A NEW REAL-TIME TRAFFIC MAP FOR LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
University of California,
According to the 2005 Urban Mobility Report
(Shrank and Lomax, 2006) Los Angeles, California has the worst traffic congestion in the United States.
One problem is that drivers have insufficient resources for congestion
avoidance. In cities like Los Angeles,
drivers in pre-trip or en route situations need access to timely traffic
information. Traditionally, this information has been relegated to radio and
television reports. However, recent developments in distributed computing,
in-car-navigation-systems, and location-based-services present newfound
channels for real-time traffic communication. How can cartographers utilize
these new channels to enhance the delivery of real-time traffic information in
map form? This paper presents a new
online traffic map designed specifically for the internet, and mobile devices.
The map was created as a portion of my dissertation research at the University of California,
Many of the map design decisions were guided by the findings of empirical
research aimed at optimizing the intuitiveness of the map symbology. I measured human-subjects’ responses to
several different design variables. This paper includes a summary of the
experimental approach, the findings themselves, and the application of the
findings toward an informed design. The collective goal of three main
experiments was to reveal how and why some traffic map designs outperformed
others. The central design variables include classification, representation,
and symbolization. The design phase of
the project employed scalable vector graphics to help create a versatile
traffic mapping system capable of depicting and communicating traffic
conditions in real-time over the internet.
From a more conceptual standpoint, the project explores the role of
human subjects’ evaluations as an early stage in intelligent map design. Since
traffic maps have the potential to be among the most widely used maps in the
world it is imperative that cartographers carefully consider their designs;
this paper thoroughly examines traffic map design variables and their
consequent impact on potential map-readers.