Center Identification Number: 77709
Project Title: Smart Phone Application to Influence Travel Behavior (TRAC-IT Phase 3)
Philip L. Winters
Sean J. Barbeau
Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
External Project Contact:
Public Transportation Office
I. Project Objective/Problem Statement
The objective of this project is to influence travel behavior by mode, route, or time of day through the integration of traveler information, GPS, location-aware services and TRAC-ITís PDA-based travel behavior advisory system into cell phone application.
In earlier phases of this project, the NCTR-funded TRAC-IT project developed and pilot tested an application to track an individualís travel behavior using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) platform linked with a Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The system works across modes of transportation (i.e., not tied to a vehicle such as a car or bus). In addition, TRAC-IT automatically analyzes the data collected from the device to give personalized feedback advice, based on its server-side expert system. TRAC-IT captures travel patterns regardless of mode, automates the collection of travel characteristics (e.g., time, distance, and even mode), transmits the data to a database, conducts the analysis of the householdís travel patterns using the expert system and provides feedback to the individuals in the household.
This project will enhance TRAC-ITís effectiveness for influencing travel behavior. With the recent explosion of ďsmart phonesĒ on the cellular phone market, a large amount of the population is now carrying their own personalized computing devices. Mass production has lowered the cost of such phones substantially, making them more affordable for the average consumer. Data functionality such as text or multimedia messages, email, and streaming video is becoming common and now possible at broadband speeds due to the advancement of cell phone & wireless technologies. Additionally, the FCC has mandated that all cell phones meet the e911 standards of location reporting within 25 meters by Dec. 31st, 2005. This mandate sets the stage for commercialized location-aware services that will be personalized to the user based on their current physical location. These same services can contribute further to the TRAC-IT system.
Cell phone popularity continues to grow as does the sophistication of the devices. It is estimated that currently over one quarter of the worldís population owns a cell phone. This project would expand the PDA-based TRAC-IT by adapting the application to cell phones and integrating the technology with other databases as 511 traffic information systems and transit AVL systems to increase the utility and effectiveness of the application. Location-aware services such as approaching transit vehicles, alternate routes and driving directions can be calculated and delivered directly to the user based on both real-time incident and traffic conditions and their past travel behavior, allowing them to alter their mode or planned route before they encounter a problem. It also will examine modifications on the client side (e.g., within the phone) and server-side (e.g., hosted on a computer) to make the TRAC-IT system fully automated and scalable from small towns to large urban cities.
The proposed scope of services for this project consists of the following tasks.
Task 1. Assess technology options for Location-Aware Services (LAS) & mobile phones.
o Examine current capabilities of cell
phones and providers.
Task 2. Develop method to extract, record, and display location (i.e. GPS) data from a mobile phone.
o Examine the abilities to collect location
information via cellular providerís server vs. client (cell phone).
Task 3. Develop methods to minimize the need for user input
o Implement and test methods to
automatically detect characteristics of the userís travel behavior (i.e.
mode of transportation, type of location visited, etc.)
Task 4. Adapt TRACITís PDA application to the cell phone environment
o Develop and refine graphical user
interface (GUI) for use in a mobile phone.
Deliverable: Demonstration of
application to FDOT
o Identify other databases that could
potentially increase the utility and effectiveness of the TRACIT application
(i.e. push/push real-time traffic information from a system such as the 511
Task 6. Field test application
o Determine sample size, control group,
survey approach, including incentives (if necessary) for recruiting
participants, and survey duration for the field test. Rapid changes in the
telecommunications industry may change the approach. Sprint-Nextelís iDEN
network for Nextel subscribers is currently the only cellular network to
provide access to GPS data through software on the handset. However, it is
quite possible that other providers and networks, including Sprint-Nextelís
CDMA network for Sprint subscribers, may allow access to such data in the
near future. This development would positively effect the recruitment of
participants by making the TRACIT application operable across these
different networks and increasing potential base population for this field
Task 7. Prepare Draft Final Report
o Prepare draft final report and submit for
review and comment.
Progress Reports will be submitted on a quarterly basis to the Research Center for processing. The first Quarterly Report will become due 3 months after a Notice to Proceed is issued to the consultant by the Department. The deliverables will be the final report, in both draft and final forms, as well as a demonstration of the application to FDOT. Once approved by the FDOT Project Manager and the Research Office, the contractually required number copies of the final report, an electronic version, and an electronic version of the project summary will be submitted to the Research Office.
IV. Project Schedule
V. Project Budget
Notes: This budget does not reflect any federal participation. The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above. Budget requests includes salaries for clerical and administrative staff, postage, telephone calls, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.
Up to 8 cell phones with cellular service will be purchased under this project.
Local travel to test the prototype application and cell phone on public transit will take place.
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