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UB's Transportation Researchers Helped Develop U.S.-Canada Traffic Alert System

Release Date: November 20, 2009

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Adel Sadek and colleagues in UB's Transportation Systems Laboratory helped design a new traffic alert system now available to drivers in the U.S. and Canada.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's Transportation Systems Laboratory is only a year old, but already its researchers are helping enhance the mobility of travelers in Western New York and southern Ontario.

Shan Huang, a doctoral student in the UB Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and a researcher in the UB laboratory, helped develop the software behind the subscription traveler information system announced this week by the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC), an organization of 14 transportation agencies in Western New York and Southern Ontario whose mission is to improve transportation systems on both sides of the border.

The free system, called MY NITTEC, uses data from NITTEC's advanced traffic management system to alert drivers in Western New York and southern Ontario via email or text messages to traffic incidents or congestion that will affect their daily commute.

"Like similar systems that have been launched in other parts of the state and the nation, MY NITTEC was designed as a travel planning tool so that drivers can adjust their daily commutes to any incidents that have occurred before they head out from home or work," said Adel Sadek, PhD, associate professor and director of the UB Transportation Systems Laboratory. "The idea is that drivers receive the information before starting their trip."

Subscribers register for MY NITTEC at http://mynittec.org/ and input information on what roads they take each day and at what time. The system then continually searches its database for information on that route.

"If it locates an incident, such as a road closing or an accident, it will then send an alert to the user in an e-mail or text message, allowing the user to choose an alternate route," said Sadek.

MY NITTEC is believed to be the first traveler alert service that is available for cross-border travel between the U.S. and Canada.

According to A. Scott Weber, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at UB, the collaboration is an early indicator of how the public will benefit from the establishment of UB's Transportation Systems Laboratory.

"UB's transportation program is addressing a variety of research issues, such as developing intelligent transportation systems, creating integrated methods to guide land-use and infrastructure management and, as we have seen with MY NITTEC, using information technologies to improve transportation systems," he said. "We are pleased that such a productive collaboration has developed so quickly between the department and NITTEC in ways that are benefitting the upstate New York region."

NITTEC executive director Tom George noted, "MY NITTEC is going to help drivers on both sides of the border, especially in the coming winter months. We look forward to continuing to work with UB's researchers on more projects in the future."

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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