Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Technical Report Documentation

1. Report No
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Communicating With the Public Using ATIS During Disasters: A Guide for Practitioners
5. Report Date
April, 2007
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Authors
Carol Zimmerman, Patricia Bolton, Mala Raman (Battelle); Todd Kell, Stacy Unholz, Chris Bausher (PBS&J)
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
901 D Street, SW
Suite 900
Washington, DC 20024
10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20590
13. Type of Report and Period Covered

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
FHWA Task Manager: James Pol
16. Abstract

Advanced Traveler Information Systems, ATIS, can play an important role in communicating essential information to the public during disasters. Variable message signs, 511 telephone systems, highway advisory radio, and websites are some of the dissemination devices of systems that collect, process, and disseminate information about travel conditions to the public for day-to-day transportation operations, and these same systems need to be effectively used during disaster situations. This document provides advice on use of ATIS during disasters and is intended not only for state and local transportation agencies but for their partners in public safety and emergency management agencies. It offers practical guidance to managers of transportation management centers and emergency operations and to public information officers who may be called on to staff joint information centers during disasters.

The document discusses what we know about human behavior in disaster situations based on findings from several decades of research. That perspective can help in maximizing the effectiveness of traveler information communications. The current use of traveler information in managing normal incidents and planned special events is examined as a starting point for gauging the processes and technologies that are in place today. Five case studies of actual disasters in Georgia, California, Nevada, Utah, and Washington State show the role that traveler information has played in current practice and provide lessons for others. A concept of operations is presented that characterizes the flow of information among the people, organizations, and technologies comprising traveler information dissemination during disasters.

To maximize the benefit of ATIS as a tool for communicating with the public during disasters, a local strategy should be developed. A toolkit for organizing and conducting a strategy workshop is provided in this document as a starting point. A workshop that encompasses all the key stakeholders can acquaint them with currently available ATIS assets, potential future enhancements, and each agency's role in ensuring that ATIS is an important tool for helping the public when disaster strikes.

17. Key Word
Traveler information, intelligent transportation systems, ATIS, ITS, disaster behavior, information dissemination, emergency transportation operations, emergency response
18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions
19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No. of Pages
22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)
Reproduction of completed page authorized
Office of Operations