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Thread: OTISS really that good?

  1. #1
    May 2012
    Salem, OR

    OTISS really that good?

    Hey all,

    Just wondering if there are other Transportation Planners/Engineers out there who have checked out ITE's new program OTISS (Online Transportation Impact Study Software) and if they have any review/feedback information. Trying to figure out if it's really worth the money to sign up. I went to the pre-launch webinar hosted by ITE and didn't walk away 'sold' on the idea.



  2. #2

    OTISS First Impressions

    I'm new to this forum but familiar with OTISS. I have used OTISS several times and simply put, I like it -- a lot.

    This is the direction our profession needs to be headed with regards to cloud computing. The ability to quickly generate site traffic volumes, adjust for pass-by, internal capture, etc. for single-use or multi-use developments is a great time saver -- especially when it comes to making changes. I understand future versions will have the ability to assign driveway trips which means it's just a short step to integrating capacity analysis...

    I know the 9th edition of the Trip Generation Report is coming out in a month or so but OTISS is expected to have the new data in time for the ITE Annual Meeting in Atlanta. I believe the pricing is about the same between the two options. If you use the Trip Generation Report very much at all, I think you will appreciate OTISS. Here is a link to their site to learn more or get a free trial.

    Chet Skwarcan PE

    Moderator note:
    (Dan) Welcome to Cyburbia! I deleted the signature links, because we found that some new members join just to promote their Web sits, never contributing again.

  3. #3
    May 2012
    Salem, OR
    Hey Chet,

    Thanks for the response! I agree with you on the cloud computing, but from what I can tell OTISS still relies on the trip generation report which (in my opinion) is a flawed premise.

    The ITE Trip Generation Manual has studies dating back to 80s, 70s, heck I wouldn't be surprised if there are studies in there from the 50s and 60s. Are all these really still valid? Have sites been double counted due to information coming from multiple contributors? For a particular land use, is all the information gathered in New York still valid in North Dakota? Studies I have been involved with in Oregon already show significant reductions in trips generated between sites surveyed locally and the national ITE trip rate. Especially in more Urban areas.

    Our current system in the US has a lot of fundamental flaws in it's structure (again, in my opinion). I would like to see transportation planning in the US take a step in the UK direction. Check out www.trics.org ! They are a UK consortium of counties who (through a consultant firm) have assembled a database of trip counts (both on the person and vehicle level) and used this data to establish a context-sensitive approach to trip generation.

    On top of what the UK is doing, we have New York, San Diego, and San Francisco already having removed themselves from the general use of the ITE Trip Gen manual because they believe it doesn't apply to their cities. So they have established their own, 'local' trip generation manuals that supersede the national ITE manual.

    Again, from a computing side, I understand why OTISS has its appeal, but most of the organizations (private firms) I have talked to already have robust internal spreadsheets, that have existed for years and already accomplish what OTISS would be charging us for. So maybe as someone who uses OTISS and likes it I should ask, what about OTISS makes it the most appealing? What process of the traffic impact analysis has it smoothed for you?

    Thanks for the input! It's always interesting to get other people's thoughts.

  4. #4

    Problem with OTISS

    The problem with the OTISS online trip generation program is that it omits the "show your work" step that is clearly seen by using the ITE 9th edition spreadsheet. I'm not trying to spurn technology, but when I review traffic studies that have used OTISS, I always ask to see the ITE diagram for internal capture that is missing with the OTISS system. Plus, I always have to recheck their calculations because there's no way to trace what's been calculated.

    In my opinion, OTISS is a "black box" that does not allow an option to print the analysis on how things were calculated. If they want to be credible, then they need to add that part of the equation to their online software, otherwise it just opens the door to questions, speculations, and potentially specious data.

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