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Valleywide Focus

Computers Help Move Commuters

October 07, 1994|MAKI BECKER

The information superhighway and the Los Angeles transportation system have merged in the form of a high-tech kiosk that offers up-to-the-minute tips on traffic conditions, car-pooling and bus-train scheduling.

The California Transportation Department, in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration and other private and public organizations, has set up 77 computers in supermarkets and shopping centers throughout Los Angeles in a yearlong test project costing $2.7 million.

About 40 of the computers are in kiosks in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

The computer stations are the first of their kind in the nation, Caltrans spokeswoman Patricia Reid said. The stations have also been distributed to locations in Ventura County.

Called the "Smart Traveler," the system takes the viewer through a step-by-step guide on how to use the information. By touching the screen, a map of the freeway system appears with color-coded dots indicating heavy traffic areas.

Another touch links the commuter with the names and numbers of people interested in car-pooling, based on where they live and where they work. The "Smart Traveler" also makes instant printouts of personalized bus and train schedules.

Reid said if the project is a success, other transportation information, such as park and ride listings and bike routes, will be included in later units.

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