BUTTE, Mont. — The falling snow and freezing cold can make traveling to see loved ones during the holiday season a challenge. But a research team that includes a professor at Montana Tech University in Butte has developed a web application, titled the ‘One-Stop-Shop,’ that can make planning for road trips a little bit easier.
Developed and sponsored by Montana Tech assistant professor Doug Galarus and members of the California Department of Transportation, the One-Stop-Shop gathers data from a number of sources, including the National Weather Service and states’ departments of transportation, and puts it all in one neat place so that travelers have all the information they need before taking to the road.
The project began out of California in 2009 before expanding its coverage to the entire Western United States in 2014. As Galarus mentions, web traffic is typically highest when people are heading home for the holidays.
“The past three days, we’ve had record usage of the system,” Galarus said. “We’ve been close to 30,000 user sessions per day. Once people come to the site, they stick. They use it, and they continue to use it, especially if they’re in an area that is close to a border between states.”
The One-Stop-Shop’s ability to cross state lines was an important factor in its development, as while vacation travel often transcends state borders, many similar road-weather apps limit their coverage to just one state.
“The approach we’ve taken is more of a global approach,” Galarus said. “We show [users] what the camera images are on all of the major routes. We show them what the weather forecast data is, as well as current conditions. And in turn, we hope that they use that to make smart decisions and so the right thing while they’re driving during the holiday season, or any time.”
The One-Stop-Shop isn’t just for winter weather, either. It provides updates on fog, fires, and other weather events, so it remains a resource for Western Americans all year round.
And though the One-Stop-Shop is a web application, it also works on tablets and mobile devices. Visit oss.weathershare.org to view the One-Stop-Shop or to learn more information.