Rhode Island transportation system in natural or human-caused disasters enhancing preparedness and response

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The rapid advance of technology has presented authorities with many new tools that they can use to monitor and control roadways for their safe, efficient, and convenient use by motorists, working toward an intelligent transportation system that adapts to dynamic situations that best serve motorists. Recent natural and human-caused disasters have demonstrated that there are significant challenges yet to be overcome by the advancing technology of transportation systems. A significant problem is a lack of clear, efficient communication during emergencies. The public requires timely information and guidance during and after a catastrophic event. This research investigated the feasibility of enhancing transportation system preparedness by creating messages to aid motorists during natural or human-caused disasters by supplementing the existing message display libraries for variable message signs (VMSs) and dynamic message signs (DMSs). This investigation considered the current transportation emergency communication environment and attempts to enhance communication and preparedness by improving the design and display of messages on VMSs and UMSs. The study examined 465 Rhode Island drivers by using a computer survey and 157 Rhode island drivers by using driving simulation to research important factors in the design and deployment of message displays. The results indicated that the supplementation of communication through the use of VMSs and DNISs is a viable alternative and that there are design factors that can be used to help develop new and improve existing messages through further testing and implementation.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Transportation Research Record