Information transmitted must be adapted to the expectations of recipients so it can be used effectively. The information must be clear, understandable and useful to end users. Information that reaches its recipient is the end result of any initiative that answers the following questions:
Is the information accurate? The facts to be conveyed must be accurate or all credibility with partners/users will be lost.
Why provide information? Dissemination of information reflects intent by a operator that must be specifically defined – for example:
Who should be informed? The targets for information may be police forces, other road operators, local or national media and the road users themselves. Who should be informaed will vary acording to:
When should information be provided? Information about a current event is of interest to a recipient/users only if the users have it in real time. Choosing the right time to send information about a planned event is not easy. This must be done early enough to allow for a response (especially if the operator expects cooperation from partners) but not so soon that it will be forgotten.
Where should information be provided? The destination of information (for example at a control centre, TV and radio stations, emergency servcies or a service provide) is defined by the network operations strategy and will be an integral part of operations planning. (See Planning and Reporting)
How should information be delivered? The information medium (social media, text message, Intenet, telephone, radio, e-mail, VMS’s, leaflets) is also determined by what is most cost-effective and the available resources. (See Traveller Services)
How should information be presented? Each recipient or group of recipients must receive the information in a personally tailored format. If there is a common language (event nomenclature, location, etc.), a message drafted in technical or even coded terms may be understood by a partner. To be legible by a partner, that message must not be buried in a lot of irrelevant details. For example:
Messages to users must follow the guidelines below:
It is usually very practical to use forms for exchanging information that has been defined in advance with the partners in question. Where they exist, standards for data exchange should be used.
Communicating is as much of an art as operating the road network. Network operators should:
Disseminating information to users entails drawbacks and constraints: