Treat system operators as the client and consider their perspectives during ATIS project development.

Washington's experience in deploying five Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) projects and developing a standardized approach for evaluating ATIS projects.

Washington,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

The participation of maintenance staff in the project development process is mentioned in another lesson from this same evaluation as a potential contributor to successful system implementation because it enables ease of future support and maintenance to be taken into account during planning and design. Similarly, the participation of system operators in the project development process can help ensure that ease of use and convenient functionality for both hardware and software when ATIS projects are designed.
  • Consider the perspectives of system operators during project development. In one of the projects evaluated, staff noted that the planning, design and implementation processes did not include continuous contact between the original system designers and the project implementation process. As a result, the original designers and the eventual users did not participate in the system performance check until project completion. In another rural project evaluation, several observations were made related to operational issues of the ATIS systems after their deployment, focusing on their functionality and convenience for system operators. Interviews from that project noted the differences in ease of use between their software (which they stated was the oldest among state systems) and that of other regional systems. Issues mentioned included difficulties with manual initiation of dial-up communications, including communications errors, and the need to manage each device separately. This is in contrast to another regional system in the state that allows the operator to select multiple systems, enter a message, and initiate communications without requiring the operator to manually manage each step of the process.

This experience shows that feedback from the eventual users of the system enables functional limitations and other design shortcomings to be identified and addressed before implementation. This helps to reduce the number and severity of usability problems and generally helps to better satisfy user needs.

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ATIS Evaluation Framework

Author: Jaime M. Kopf, et al

Published By: Washington State Department of Transportation, sponsoring agency Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC), University of Washington, performing organization

Source Date: 5/1/2005

EDL Number: 14313

Other Reference Number: Report No. WA-RD 606.1; Agreement T1803, Task 27

URL: http://depts.washington.edu/trac/bulkdisk/pdf/606.1.pdf

Other Lessons From this Source

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Jaime Kopf
Washington State Transportation Center
(206) 616-8265

Agency Contact(s):

Eldon Jacobson
Washington State Department of Transportation
(206) 685-3187

Lesson Analyst:

Jane Lappin
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center


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United States

Goal Areas



DMS, CMS, VMS, Changeable Message Signs, Variable Message Signs, HAR

Lesson ID: 2006-00249