Among the wide range of potential applications of GIS, transportation issues have received a lot of attention. A specific branch of Geographic Information System applied to transportation issues is commonly labelled as GIS-T.
Several GIS-T applications have been utilized at various transportation agencies and private firms. They cover much of the broad scope of transportation and logistics, such as transportation safety analysis, travel demand analysis. Also, traffic monitoring and control, public transit planning and operations, environmental impacts assessment, intelligent transportation systems etc.
Each of these applications tends to have it’s specific data and analysis requirements. A traffic engineering application may require a detailed representation of individual traffic lanes. In fact turn movements at intersections also could be critical to a traffic engineering study. But, not to a regional travel demand study.
These different application needs are directly relevant to the GIS transportation analysis. It is desirable to have such a data model that allows multiple geometric representations of the same transportation network.
Today, Global positioning system (GPS) navigation systems are available as built-in devices in vehicles, as portable devices built in applications in smartphones. Together with wireless communications, these devices can offer real-time traffic information and provide helpful location-based services (LBS).
Another trend observed in recent years is the growing number of these applications is in the private sector. This is particularly for logistics applications. Since many businesses involve operations at geographically dispersed locations, Geographic Information System for transportation can be a useful tool for a variety of logistics applications.
This aspect of Geographic Information System is interdisciplinary in nature and has many possible applications. Transportation geographers, who have appropriate backgrounds in both geography and transportation, are well positioned to pursue studies related to it. Also, assist in it’s implementation addressing real world problems.
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