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Center Identification Number:  77709   

 

Project Title:  Smart Phone Application to Influence Travel Behavior (TRAC-IT Phase 3)  

 

Co-Principal Investigators:

 

Philip L. Winters
TDM Program Director, CUTR
Phone: (813) 974 -9811
E-Mail: winters@cutr.usf.edu

 

Sean J. Barbeau
Research Associate, CUTR
Phone: (813) 974 -7208
E-mail: barbeau@cutr.usf.edu

 

Nevine Georggi
Research Associate, CUTR
Phone: (813) 974-9770
E-Mail: georggi@cutr.usf.edu

 

Rafael Perez
Professor, Computer Science & Engineering
Phone: (813) 974 -3437
E-Mail: perez@cse.usf.edu

 

Miguel Labrador
Professor, Computer Science & Engineering
Phone: (813) 974 -3260
E-Mail: labrador@cse.usf.edu

 

 

Institution:                             

 

Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Fax: 813-974-5168

 

External Project Contact:     

 

Michael Wright

Public Transportation Office

850-414-4500

E-Mail: michael.wright1@dot.state.fl.us

 

 

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.

 

II.  Objectives/Tasks

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.
o Identify opportunities and/or incentives for engaging cell phone users in the field test (Task 6).
o Begin recruiting up to 60 households to participate in the field test.
o Acquire up to 10 GPS enabled phones and loan to experimental group who are current subscribers to the chosen provider (e.g., Nextel) but whose phones are not fully compatible with the TRAC-IT features.

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).
o Acquire necessary software and security certificates in order to load software onto a mobile phone.
o Develop method to extract, record, and display location data from mobile phones or cellular provider network.
o Record GPS coordinates under different conditions (e.g., by mode, by location such as downtown, etc.).

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.)
o Develop additional mechanisms (i.e. wizards, shortcuts) to reduce the burden on the respondent.

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.
o Modify the expert systemís feedback structure and format to adapt to mobile phones.
o Test and refine application as necessary.
o Create method to demonstrate the mobile phone application to an audience (i.e. Flash animation, emulator display, etc.)

Deliverable: Demonstration of application to FDOT

Task 5. Enhance TRAC-ITís Travel Behavior Advisory System

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 system).
o Obtain access to such databases from the required party if possible.
o Design, develop, and implement a real-time or simulated connection to such databases from the TRACIT system.

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 test.
o Create method to instruct users how to properly use the mobile phone application (i.e. Flash animation, emulator display, etc.)
o Expendable line item budget for (phones) is based on up to two waves (approx. two weeks to 2 months in duration) of up to 30 households split into control and test groups.
o Collect data and analyze TRAC-ITís ability to gather information for transportation planning purposes and its potential for delivering personalized travel information.

Task 7. Prepare Draft Final Report

o Prepare draft final report and submit for review and comment.
o Make revisions and print 12 copies of the final report.

III. Deliverables

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

 

                                       2006                                                         2007

RESEARCH

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

TASK

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

Task 1

2

2

                   

Assess technology options

 

34%

59%

84%

86%

88% 

 89%

91%

93% 

 95%

96% 

98%

100% 

Task 2

     

 

     

1

1

1

1

1

Develop method for GPS data

 

22%

39% 60% 80%

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task 3

1

1

1

             

1

1

Develop methods to reduce user input

 

 

 

 

1%

12%

39%

67%

84%

100%

 

 

 

Task 4

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

         

Adapt PDA app. to mobile phone

 

 

 8%

23% 

 40%

 56%

 72%

90% 100%      

Task 5

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

 

 

2

Enhance TRAC-IT's Advisory system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4% 

9% 

27%

54%

82%

100%

Task 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field test application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3%

7%

29%

65%

92%

100%

Task 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare final report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1%

42%

100%

 

V.  Project Budget

 

Developing a Printed Transit information Material

Design Manual

Budget Categories

State

Center Director Salary

 

Faculty Salaries

$ 57,968

Admin. Staff Salaries

$     562

Other Staff Salaries

$   

Student Salaries

$ 22,980  

Staff Benefits

$ 27,975

Total Salaries and Benefits

$109,485

Scholarships

  

Permanent Equipment

$  2,500

Expendable Property/Supplies

$  6,792

Domestic Travel

$    270

Foreign Travel

 

Other Direct Costs (Consultants)

 

Total Direct Costs

$119,048

Indirect Costs

$   5,952

Total Costs

$125,000

 

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.

 

VI. Equipment

Up to 8 cell phones with cellular service will be purchased under this project.

VII. Travel

Local travel to test the prototype application and cell phone on public transit will take place.

 

 

National Center for Transit Research ∑ at the Center For Urban Transportation Research ∑ University of South Florida ∑ 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 ∑ Tampa, FL 33620-5375 ∑ (813) 974-3120 ∑ (813) 974-5168 ∑ www.nctr.usf.edu ∑ Comments: webmaster@cutr.eng.usf.edu