Context is critical and location-based services can help answer the “where” and “when” questions for nearly any situation. In an emergency management setting, knowing the answers to these questions can make a significant difference for communications, resource planning and allocation, and more.
Information Logistics (ILOG) selected LocationSmart’s location technology for its newly developed platform called the Incident Response and Information System (IRIS). This innovative platform establishes two-way communications with travelers and emergency agencies during emergency and disaster management scenarios. ILOG utilizes LocationSmart’s carrier network location services to pinpoint the location of consenting travelers’ mobile devices once the IRIS platform is initiated during an emergency event. With its location-enabled IRIS platform, ILOG was able to launch the 511PAConnect system in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot), the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Pennsylvania State Police.
When activated, the agencies draw the boundaries of the queue on a map, and activate a customized webpage that gives drivers the latest information about the closure. To let travelers know that they are in the area of a specific closure, 511PAConnect works with FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System, which can send emergency alerts to capable phones, advising impacted travelers to visit www.511PAConnect.com.
Travelers do not need an app to use 511PAConnect – they just visit the dynamic closure website that is provided in the emergency alert. For drivers who wish to register for updates for the event, a brief questionnaire is presented to help the agencies be aware of who is in the traffic jam, how many persons are in each vehicle, any special needs or emergency information, and the type of vehicle they are driving. Drivers can also communicate other relevant information such as fuel level, problems with occupant comfort such as heat or cold issues, and physical needs such as food, water or medication. This helps the responding agencies to direct resources and help to where they are most needed.
The carrier network location services provided by LocationSmart are a critical element in the 511PAConnect system. Approximately 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone so these mobile devices are an excellent proxy of motorists’ real world physical location. This valuable location information helps enhance resource allocation efforts by Pennsylvania state and local agencies and it provides location context to the status updates received by motorists regarding traffic patterns, roadside assistance ETAs and more. The end result is more efficient planning and execution by the agencies and drivers are aware that help is on the way.
Read this blog post to learn more about location-based services and how LocationSmart can help your business optimize efficiencies, track assets and verify transactions.