This paper considers the formative steps in the development of an expert system for route selection in transport networks. It first considers the characteristics and suitable applications of an 'expert system' (es) or, alternatively, 'knowledge based system' (kbs), and discusses the possible applications of kbs in transport planning and transport operations, with particular reference to the provision of information to travellers. The paper discusses the application of kbs technology to the production of an expert system to provide route guidance information for some groups of urban travellers. It then focusses on the possibilities for applying a 'fifth generation' programming language, such as prolog, to the solution of network path selection problems and the maintenance of a dynamic network database. There are significant arguments both for and against the use of the fifth generation languages, and the alternatives are discussed in speculative terms, on the basis of trials and experiments with prolog. The paper develops the specifications for a route guidance kbs for urban road travel, noting that one particular concern is that of providing the most suitable advice to a given traveller, rather than the system wide rating of 'best' advice. Driver attitudes, behaviour, preferences and vehicle characteristics differ widely, and the degree of satisfaction with any advice provided would depend largely on how closely the expert system could match the preferences of the individual traveller. Thus the system would need to gauge the characteristics of the user as well as those of the network under consideration. Further, prototype route guidance kbs are probably better directed at some clearly defined groups of urban travellers, such as commercial vehicle operations, rather than as community wide systems. This is because of the needs to limit systems to finite numbers of users and for special hardware (eg, two way communications between vehicles and a central controller) that is required for effective use of a system (a).

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    Monash University

    Department of Civil Engineering
    Clayton, Victoria  Australia  3800
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  • Publication Date: 1988-11


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 00487291
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 1
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Sep 30 1989 12:00AM