Title page for ETD etd-08252011-211346


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author King, Jeff
Author's Email Address kingjeff@vt.edu
URN etd-08252011-211346
Title Requirements for a Nationwide Intermodal Trip Planner in the US
Degree Master of Science
Department Civil Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kikuchi, Shinya Committee Chair
Buehler, Ralph Committee Member
Tignor, Samuel C. Committee Member
Keywords
  • intelligent transportation system
  • traveler information system
  • public transportation
  • trip planner
  • intermodal
Date of Defense 2011-08-02
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Presently, the United States has yet to achieve the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act’s (ISTEA) goal of creating a seamless intermodal transportation system. In addition to the dearth of connections, the nation’s poor transportation information systems limit intercity intermodal transportation. Travelers lack awareness of available transportation options and face too many separate portals for trip planning that both consume time and present inadequate information.

This paper posits that the creation of an efficient and extensive web-based door-to-door intermodal trip planner can solve these problems. The proposed system will present travelers with a single portal to meet all their trip planning needs. Upon selecting specific trips, travelers can then decide to be directed to operators to make a purchase. The system will include operators from the major modal groups including intercity buses, intercity rail, commuter rail, transit, and airlines. It will also include taxis due to the disjointed nature of the US public transportation system and the need to connect users who are far from stations.

The requirements to create this trip planner are explored, including the support systems, potential legal issues, and suitable entities for administration and management. A survey of 39 transportation system users revealed the existence of redundant and inadequate trip planners and that the lack of sufficient information on public transportation options is driving travelers to private vehicles for shorter distances even for those who prefer public means of transportation. Analysis of the costs and benefits of implementing the proposed system is drawn from interviews with key personnel within the transportation industry, and a review of nationwide trip planners in European countries. Finally, a roadmap is presented on how best to implement the system with inputs from both the public and private sector. Recommendations include the establishment of an industry-wide data standard, a national interagency database, and a cooperative structure that entices major players within each mode to participate in the system. Also suggested are incentives from the DOT and interested private sector members to encourage more operators to participate in the system.

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