CAL-(IT)2 DEBUTS NEW SERVICE
FOR SAN DIEGO COMMUTERS
4.17.03 -- The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)2] is inviting faculty, researchers, staff, students and industry partners of the institute and the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering to take advantage of a new, free, traffic-alert and automated response system that could help speed your daily commute.
San Diego Traffic Report - Powered by Cal-(IT)2 is a new service created by institute researcher Ganz Chockalingam, and initially deployed at the request of the San Diego Police Department during Super Bowl XXXVII. The service gathers information on accidents, road closures, and speed sensors along San Diego freeways from Caltrans, and translates that up-to-the-minute information into voice mode, to make it available to motorists through a speech-recognition interface.
You can call the toll-free number (866) 500-0977, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service answers by asking for the highway you want. If you respond 5-South, for instance, it will notify you of all the congested regions of 5-South where traffic is flowing at less than 40 miles hour, along with the speed of the traffic in those regions (e.g., "La Jolla Village Drive, 19 miles per hour"). You can ask for as many highways as you wish. "So the next time you are stuck in a traffic jam and wonder how far ahead the congestion extends, you can call this number to get the answer," says Chockalingam.
The service gives motorists access to the same type of information that is currently available on the Web through Caltrans, and Ganz is now working on the next version of the service. "To be able to make this more useful, we want to enable the user to specify the origin and destination for their morning and evening commutes using a web portal," he says. "When they call, the system will automatically play the traffic information specifically for the segments of the highway they commute based on the caller's phone number." Eventually, he expects, the service will alert the user if there are accidents or lane closures, based on a motorist's commute pattern.
While the service is open to the public and free of charge, it remains an experimental deployment, and Cal-(IT)2 is looking to increase the volume of motorists using the service prior to a full-scale public release. Chockalingam is also seeking feed back and new ideas on how to make the service more useful to commuters in San Diego. To reach him, email email@example.com or call (858) 822-3844.
Again, take advantage of this free service and contribute to the technology development of a service that could one day become the basis of a new 5-1-1 service in Southern California offering all types of travel-related information to callers. The number again: (866) 500-0977. Put the number on speed-dial in your cell phone and you'll be only a keystroke away from the latest traffic news for your commute.