Benefit

In Arizona and Missouri a survey of tourists found that those who used advanced traveler information systems believed the information they received save them time.


30 June 2000
Branson; Missouri; United States; Grand Canyon; Arizona; United States


Summary Information

This study examined the I-40 Traveler and Tourist Information System (TTIS) in Arizona, and the Branson Travel and Recreation Information Program (TRIP) in Missouri. The objective of the study was to evaluate the degree to which advanced traveler information systems (ATIS) could help improve mobility, increase access, reduce congestion, stimulate economic development, and improve safety in rural tourism areas.

The Branson TRIP system was designed as a regional ATIS to provide comprehensive information on tourist attractions, weather, traffic, and road construction in the Branson/Tri-Lakes area. To address traffic congestion, the TRIP system expanded the existing ITS infrastructure and developed internet sites, highway advisory radio (HAR), traffic detection equipment, and variable message signs (VMS). A central database was designed to collect, coordinate, and disseminate the traveler information.

The I-40 TTIS was designed to provide tourists with traveler information on the I-40 corridor, which provides access to the Grand Canyon and 20 other major parks and recreation areas. Arizona’s Highway Closures and Restrictions System (HCRS) served as a central database for collection and dissemination of TTIS traveler information. The HCRS was designed to collect information from public safety professionals, construction workers, road weather information systems, and other surveillance and detection equipment.

METHODOLOGY

Based on workshop meetings and collaboration with local partners in each area, the evaluators decided to use tourist intercept surveys, focus groups, and qualitative interviews to evaluate the impact of traveler information system on customer (tourist) satisfaction in each area. The following list summarizes the survey sample size in each area.

I-40 in Arizona:
  • 2,174 tourists were approached (intercepted).
  • 1,712 completed the screener.
  • 813 completed the detailed questionnaire.

Branson, Missouri:
  • 1,803 tourists were intercepted.
  • 1,689 completed the screener.
  • 640 completed the detailed questionnaire.

Originally, the deployment plans were designed to provide travelers with real-time information during the summer tourist season in an effort to alert travelers of incidents, congestion, and changing road conditions via the phone system, informational kiosks, websites, and variable message signs, route signs, and highway advisory radio (HAR). However, due to technical issues associated with real-time information dissemination and the limited deployment of kiosks with access to special internet sites, the overall awareness of ATIS was limited during the survey. The systems deployed by late summer did not include real-time information on major incidents, road closures, or weather conditions.

FINDINGS

The following results were presented in the report:

I-40 Tourist Satisfaction

Tourists interviewed in Arizona were pleased with travel conditions irrespective of awareness or use of traveler information systems. Seventy-eight (78) percent of travelers surveyed in Arizona were aware of at least one deployed ATIS component, and 45 percent of travelers surveyed used the system. However, because the evaluation effort took place early in the deployment phase only 10 to 20 percent of tourists were aware of the kiosks, websites, or interactive phone systems, and less than 10 percent were users of any one of these services.

Over 50 percent of tourists interviewed in Arizona agreed or strongly agreed that the information they received saved them time. In addition, over 70 percent of the tourists who received information over the internet thought the information save them time. A smaller number of tourists (35 to 63 percent) reported the information made it easier to get to their destination.

Branson Tourist Satisfaction

Tourists who were aware of at least one traveler information system component were more satisfied with the travel conditions on the current and previous trip than the tourists who were unaware of the traveler information system. 85 percent of travelers surveyed in Branson were aware of at least one deployed ATIS component, and 48 percent of the travelers surveyed used the system. However, because the evaluation effort took place early in the deployment phase only 10 to 20 percent of tourists were aware of the kiosks, websites, or interactive phone systems, and less than 10 percent were users of any one of these services.

Over 50 percent of the respondents indicated the information (excluding radio) saved them time. A smaller number of respondents (30 to 40 percent) indicated the information from the toll-free telephone information service, the website, and kiosks made it easier to get to their destination.

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Source

Advanced Traveler Information Services in Rural Tourism Areas: Branson Travel and Recreational Information Program (Missouri) and Interstate 40 Traveler and Tourist Information System (Arizona)

Author: Orban, John, et al.

Published By: Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT

Prepared by Battelle, BRW, and CJI Research for the U.S. DOT

Source Date: 30 June 2000

EDL Number: 13070

URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/jpodocs/repts_te/13070.pdf

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Benefit ID: 2002-00231