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RoadInfo: Advanced Traveller Information for the Greater Toronto Area


There is a growing demand for traveller information in Canada, and this demand has thus far been met primarily by the private sector (i.e. local broadcast media outlets). Canadian municipalities increasingly find themselves under pressure to provide more and better traveller information to the motoring, transitriding, and walking public. This paper showcases the City of Toronto’s successful RoadInfo system and demonstrates the potential benefits and pitfalls of developing a telephone-based ATIS system. RoadInfo is a telephone-based traveller information system providing service to the public within the City of Toronto and across the Greater Toronto Area. With joint funding from the City of Toronto and the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario, RoadInfo has been providing planned event information, pedestrian operations information, comment capabilities, and limited live road closure information to area residents and businesses for over 10 years. The paper briefly reviews the benefits to be derived by ATIS systems, the development of RoadInfo system, the features RoadInfo provides, and its range of potential applications (e.g. from traveller information to public health advisories). The paper then identifies ATIS industry developments related to telephone-based services, and in particular, discusses the U.S. 511 standards, and the movement towards similar standards in Canada. The paper then outlines the ‘lessons learned’ through industry ATIS deployments, and through the development of the RoadInfo ATIS. Developed in an era preceding the term ‘ITS’, RoadInfo has overcome many of the common industry roadblocks to implementing a fully functional ATIS. Challenges in providing real-time information, changing roles for staff, managing contracted staff, and the industry challenges in developing a profitable ATIS business model are each discussed. The paper will conclude with a description of the potential development path for the RoadInfo system.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Zvaniga, B