Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies Demand for Travel Information

After the 9/11 terrorist attack, the use of transit call centers and Web sites increased from passengers seeking transit information. According to America’s Traveler Information Number: Deployment Assistance Report #3: 511 and Homeland Security, “New Jersey Transit’s transit information center, which normally receives approximately 8,400 calls per day, received over 16,000 calls on September 12. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Web site, which normally gets 200,000 hits per day, received 10 million hits per day in the week following the attacks. The SmarTraveler (Washington, DC) service Web site hits were up by approximately 100,000 to slightly in excess of 500,000. As a general observation, SmarTraveler operated with high levels of demand on its system, requiring staff to work longer hours and additional staff to be added on September 11.”

According to the report, during an evacuation, “travel conditions during the early stages of a homeland security emergency may be very dynamic, and it may be necessary to provide travel information with content that is more regional or multi-modal in nature than is normally the case. During the emergency, normal travel options may be unavailable, meaning people may need very basic and specific information on alternative travel options.”

February 7, 2006
Publication #FHWA–HOP-08-015