[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 86 (Thursday, May 4, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26399-26403]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-6741]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-06-24219]


Real-Time System Management Information Program

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; Request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice requests comments on provisions and parameters for 
the Real-Time System Management Information Program contained in 
section 1201 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This notice 
provides a high-level description of the program as envisioned by the 
FHWA, including proposed definitions for various program parameters.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 3, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments for the docket number that 
appears in the heading of this document to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001, or submit electronically at 
http://dms.dot.gov/submit or fax comments to (202) 493-2251.
    Alternatively, comments may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking 
portal at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments must include the 
docket number that appears in the heading of this document. All 
comments received will be available for examination and copying at the 
above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of 
comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or you may 
print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments 
electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments in any one of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, or labor union). Anyone may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, Pages 19477-78) or you may visit 
http://dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about the program 
discussed herein, contact Mr. Robert Rupert, Transportation Information 
Management Team, FHWA Office of Operations, (202) 366-2194, or via e-
mail at robert.rupert@fhwa.dot.gov. For legal questions, 
interpretations and counsel, please contact Ms. Lisa MacPhee, Attorney 
Advisor, FHWA Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1392, or via e-
mail at lisa.macphee@fhwa.dot.gov. Office hours for the FHWA are from 
7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    You may submit or retrieve comments online through the Document 
Management System (DMS) at http://dms.dot.gov/submit. Electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available under the 
help section. Alternatively, Internet users may access all comments 
received by the DOT Docket Facility by using the universal resource 
locator (URL) http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 
365 days each year. Please follow the instructions. An electronic copy 
of this document may also be downloaded by accessing the Office of the 
Federal Register's home page at http://www.archives.gov and from the 
Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara.

Background

    Section 1201 of the SAFETEA-LU (Pub. L. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144) 
requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Real-time 
System Management Information Program to provide, in all States, the 
capability to monitor, in real-time, the traffic and travel conditions 
of the major highways of the United States and to share that 
information to improve the security of the surface transportation 
system, to address congestion problems, to support improved response to 
weather events and surface transportation incidents, and to facilitate 
national and regional highway traveler information. The purposes of the 
Real-time System Management Information Program are to:
    (1) Establish, in all States, a system of basic real-time 
information for managing and operating the surface transportation 
system;
    (2) Identify longer range real-time highway and transit monitoring 
needs and develop plans and strategies for meeting such needs; and
    (3) Provide the capability and means to share that data with State 
and local governments and the traveling public.
    In addition, section 1201(b) requires that no later than August 10, 
2007, the Secretary establish data exchange formats to ensure that the 
data provided by highway and transit monitoring systems, including 
statewide incident reporting systems, can readily be exchanged across 
jurisdictional boundaries, facilitating nationwide availability of 
information. Section 1201(c) states that as State and local governments 
develop or update regional intelligent transportation system 
architectures, described in section 940.9 of title 23, Code of Federal 
Regulations, such governments shall explicitly

[[Page 26400]]

address real-time highway and transit information needs and the systems 
needed to meet such needs, including addressing coverage, monitoring 
systems, data fusion and archiving, and methods of exchanging or 
sharing highway and transit information. States shall incorporate the 
data exchange formats established by the Secretary to ensure that the 
data provided by highway and transit monitoring systems may readily be 
exchanged with State and local governments and may be made available to 
the traveling public.
    While the program description proposed in this notice relates to 
minimum parameters and requirements, the program should be expandable 
to additional highways and surface transportation facilities.

Purpose of This Notice

    The purpose of this notice is to request comments and input to the 
proposed description of the Real-time System Management Information 
Program, including its outcome goals, definitions for various program 
parameters, and the current status of related activities in the States. 
These comments and input will be used in the development of program 
guidance for State and local governments' use in implementing systems 
under the Real-time System Management Information Program.
    While there are questions presented on specific aspects of the 
Real-time System Management Information Program, comments and input may 
be offered on any part of this notice. In order to provide informed 
comments and input to some questions, it may be necessary to read the 
entire notice. To assist the reader in providing answers, the specific 
questions presented throughout the notice are summarized at the 
conclusion.
    The primary audience for this notice is expected to be State and 
local departments of transportation that will develop and implement 
systems under the real-time system management information program. 
Other audiences for this notice include, but are not limited to, other 
local and regional transportation agencies engaged in managing and 
monitoring surface transportation systems in real-time, and agencies 
responsible for traffic incident management activities such as 
detection, response and clearance. Private sector firms that are 
involved in collecting and providing real-time system management 
information for surface transportation systems, either in concert with 
public transportation agencies or independently, may also be interested 
in providing input to this notice.

Real-Time System Management Information Program

Program Purpose

    The purpose of the Real-time System Management Information Program 
is to provide the capability to monitor, in real-time, the traffic and 
travel conditions of the major highways of the United States and to 
share that information to improve surface transportation system 
security, address congestion, improve response to weather events and 
surface transportation incidents, and to facilitate national and 
regional highway traveler information.

Program Funding

    A State may use its National Highway System, Congestion Mitigation 
and Air Quality Improvement program, and Surface Transportation 
Federal-aid program apportionments for activities related to the 
planning and deployment of real-time monitoring elements that advance 
the goals of the Real-time System Management Information Program. The 
FHWA has issued policy guidance, available at http://
www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/travelinfo/resources/ops_memo.htm, indicating 
that transportation system operations activities, such as real-time 
monitoring, are eligible under the major Federal-aid programs noted 
previously, within the requirements of the specific programs. State 
planning and research funds may also be used for activities relating to 
the planning of real-time monitoring elements.

Program Goals

    By September 30, 2009, the Real-Time System Management Information 
Program shall:
    (1) Establish, in all States, a system of basic real-time 
information for managing and operating the surface transportation 
system;
    (2) Identify longer range real-time highway and transit monitoring 
needs and develop plans and strategies for meeting those needs; and
    (3) Provide the capability and means to share the data with State 
and local governments and the traveling public.
    Section 1201 does not specify a time frame for implementing the 
Real-time System Management Information Program. The FHWA proposes the 
implementation date of September 30, 2009, since it coincides with the 
expiration of the SAFETEA-LU authorization.
    Questions: Does September 30, 2009 represent a reasonable time 
period for implementing the Real-time System Management Information 
Program? What potential obstacles would prevent program implementation 
by this date? What would be a reasonable time frame for implementing 
the program?

Program Outcomes

    The Real-Time System Management Information Program shall result 
in:
    (1) Publicly available traveler information Web site(s) providing 
access to information that is derived from the real-time information 
collected by the system established under the program;
    (2) 511 Travel Information telephone service(s) providing to 
callers information that is derived from the real-time information 
collected by the system established under the program;
    (3) Regional Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Architectures 
updated to reflect the systems established under the program; and
    (4) Access to the data collected by the system established under 
the program in an established data exchange format through standard 
Internet protocol (IP) communications links.
    Outcomes (1) and (2) relate to commonly available methods used by 
public sector agencies to disseminate traffic and traveler information. 
Outcome (3) relates directly to a requirement in section 1201(c)(1) 
regarding regional ITS architectures. Outcome (4) relates to the use of 
common data exchange formats required by section 1201(c)(2).
    Questions: Are the proposed outcomes appropriate for gauging the 
success of a system implemented under the program? What other measures 
for success would be useful?

Program Parameters

    As part of describing the real-time system management information 
program, it is necessary to establish definitions for various 
parameters under the program. These parameters will define the content 
and context for systems developed and implemented under the program. As 
noted above under the program purpose, traffic and travel conditions of 
major highways are to be monitored in real-time. This notice proposes 
definitions for three principal terms used in describing the program's 
purpose--major highways, traffic and travel conditions, and real-time.

Major Highways

    We propose that, as a minimum, major highways to be monitored by 
the systems implemented under the real-time system management 
information program include all National Highway

[[Page 26401]]

System (NHS) routes and other limited access roadways. In metropolitan 
areas, major arterials with congested travel should be included in the 
coverage areas of systems implemented under the Real-time System 
Management Information Program.
    The NHS includes the Interstate Highway System as well as other 
roads important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility. The NHS 
was developed by the DOT in cooperation with the States, local 
officials, and metropolitan planning organizations. More detailed 
information about the NHS is available from the FHWA at http://
www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/nhs/. Because of the criteria under which the 
NHS was developed, it provides a sound foundation for the highways to 
be monitored under the program. Adding major arterials in metropolitan 
areas helps the program address congestion as noted in the purpose of 
the program.
    Question: Is this proposed definition of ``major highways'' 
adequate and appropriate for the purposes of the Real-time System 
Management Information Program?

Traffic and Travel Conditions

    We propose that the basic traffic and travel conditions to be 
monitored by systems implemented under the Real-time System Management 
Information program include:

--Road or lane closures because of construction, traffic incidents, or 
roadway weather conditions;
--Roadway weather or other environmental conditions restricting or 
adversely affecting travel;
--Extent and degree of congested conditions, i.e., length of roadway 
experiencing stop-and-go or very slow (e.g., prevailing speed of 
traffic less than half of speed limit) traffic;
--In metropolitan areas that experience recurring traffic congestion, 
travel times or speeds on limited access roadways; and
--In metropolitan areas that experience recurring traffic congestion, 
disruptions to public transportation services and facilities.

    These basic traffic and travel conditions are based on work 
conducted by the National 511 Deployment Coalition (Coalition) in 
developing its guidelines for implementing 511 travel information 
telephone services. The Coalition guidelines are available from the 511 
Deployment Coalition at http://www.deploy511.org. In general, the 
minimum conditions are intended to capture events and occurrences that 
reduce the capacity of highways (lane closures and adverse weather 
conditions) or present unsafe travel conditions (congestion). In 
congested metropolitan areas, the minimum conditions are enhanced 
through the addition of travel times and transit service disruptions as 
a way of capturing system performance.
    Question: How well do the proposed traffic and travel conditions 
represent reasonable and appropriate basic requirements for the Real-
time System Management Information Program?

Real-Time

    Systems implemented under the real-time system management 
information program will monitor and reflect current traffic and travel 
conditions according to the following minimum criteria:

--Construction activities affecting travel conditions, such as 
implementing or removing lane closures, will be available as program 
information within 30 minutes of the change, with changes to be 
available within 15 minutes in metropolitan areas with frequent or 
recurring traffic congestion;
--Roadway or lane blocking traffic incident information will be 
available as program information within 15 minutes of the incident 
being detected or reported and verified;
--Roadway weather conditions are updated as program information no less 
frequently than 30 minutes;
--Traffic congestion information will be updated as program information 
no less frequently than 15 minutes; and
--Travel time information, when reported and available as program 
information, will reflect travel conditions occurring no older than 10 
minutes.
--Public transportation service disruptions, when reported, will be 
updated as program information no less frequently than 30 minutes.

    Since the Real-time System Management Information Program applies 
to all States, these minimum criteria reflect systems that employ 
manual entry of information. Systems that use more automated or 
integrated information entry processes may be able to reflect changes 
in conditions virtually immediately. These criteria are intended to 
present aggressive but realistic time frames for reporting and entering 
information including manual entry, remotely polled sensor stations, or 
calculation of values. The proposed criteria also consider the 
usefulness of the information to travelers, hence the decreased amount 
of time for recording construction activities in congested metropolitan 
areas.
    Question: How well do the proposed criteria for determining real-
time information represent reasonable and appropriate minimums for 
systems implemented under the Real-time System Management Information 
Program?

Information Quality

    The quality of the real-time system management information depends 
on the techniques and technologies used to record the information. The 
Real-time System Management Information Program will not specify 
technologies or methods to be used to collect information; however, 
levels of quality for general attributes may be provided. The following 
proposed levels of quality for two attributes are based on the report 
``Closing the Data Gap: Guidelines for Quality Advanced Traveler 
Information System (ATIS) Data'' that is available from the DOT at 
http://www.itsdocs.fhwa.dot.gov/JPODOCS/REPT_MIS/13580.html 
(Intelligent Transportation Society of America, ATIS Committee; 
September 2000).

Accuracy

    Accuracy indicates how closely the recorded information matches the 
actual conditions. All sensors and data collection systems are subject 
to inaccuracies from situations such as physical obstructions, weather 
conditions, and radio frequency interference. The more accurate the 
data are, the higher the quality of information recorded by the system. 
This attribute is typically characterized using percentages, either as 
a percentage of accuracy or as an error percentage. For example, a 
system may be characterized as being 90 percent accurate or having a 10 
percent error rate. This attribute is used to describe the average 
performance of the sensors or data collection system. The FHWA is 
considering proposing that systems implemented under the real-time 
system management information program are to be 85 percent accurate at 
a minimum, or have a maximum error rate of 15 percent.

Availability

    Availability indicates how much of the data designed to be 
collected is made available. While sensors and data collection systems 
are usually designed to operate continuously, inevitably a user of the 
data will lose access from time to time. This attribute describes the 
average probability that a given data element will be available for use 
from a particular sensor or data collection system. For example, if a 
sensor records average speeds at a specific point over five minute 
intervals, 12 data points are generated each hour. Over the course of

[[Page 26402]]

a year, 105,120 data points should be recorded; however, if 2,100 data 
points were not available for use over the course of the year, the 
availability would be 98 percent. This attribute essentially combines 
factors such as sensor or system reliability, maintenance 
responsiveness, and fault tolerance into a single measure related to 
data output. The better the traffic sensor data collection system is 
designed, operated and maintained, the higher the availability. The 
FHWA is considering proposing that systems implemented under the Real-
time System Management Information Program are to have 90 percent 
availability at a minimum.
    Question: How well do these proposed attributes present reasonable 
minimum requirements for systems implemented under the Real-time System 
Management Information Program? Are any other minimum requirements 
necessary?

Data Exchange Formats

    Section 1201(b) requires that within two years of the date of 
enactment of SAFETEA-LU, the Secretary of Transportation is to 
establish data exchange formats to ensure that the data provided by 
highway and transit monitoring systems, including statewide incident 
reporting systems, can be readily exchanged to facilitate nationwide 
availability of information. States shall also incorporate these data 
exchange formats in the systems they implement to support the Real-time 
System Management Information Program. If after development, the data 
exchange formats are officially adopted through rulemaking by the DOT, 
part 940 of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations, requires in section 
940.11(f) that all ITS projects funded with highway trust funds shall 
use the applicable DOT-adopted ITS standards.
    Because of the array of available technical standards for data 
communication, the exchange formats may not require additional 
standards to be developed. Standards developed for center-to-center 
communications and for traveler information will form the basis of the 
exchange formats. The FHWA will assess the standards to identify the 
elements most important for information to be exchanged under the 
program. Among the standards to be assessed and analyzed are:

--Standard for Traffic Incident Management Message Sets for Use by 
Emergency Management Centers (EMC), Institute of Electrical and 
Electronics Engineers (IEEE) P1512.1;
--Standard for Common Incident Management Message Sets (IMMS) for use 
by EMCs, IEEE P1512-2000;
--Standard for Public Safety IMMS for use by EMCs, IEEE P1512.2;
--Standard for Hazardous Material IMMS for use by EMCs, IEEE P1512.3;
--Standard for Functional Level Traffic Management Data Dictionary, 
Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) TM 1.03;
--Message Sets for External Transportation Management Center 
Communication (MS/ETMCC), ITE TM 2.01;
--Transit Communication Interface Protocol (TCIP) Traffic Management 
Business Area Standard, ITE TS 3.TM;
--National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol (NTCIP) 
Center-to-Center Naming Convention Specification, NTCIP 1104;
--NTCIP Object Definitions for Environmental Sensor Stations (ESS), 
NTCIP 1204;
--NTCIP Weather Reports Message Set for ESS, NTCIP 1301;
--TCIP--Standard on Common Public Transportation Objects, NTCIP 1401;
--TCIP--Standard on Incident Management Objects, NTCIP 1402;
--TCIP--Standard on Passenger Information Objects, NTCIP 1403;
--TCIP--Standard on Scheduling/Runcutting Objects, NTCIP 1404;
--TCIP--Standard on Spatial Representation Objects, NTCIP 1405;
--NTCIP Transport Profile for Internet, NTCIP 2202;
--NTCIP Application Profile for File Transfer Protocol, NTCIP 2303;
--NTCIP eXtensible Markup Language (XML) in ITS Center-to-Center 
Communications, NTCIP 2306;
--Location referencing Message Specification, Society of Automotive 
Engineers (SAE) J2266;
--Data Dictionary for Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS), SAE 
J2353;
--Message Set for ATIS, SAE J2354;
--National Location Referencing Information Report, SAE J2374;
--Rules for Standardizing Street Names and Route Identification, SAE 
J2529; and
--Messages for Handling Strings and Look-Up Tables in ATIS Standards, 
SAE J2540.

    More information about these standards is available at http://
www.standards.its.dot.gov/.

Existing Reporting Capabilities

    While all States collect various data periodically to support 
national reporting requirements, such as the Highway Performance 
Monitoring System, a number of States currently have systems that 
provide information that, at some level, is comparable to that proposed 
for the Real-time System Management Information Program. As of March 
2006, there are 28 systems that provide travel information through 
``511'' telephone services that are operating in 24 States. Virtually 
every State department of transportation operates an Internet Web site 
that offers some highway condition information to the public. There are 
pooled fund efforts among States that have developed highway condition 
and reporting systems. Some State departments of transportation that 
have developed statewide reporting systems to serve as inventories or 
databases to keep track of the agency's roadway construction and 
maintenance activities.
    The Real-time System Management Information Program will be 
developed to take advantage of the existing reporting and information 
sharing capabilities, and build upon them where applicable. In 
addition, the Real-time System Management Information Program should 
complement current transportation performance reporting systems by 
making it easier to gather or enhance required information. To ensure 
that the most current status information is used, responders are 
requested to answer the following questions:

Questions

    What system is currently employed by the State department of 
transportation or other public agency to inventory highway conditions 
such as construction and maintenance activities, traffic incidents, 
traffic flow, or other real-time performance of the roadways?
    What types of information are recorded by the reporting system, 
i.e., what traffic or travel conditions are recorded?
    How is the reported information provided to the public?
    How broadly is the reported information shared with neighboring 
jurisdictions or other agencies?
    What data or communications standards are used by the reporting 
systems, either for recording information or for sharing information?

Resources Available from FHWA

    The FHWA is committed to helping achieve the goals and outcomes of 
the Real-time System Management Information Program. The FHWA offers a 
number of resources to assist States as they consider, develop and 
deploy real-time monitoring systems:


[[Page 26403]]


--FHWA Division Offices, located in each State, provide assistance in 
developing and approving projects;
--The FHWA Resource Center provides technical assistance for systems 
architecture, standards, integration and system operations to States, 
metropolitan planning organizations, and local jurisdictions;
--The Peer-to-Peer Program offers various ways for States and others to 
exchange knowledge and provide assistance on specific aspects of real-
time system information; and
--FHWA Web sites for Traveler Information (http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/
travelinfo/), ITS Architecture (http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/its_
arch_ imp/), and Standards Implementation (http://
www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/int_its_deployment/standards_imp/
standards.htm) provide information relevant to real-time system 
management information.

Summary of Questions

    A summary of the specific questions posed in this notice follows. 
Responders are reminded that comments and input may be offered on any 
part of this notice.


--Does September 30, 2009, represent a reasonable time period for 
implementing the real-time system management information program? What 
potential obstacles would prevent program implementation by this date? 
What would be a reasonable time frame for implementing the program?
--Are the proposed outcomes--traveler information Web sites, 511 
traveler information telephone services, updated regional ITS 
architectures, and access to data over the Internet--appropriate for 
gauging the success of a system implemented under the program? What 
other measures for success would be useful?
--Is the proposed definition of ``major highways'' adequate and 
appropriate for the purposes of the Real-time System Management 
Information Program?
--How well do the proposed traffic and travel conditions represent 
reasonable and appropriate basic requirements for the Real-time System 
Management Information Program?
--How well do the proposed criteria for determining real-time 
information represent reasonable and appropriate minimums for systems 
implemented under the Real-time System Management Information Program?
--How well do the proposed quality attributes of the information 
present reasonable minimum requirements for systems implemented under 
the Real-time System Management Information Program?
--What system is currently employed by the State department of 
transportation or other public agency to inventory highway conditions 
such as construction and maintenance activities, traffic incidents, 
traffic flow, or other real-time performance of the roadways?
--What types of information are recorded by the reporting system, i.e., 
what traffic or travel conditions are recorded?
--How is the reported information provided to the public?
--How broadly is the reported information shared with neighboring 
jurisdictions or other agencies?
--What data or communications standards are used by the reporting 
systems, either for recording information or for sharing information?

    Issued on: April 28, 2006.
Frederick G. Wright, Jr.,
Executive Director, Federal Highway Administration.
 [FR Doc. E6-6741 Filed 5-3-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P