Dear )ir. Turnei- : The General Accounting Office has reviewed the Federal Higli~::ay Administration’s (FIJWA) research program of experimental emergency communication systems to assist stranded or disabled motori_sts a.nd improve safety on Federal-aid highways, which includes the Intcr- state System. The program prov-i.des for the installation, at selected locat ions on these highways. of various types of communication systems which will allow stranded motorists to communicate a need for service. The objectil:c of the program is to test 2nd compare the uses and benefits of the various sj ‘stems and subsequently establish criteria to assist States 3n the selection, evaluation, and approval of future emergency communication systems. FWA a1;ticipete.s that such cl-5 tcria would appiy to type, design, construction, and operation of the systems. FK\‘Ats policy cells for the Government to bear at least 90 percent of the c.;,sLs fzr a State tJ CPi~?St~l.iCt Z;iii; -install crilergcncy CommWii- cation systems on the Interstate S>rstem ~~,nd at least 50 percent of the costs to evaluate them. As of Aueust < Li’iO FH’dA had sponsored five such sy st em urkclTo- r 1.Ii s rcdsearch p:*r?~can; at a !-:~gal Go..:crnment cost of a.bout $1.1 milli.on of which $1. ci million was for consiruction and installation and $*l million Cc,I- ev3 !.uaticn studies c b?e selected for review three systems Installed on sections of the Interstate System !~?cated in biaryland, ?!ichigan, and Texas, Mar!: land and Te-x~s installed non-voice push button type call-box systems. Michigan installed a telephone system. Our review was directed pri- marily towards ascertaining whether the objectives of the program were being achieved, WKLpreviously, reported to the Regional Federal Highway Administrator, Region 2, by letter dated January 9, 1970, on the extent of Federal participation in the cost of constructing the emergency com- municat’ion system on the Capital Beltway (I-495) in slaryland. FII!.;‘A instructions i-n effect at the initiation of the research program in 1965 required that the three States perform an evaluation study to determine the effectiveness of the sponsored systems. We noted, however, that FHlv’t?. had not issued specific guidelines for obtaining the information needed to make such a determination. t co1l”CtQd fc>r the evaluation studic.s 'Lo d~:I-elii;i~?t~ tl-ic cflccti~~eri~~ss 0:‘ the thrt < systems. FHWA recognized that additional data was needed and, on March 26, i970, issued an instructional memorandum including guide- lines to be used in performing future research studies. The guidelines require the systematic accumulation and analysis of more comprehensive data than had been required by earlier instruc- tions. We believe the new guidelines should permit more meaningiul evaluation studies of future emergency communication systems. How- ever, we believe FI-IWA should also consider re-evaluating the three existing federally sponsored emergency communication systems on the basis of the requirements of the new guidelines. Such an approach could reduce the scope for future experimental systems in order to develop the data required to establish criteria for the guidance of the States in determining their emergency communication system needs, We appreciate the cooperation and courtesies extended to us by both FHWA and State highway officials during our review. We would appreciate your advice as to any consideration which may be given to developing more meaningful evaluation data on the three systems reviewed. Sincerely yours, Richard W. Kelle) Assistant Director Mr. Franci.s C. Turner Administrator, Federal Highway Administration Department of Transportation -2-
Emergency Communication Systems Installed on Sections of the Interstate Highway System in Maryland, Michigan, and Texas
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-01-28.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)