Colorado Department of Transportation CoTRiP Real-Time Road & Weather

  Advanced Traveler Information Unit

This unit provides the traveling public with timely information about Colorado's interstates, U.S. and state highway systems. The Advanced Traveler Information Unit is operated by Public Information Officers (PIOs), communication professionals, acting as C.D.O.T.'s spokespersons. The unit is an integral part of Incident Management Response Teams and operates 24 hours a day. As well as helping call out forces, the unit also operates as an incident notification system; using the Internet and various paging systems to notify C.D.O.T. workers and officials of the latest highway information.

The ATIU collects information from statewide sources on road and weather conditions as well as major incidents. Before CTMC and C.D.O.T. involvement, Colorado State Patrol dispatchers updated Colorado’s statewide road and weather hotline as best they could. As part of their many duties, dispatchers had to use an antiquated telephone recording system. C.D.O.T. still uses CSP information as the basis of the statewide report in addition to other sources statewide.

The ATIU continues to develop alternative weather and road information resources as State Patrol offices close in many out-state areas. Among these, closed circuit cameras from several sources, including commercial broadcasters' website cams, aid in statewide monitoring of latest conditions. PIOs also communicate with probe vehicles, particularly on I-70 in the mountains, to monitor traffic volume and accident back-ups. Colorado's port of entry, snowplow drivers, and C.D.O.T. staff in Glenwood Canyon maintain two-way radio communication with C.D.O.T. field operations throughout Colorado’s western slope.

Weather and road information gathered by the ATIU is compiled in a form usable by the traveling public. Various means are used to deliver the information, including:

Broadcast Fax System sending hard copy reports to more than 200 customers in less than 10 minutes. Two-page road and weather reports containing more than 100 Colorado cities and towns, and listing current road conditions. This report is issued four times daily in the winter and once daily during the summer, which include road alerts updating changing conditions, accidents, chain restrictions, closures, etc.

Voice Mailbox System Telephone Hotline providing real time road and weather conditions statewide including chain restrictions, and closures due to accidents or weather conditions. The public accesses the system through a free statewide number. The caller selects a statewide general report, a desired region and roads, commercial carrier alerts or other information. Construction projects and maintenance activities are also included.

Internet website provides the same information as the two-page road reports, road alerts, and construction alerts. The Public Information Officers also update variable message signs and cameras that are available on our website, CoTrip.org.

Live and recorded interviews with radio and television stations on road conditions, major incidents, etc. PIOs provide information and watch commercial TV “crawlers” containing road and weather information across the bottom of the screen alerting viewers of road closures or restrictions. Misleading crawlers are "caught" by the PIOs and corrected with a diplomatic call to the newsroom.

Highway Advisory Radios to inform the public of problems and road conditions ahead. Low power AM broadcast systems are located throughout the state. Recorded messages or live broadcasts are possible.

Variable Message Signs are used to alert motorists of heavy traffic, hazards, chain restrictions, closures or other problems, and to provide alternate routes and parking information.

The Advanced Traveler Information unit will assume weekend and overnight operations for the Colorado Springs Traffic Operations Center when fiber optic cable lines are completed to link the two offices.

The Advanced Traveler Information System uses many of the same hardware components and software systems as the Advanced Traffic Management system. Some of the additional components used include:

Satellite Weather Monitoring and Predicting Systems
Internet Web Server
Advanced Broadcast Fax System
Telecommunications Voice Message System (recorded phone line)
Low Power Radio Transmitters (Highway Advisory Radio)

  Colorado Transportation Management Center


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