Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Transportation Research Record






The access and the use of advanced traveler information systems (ATISs) by drivers during normal commuting have been extensively assessed and analyzed. Emergency managers and transportation officials have extended the results of studies of ATIS use under routine conditions to emergency scenarios under the assumption that drivers' responses to information under emergency conditions mimic those seen under normal driving conditions. A recent survey of potential hurricane evacuees suggests the need to revisit this assumption. Results indicate that although commercial radio reports and variable message signs continue to be the sources of traffic information cited the most frequently, other information sources (mobile phones, in-car systems such as Global Positioning System devices, and the Internet) have significantly increased in importance. Rapid growth in user rates and the relatively low cost of implementation suggest that a revision of plans for emergency transportation information communications may be warranted. Better, more effective use of ATISs during emergency situations, especially when traffic incidents occur, may lead to improved and more reliable travel times and improved safety and emergency response. With the use of factor analysis, four driver personalities are identified, with each one characterized by the proclivity for and response to traffic information. This information will be of interest to developers and users of ATISs and to those responsible for emergency management and transportation planning.

Original Publication Citation

Robinson, R. M., & Khattak, A. (2011). Selection of source and use of traffic information in emergency situations. Transportation Research Record, 2234, 71-78. doi:10.3141/2234-08


0000-0001-5295-930X (Robinson)