RFP Alert: Release of Monterey Bay Area 511 Feasibility and ImplementationPlan Request for Proposals

November 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) and the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) invites interested parties to submit a proposal for developing a Feasibility Analysis and Implementation Plan for a Monterey Bay Area 511 Traveler Information System. The Request for Proposals has been published and can be accessed at the Monterey Bay Area’s 511 project website.

General information is listed below for quick reference:

  • Proposal Due Date: Proposals must be submitted no later than 4:00pm, PacificStandard Time, Thursday, January 6, 2011.
  • Proposers’ Conference: A proposers’ conference will be held on Monday,December 6, 2010 at 2:00pm in the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation CommissionConference Room, 1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Participation will also be available by conference call. To ensure that sufficient resources are available for this meeting, RSVPs to info@sccrtc.org or (831) 460-3200 are requested by Wednesday, December1st at Noon. Please indicate whether you plan to attend in person or by phone.
  • Requests for clarification or exceptions: Requests for clarification or exceptions to RFP requirements must be received byRTC no later than 4:00pm on Monday, December 13, 2010 to guarantee response or consideration.


This RFP and any addenda will be posted on the 511 project website(www.511montereybay.org). All potential bidders should review this pageperiodically for any updated information about the Request for Proposals. To receive email notifications of addenda to this RFP, prospective proposers must submit an email request to the RTC Project Manager.

Point of Contact:

Tegan Speiser, Project ManagerSanta Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060831-460-3200 ~ tspeiser@sccrtc.org

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Webinar Alert: Social Media – What is it? How can my agency use it? What experience have others had?

January 19, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Social Media – What is it? How can my agency use it? What experience have others had?

The I-95 Corridor Coalition is hosting a webcast titled “The Use of Social Media for Travel Information” on Thursday, January 28, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (EST).

Many areas of interest regarding Social Media will be discussed during this webcast including: how it works, what information can be shared using it, how to implement it, how to get management buy-in for it, how do you know if it is working, and where is it all headed. In addition, two case studies from New York State DOT and North Carolina DOT will be highlighted.

For more information and to sign up for this no-cost webcast, please see the notice on the I-95 Corridor Coalition website athttp://www.i95coalition.org/

Game Changer! Google Unveils Free Map Navigation Service; Throws a Dagger in the Heart of SatNav Market

October 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm

(Source: Mashable & Guardian, UK)

Could the satnav (Satellite Navigation, for those not in know) – the saviour of many a long car journey – about to be consigned to the dustbin of history, alongside Betamax tapes and HD-DVDs?

After enjoying years of seemingly unassailable popularity with gadget fans and travelling salesmen, those little gadgets hanging on your vehicle’s Dashboards could become redundant excesses because of the threat from a new breed of mobile phones that feature the sort of mapping technology that wouldn’t look out of place on the most expensive TomTom. GoogleGoogle just released a beta version of Google Maps Navigation for AndroidAndroid 2.0. operating system, a new tool, based on Google’s existing road maps platform, that will provide turn-by-turn directions, automatic re-routing and 3D street-level views. In short, pretty much everything your satnav can do, but without the need to worry about an extra bit of kit when you load up the car.

The share prices of leading satnav manufacturers, such as TomTom and Garmin, nosedived on the news. Garmin’s share price dipped by 18 per cent, TomTom’s by 13 per cent – a huge hit, and a clear sign that the market is taking the threat posed by Google very seriously indeed.

Here’s a quick overview of the features:

  • Search in plain English – quickly search and navigate to places, businesses, landmarks
  • Search by voice
  • View of live traffic data over the Internet.
  • Search along route – find locations near your current path
  • Satellite view – you can view the same satellite imagery you’ve seen Google MapsGoogle Maps, on your phone
  • Street View – check out what the exact surroundings of a location look like
  • Car dock mode – when you place certain devices in a car dock, a special mode activates that enables easier operation

GPS turn-by-turn navigation has historically always been something you had to pay for. Creating and maintaining a map of the entire world, together with points of interests and traffic info, plus developing the algorithms that make sure you don’t take a wrong turn, costs millions of dollars. But Google is now offering it for free. The result was devastating for shares of GPS navigation companies: Garmin’s shares fell by 16.4%; TomTom’s by 20.8%. We’re talking billions of dollars of market capitalization, gone in one day, just because Google presented another free product (they release new products on a monthly, if not weekly basis).

It’s certainly an ambitious idea – the Google Maps Navigation tool will draw upon several areas of Google expertise, such as search and location-based services, to deliver clear views of the best routes, complete with finest restaurants, cosiest hotels and cheapest petrol stations along the way.

Live traffic information will be pushed directly to your Android phone, helping you to avoid jams. And users will be able to wave goodbye to the annual hassle of the satnav map update – the latest, most accurate maps will be sent to Android phones by Google over the mobile phone network, which means there won’t be any of the nasty surprises so common with stand-alone sat-navs, such as being directed down a newly designated one-wastreet.

Street View – real, street-level photography that shows the roads, buildings and landmarks around you – will also be an excellent feature, enabling you to quickly and easily pinpoint your location in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, and visualise the remainder of your route.

Guardian says “Converged devices, though, are undoubtedly the future, and the all-singing, all-dancing phones we’re starting to see growing in popularity are set to be the ultimate multitasking gadget, handling everything from social-networking to email, playing music or taking photos, and guiding us around town, be it on foot or in the car.

Google Maps Navigation may very well prove to be a satnav killer in time, but don’t throw out your TomTom just yet.

Click here or here to read the entire article.

Shout Out to Aha’s Real-Time Traffic Reports! This improved iPhone app let’s you add your own traffic commentary “Shout Outs”

October 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

(Source: Mashable & TechCrunch)

Quick Pitch: Aha Mobile is an iPhone app that taps into the collective wisdom of actual drivers to create customized travel information for you.

Genius Idea: Navigation apps and GPS systems let you know how to get where you’re going, but what about other utilities for drivers who already know the route? Aha Mobile is a service designed to provide useful utilities to drivers while on the road.

Their first product is a free iPhone app that provides details on traffic flow, points of interest nearby, and short audio message “shouts” from other drivers who might have useful information about the route ahead.

The Aha Mobile app is designed for ease of use while driving, although they stress it should only be used when traffic conditions permit (and you’ll want to check your state laws relating to cell phone use in the car as well). With large buttons and graphics in a simple interface, it’s easier to pull out relevant information at a glance than trying to make sense of a small map.

After firing up the app you’ll see 4 buttons: traffic, shout room, nearby, and settings. The latter is where you can enter your personal details, including your Facebook and Twitter accounts for pushing your shouts out to your social networks. Yes, the app itself only has four buttons! It seems to be designed with safety in mind,  and with only 4 buttons it is a lot safer to use at speeds of 65 miles per hour or less. You can preset the roads into your app before you get on the road, so you can automatically access them without taking your eyes off the road to input the information.

Aha also alerts you to nearby food and drinks; pulling in information from Yelp. But if you want to find a coffee place while you are on the road, Aha will simple pull in the four, top-rated coffee shops nearest to your locations, instead of making you scroll through listings. Aha also pulls in bathroom locations from SitOrSquat and info about the locations of red light or speed cameras from Photoenforced.com.

Crowdsourcing traffic information is another compelling part of the app. With the Aha App, drivers simply tap their iPhone, speak for up to 15 seconds and, without taking their eyes off the road, safely broadcast voice messages, known as Aha Shouts, to drivers nearby. For example, if you witnessed an accident on the 101 highway, you could tape a shout and Aha would store this Shout so that another users could access this information when he or she is driving along the same route.  A face icon indicates one or more “shouts” are available for this route, either from other drivers or from industry sources INRIX and Clear Channel. Shouts can include information about how traffic is flowing, congestion, accidents, and other relevant major incidents that might impact your route.

Drivers can now post Aha Shouts automatically to Twitter and Facebook for others to hear. With Aha’s new Facebook and Twitter integration, drivers can customize which types of Shouts go to each of their social networks. One humorous feature of Aha’s app is the “Caraoke” room that lets Aha users record 15 seconds of singing along to any song in the car. Fellow Aha users can see other users’ recordings and you can also publish your “Caraoke” to Twitter or Facebook.

Click here to read the entire article.

WMATA is now ready to mash! Washington, DC’s Metro takes a giant leap by sharing transit data online for developers

March 24, 2009 at 7:13 pm

(Source: Faster Forward blog – Washington Post)

Upgrading Transit’s Interface: Metro Releases Google Transit Data

This morning, Metro’s Web site has a new page with a title not normally seen on the online presences of transit agencies: “Developer Resources.”

Photo Courtesy: Mymetrostop@Flickr

That page offers a download of Metro’s bus and rail schedules inGoogle Transit Feed Specification format, ready for any developer to download and reuse in a Web page or in a standalone program. (At the moment, clicking through the user agreement on the page only sends you back to the user agreement, but I’m sure somebody at Metro will correct that soon enough. Right?)

 In doing this, Metro is following the example of a lot of smart Web sites — but too few government agencies — by letting the rest of the world re-use, re-publish and mash up its data. The immediate effect of a GTFS download may only be the addition of Metro rail and bus routes to thetransit guidance offered on Google Maps (assuming the Mountain View, Calif., Web firm doesn’t object to Metro’s terms of use). That alone should make Metro’s services far more “discoverable,” to use a little human-interface jargon. But when anybody else can play this game, the possibilities are wide open.

In the same way that Web developers have used Google Maps tools to build crafty sites charting everything from real-estate sales to campaign donations, people will be able to build Web sites, widgets and programs using Metro’s data in ways that the company hasn’t thought of and may never dream up on its own.

For a sense of the possibilities, look over this interview from last year, in which two managers in Portland, Oregon’s Tri-Met transit agency explain how independent developers and other government agencies are building useful software and services off their data feeds with minimal cost and effort.

Click here to read the entire article. 

Workshop on Identifying Traveler Information Research Needs to Achieve All Roads-All Modes-All the Time

February 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm


Workshop on Identifying Traveler Information Research Needs to Achieve All Roads-All Modes-All the Time

April 15-17, 2009


The TRB Intelligent Transportation Systems Committee is sponsoring this workshop with the goal of identifying critical traveler information research and policy issues and offering recommendations towards the goal of “All Roads-All Modes-All the Time”. The workshop will bring together traveler information researchers, policy-makers, public and private-sector service providers, transport network managers, and modelers, to document current knowledge and identify research needs. The agenda (Agenda.pdf) for this event is attached at the end of this page.

This will be a gathering of national and international experts who will present, debate, and identify research needs toward the national goal of full network visibility.  The output from this workshop, its observations, insights, and recommendations, will inform the national ITS program real-time information research strategy.  This is your opportunity to listen, speak, and be heard.  

The plenary session speakers on Wednesday afternoon April 15 will address the current state of the practice in transit, traffic and other real-time information networks, and will be drawn from the European Union, USDOT, Caltrans, the ITS Program Advisory Committee, and from the private companies that are progressing the development and delivery of real-time information.  Following the plenary, well gather for a cocktail reception.

Workshop Organization


The workshop is organized into four working groups addressing (1) data collection, (2) data fusion and processing, (3) information dissemination, and (4) network impacts (described below), with panelists identifying research and evaluation gaps toward the development of seamless network visibility.  Following the presentations, the working group participants will debate the material presented, and expand the scope of the discussion as needed. In the closing session of the meeting on Friday morning, we will present the highlights of the working group discussions, both agreements and unresolved issues, and get an insider’s update on the next transportation authorization from legislative officials.

1. Real-time network data
The real-time network data panel will focus on research needs related to the gathering and collection of real-time data for traffic, transit, parking and freight.  Some of the specific topics to be addressed include assessing data coverage, data quality and data ownership/rights, and comparing different business models/approaches to collecting real-time information.  Of particular interest will be addressing the need for data collection systems to facilitate the exchange and integration of real-time data of varying levels of quality and utility.

2. Data fusion and processing
Improved real-time data fusion techniques and processing will improve the overall quality, timeliness, and usefulness of applications such as traveler information, performance monitoring, and incident response.  The most common ITS data fusion techniques perform temporal and spatial corrections to improve data correlation.  New ITS services are being developed to predict transportation conditions from inferred relationships with data, such as an ensemble model that considers weather conditions and predicts the probability of crashes based on observed road conditions and historical analyses. This panel will consider current developments and explore the opportunities for improved and standardized data fusion techniques.

3. Information dissemination
The information dissemination panel will explore three primary topics in the distribution of traveler information.  The panel will first delve into the state of existing research on traveler information distribution with the goal of identifying gaps in research and/or applications.  The second part will explore existing public and private approaches to information distribution including data quality and management and business/financial models.  The final part will explore known challenges and gaps in the production and dissemination of traveler information to customers, identifying and targeting future research efforts.

4. Network impacts
The network impacts panel will consider the effects of information (i) on individual traveler behavior, and (ii) on travel conditions and flows.  The state of knowledge in these two areas will be assessed, with reference to empirical data from deployed and operational systems as well as to results from research efforts, in order to identify knowledge gaps and suggest fruitful directions for future data collection and research.



Following panelist presentations, the working group participants will debate the material presented, and expand the scope of the discussion as needed. As an expert in the real-time traveler information enterprise, your active participation in the working groups is pivotal to the success of the workshop. Formal proceedings will document the contents of the discussions for future reference.  
In the closing session of the meeting on Friday morning, April 17, we will present the highlights of the working group discussions, both agreements and unresolved issues, and get an insiders update on the next transportation authorization from legislative officials.


The registration fee includes the meeting and associated materials, the reception on Wednesday evening and meals including full breakfast on Thursday and Friday, lunch on Thursday and all morning and afternoon breaks.  A block of rooms has been reserved at the Fairmont Newport Beach Hotel (across from the Orange County Airport).  Free airport transportation is available through the hotel.  The meeting will open at the hotel on Wednesday, and continue at the Beckman Center on Thursday and Friday.  Car pools to the Beckman Center will be arranged for participants who do not rent cars.

Be sure to register by March 6 in order to enjoy the early registration discount, and book your hotel room before March 13 to get the special discounted room rate. 

Registration Type

Early Bird Registration

(by March 6)

Advance Registration

(by March 13)


(after March 13)







Refunds will be issued, less a $50 cancellation fee, for all cancellations received in writing by March 13, 2009. No refunds will be issued thereafter.




Beckman Center of the National Academies
100 Academy
Irvine, California 
Get Location Map
Click here to access the event Website for registration and to learn more about the hotel and other travel-related information.
Best regards,
Steve Shladover
ITS Committee Chair