Enhancing the Preparedness and Response of the Rhode Island Transportation System in Case of Natural and Human-Caused Disasters

The rapid advance of technology has presented authorities with many new tools to monitor and control our roadways for safe, efficient, and convenient use by motorists, working toward an intelligent transportation system that adapts to dynamic situations to 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 investigates the feasibility of enhancing transportation system preparedness by creating messages to aid motorists during natural or human-caused disasters, supplementing the existing message display libraries for variable and dynamic message signs (VMS and DMS). This human factors investigation considers the current transportation emergency communication environment and attempts to enhance communication and preparedness by improving the design and display of VMS/DMS messages. The study examined 223 Rhode Island drivers via paper-based public opinion questionnaire, 465 via computer survey, and 157 via driving simulation to research important factors in the design and deployment of message displays. Results demonstrate the viability of supplementing communication through VMS/DMS systems, and list design factors that can help develop new and improve existing messages through further testing and implementation.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Transportation Center, Carlotti Administration Building
    75 Lower College Road
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881

    Rhode Island Department of Transportation

    State Office Building, 2 Capitol Hill
    Providence, RI  United States  02903

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Wang, Jyh-Hone
    • Collyer, Charles E
    • Maier-Speredelozzi, Valerie
    • Thomas, Natacha Elisabeth
    • ORCID 0000-0003-0061-4654
    • Severson, Jeffry C
  • Publication Date: 2007-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 192p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01140454
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: URITC FY 06
  • Contract Numbers: URITC 500230500000001031
  • Created Date: Sep 21 2009 4:38PM