American Association of Information Radio Operators AAIRO

AAIRO American Association of Information Radio Operators
  the roots of the travelers' information service  
 
1985 National Park Installation
Left: Chris White. Right: John Shoaf.
The advent of the Travelers' Information Station (TIS) began with various experimental stations and pilot projects conducted in the 1950s-1970s in our National Parks as well as at certain airports, highways and bridges.

As a result, the Federal Communications Commission issued a notice-of-inquiry; and a rulemaking process ensued that led to formal federal rules in 1977 that, with certain modifications, continue to govern the service.

Today Travelers' Information Stations are tasked to inform not only travelers and commuters but also to provide emergency updates to communities. The TIS service currently is a key component in multimodal emergency management programs across the United States (see "Related Links," below); because, in crises, timely local information simply and directly disseminated by emergency officials is essential.

Below is a historical progression of articles about the evolution of Travelers' Information Stations. Some of the articles predate creation of the TIS service by the Federal Communications Commission. The last article describes how TIS is used today.

In the National Parks: In Transportation:
  • "LAX Radio and the Origin of the Travelers' Information Service" by Richard Burden, 2012 -- about the beginning of TIS at LAX airport in the early 1970s. The airport had major congestion problems created by uninformed and confused motorists. LAX manager Clifton Moore envisioned a need to broadcast helpful information to car radios, thinking that if he could only talk to the drivers, he could move traffic more effectively. The original installation at LAX in 1972 had two buried induction cable systems, one on the Century Boulevard approach road and one within the terminal area. Each cable carried a different series of messages to assist motorists. The frequency of 530 kHz was requested as an aid to easily tuning to the end of the dial to locate the service. The original 1972 installation, licensed as “Developmental”, answered Moore’s vision, and became the model for what we know today as the Travelers Information Service. (Contributed by Richard Burden; see his credentials.)
  • "Roadside Radio Smooths Traffic Flow," Popular Science, p.25, Apr 1973 -- about the early use of radio at LAX airport in Los Angeles, CA, published while the initial 2-year test of the system was still underway (contributed by Richard Powers).
The TIS Service Today:

Related Links: