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Smartphone Application for Road Rangers Tucker Brown Roger Strain Robert W. Heller, Ph.D. Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas USA. Florida DOT Road Ranger. Road Rangers Provide free highway assistance service Roving vehicles patrol congested areas and high incident locations

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Smartphone Application for Road RangersTucker BrownRoger StrainRobert W. Heller, Ph.D. Southwest Research InstituteSan Antonio, Texas USA


Florida dot road ranger
Florida DOT Road Ranger

  • Road Rangers

    • Provide free highway assistance service

    • Roving vehicles patrol congested areas and high incident locations

  • Benefits

    • Incident reduction

    • Remove road debris

    • Incident duration reduction

    • Assist Florida Highway Patrol

    • Increase safety of incident scenes


Road ranger activities reporting
Road Ranger Activities Reporting

  • Activities reporting generations

    • Paper form

    • Windows XP tablet

    • Hardened laptop

  • Natural progression to Smartphone


Objectives
Objectives

  • Provide live connectivity between Road Rangers and TMC staff

    • Minimal data transmission cost

    • Minimal device footprint

  • Monitor Road Ranger field activities

    • Track GPS position

    • Receive event updates

  • Economical


Sunguide overview
SunGuide Overview

  • Modular system integrating many technologies

  • Reuse of existing Road Ranger support


Choice of platform
Choice of Platform

  • Main consumer mobile device environments

    • iOS (Apple)

    • Android (Google, various manufacturers)

  • Others (less supported / popular)

  • Android benefits

    • Easier internal deployment

    • More device options for future selection

    • More carrier support at time of decision


  • Mobile communication
    Mobile Communication

    • Based on web services

      • Standard port 80 traffic

      • No persistent connection needed

    • Based on existing RR driver

    • Security concerns

      • Username / password required to access server

      • SSL encryption used over HTTPS


    Managing connectivity
    Managing Connectivity

    • Mobile data connections drop frequently

      • Web services mitigate this issue

      • Requests easily retried

    • If request fails, it is queued

      • Retransmitted when communications resume

      • After multiple failures, user is prompted whether to continue retrying or abandon message

    • User is shown data as if all requests succeed

      • Allows Road Ranger to continue working


    Mobile functionality
    Mobile Functionality

    • Road Rangers must be aware of more than just the application

      • Complex interfaces may distract from nearby traffic while road side

    • Limited functionality reduces training burden

    • More complex data typically better related over phone or radio to TMC personnel

      • Less time staring at screen

      • More time watching surroundings


    User interface design
    User Interface Design

    • Small screen real estate

    • Touch-friendly controls

    • Alternate colors

      • Day time lightbackground

      • Night vision blackbackground


    Field testing
    Field Testing

    • Initial testing performed by developers

      • While beneficial, does not fully represent operational conditions

    • Early software releases provided to District personnel

      • One or two users loaded initial releases to test in actual field conditions

      • Once confidence was established, testing extended to additional users

      • Some actual Road Ranger drivers included


    Deployment
    Deployment

    • RR issued Android phones with SPARR

      • Trained to use phone & application

    • First weeks

      • Some users still called too often, (use app)

      • Some users didn’t call in things that weren’t covered by app

    • Discovered value of phone vehicle mount


    Results
    Results

    • In RR hands, not truck

    • Cost savings, time savings

    • Integrated AVL, better dispatching, multiple dispatchers

    • Intuitive, user friendly application, start simple add more later

    • More accurate time stamps

    • RR report more events and details

    • No handwritten log transcription

    • RR not dependent on TMC operator availability


    Future
    Future

    • Enhancements

      • Small tablet (larger screen)

      • Increased functionality

        • Pictures?

        • Google Map style directions

        • Dynamic Geofences

          • Alert if operators leaves event without departing the event from the app


    Questions
    Questions?

    Tucker Brown

    210-522-3035

    [email protected]

    Contact Information:

    Southwest Research Institute

    PO Drawer 28510

    6220 Culebra Road

    San Antonio, TX 78228

    http://its.swri.org


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