use of smart phones.
For example, in June, ITS America recognized the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Turnpike Authority with its Smart Solution Spotlight award for the agency’s use of a smart phone “app” to provide New Jersey commuters with more accurate and timely information about traffic conditions, weather situations and safety advisories.
Drivers on New Jersey’s most heavily traveled highways may download a free smart phone application called Trumpit, developed by ITS America member HNTB, to receive audio-based traffic, weather and public safety alerts customized to their commute.
The free Trumpit app for iPhones, Androids or BlackBerrys allows drivers to hear audio alerts that can be tailored to their commutes through the My511 feature at the www. 511nj.org website. When an alert tone sounds on a driver’s phone, the driver can listen to it by pressing a single button.
NJDOT plans to use global positioning systems in smart phones to deliver traffic alerts for any roadway on which drivers are traveling without having to sign up for that specific road through the app, anticipated for later in 2011.
Smart phones may also offer more than just an outreach function; they may also enable intelligent highways or traffic monitoring, analysis and response.
Because digital phones and smart phones emit radio signals that reveal the locations of their owners, future traffic management systems may be able to collect the data and disseminate traffic information more easily and quickly.
Listening posts, in conjunction with cell phone base stations, would permit traffic management personnel to triangulate the location of each vehicle containing mobile phones, and by time-stamping the radio signals, the listening posts could algorithmically determine the speed, direction and location of each mobile device-bearing commuter on a particular highway.
Then, traffic control could send to the mobile devices personalized traffic updates, along with GPS-produced maps advising commuters of alternate routes and traffic information to the affected commuters’ phones.