Traveller Information Systems. By Kevin S. Hutchby
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Seattle, Washington

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Images of Seattle
Discounting Alaska, Washington is the most Northwest State and although Seattle doesn't lie directly on the pacific shores, there is direct access to the ocean via the vast waterways of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates the U.S. from Canada.

Seattle is the major city in King County with a population of 536,600 out of a total County population of about 1,650,000. Puget Sound is by no means the only large area of water in the vicinity of the City. In fact the geography of the city is such that several major bridges have been constructed north to south to connect downtown Seattle to the suburbs, and also east west across Lake Union.

Seattle traffic
Seeing the waterways and bridges for the first time provides a good understanding of why Seattle suffers from road traffic problems, with a distinct limitation on available arterial routes. Also, the prospect of any major new roads would probably entail a major new bridge project.

Watching local television in Seattle allowed me to assume that access to traffic and travel information via this medium is very important to commuters. The level of service given is on a par with Boston, incorporating as it does major roadworks, special events such as the large SeaFair festival weekend and sports events that will have an impact on traffic, e.g. Seattle Mariners & Seattle Seahawks. These are again backed up effectively with live CCTV footage utilising links to the Traffic Systems Management Centre where I had a planned visit over the coming two weeks. Similarly to Boston, broadcast traffic information is of high quality and high frequency with both current and potential future problems highlighted.

Visits to:

Visit 1   Washington State Transportation Centre

Visit 2   Washington State Department of Transport Traffic Systems Management Centre

Visit 3   Metro King County Transit

Visit 4   University of Washington

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