A Texas Transportation Institute research effort will soon become part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Permanent Research Collection of Information Technology.
ALERT — Advanced Law Enforcement and Response Technology— has been under development at TTI since 1995, and is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The project is aimed at integrating the various functions of a police car to improve the accuracy of traffic data, clear accident scenes faster and enhance officer safety. Two ALERT cars are being tested locally, one by the College Station Police Department and another by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
ALERT is one of 321 technology applications from 39 states and 21 countries that will be added to the collection in the National Museum of American History. The additions, which will be formally announced on June 10, are part of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards Program. The program is designed to recognize individuals and organizations who have demonstrated vision and leadership in the use of information technology in innovative ways.
“The Texas Transportation Institute and the U.S. Department of Transportation are using information technology to create strides toward remarkable social improvement,” said David Allison, the chairman of the museum’s division of information technology. “We are delighted to have this excellent example of how information technology is being used to improve our world included in the national collection.”
ALERT operates on a computer located in the police car’s trunk. The system allows the officer to access records and communicate with department dispatchers via a touch-screen display or a wireless handheld remote computer unit. Lights, siren, video camera and global positioning equipment are operated through the computer, which also stores accident and citation forms to allow electronic data entry and eliminate paper forms.