Historic Pope Francis visit – the Eastern Transportation Coalition Supports agencies

Pope Francis just completed a historic visit to the United States with massive events in Washington DC, New York City, and Philadelphia – in the middle of the Eastern Transportation Coalition region.  During the visit, many transportation pattern changes and restrictions were put in place – throughout Washington DC, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland – to ensure safe and efficient movement of people and freight throughout the region.

The Eastern Transportation Coalition assisted its member agencies and travelers visit by providing the following tools/assistance:

  1. RITIS Meeting – a collaborative decision tool – that supported transportation coordination between all participating agencies and organizations
  2. One-stop Papal Visit Travel Information website page with direct links to the key transportation agencies’ websites
  3. Traffic View map providing real-time traffic, crashes, events and weather information


RITIS Meeting was chosen by PennDOT (the lead agency for managing regional transportation) as the virtual meeting platform for collaborative decision-making and document sharing that was conducted within a situational awareness environment.  The tool, developed by the University of Maryland’s Center for Advance Transportation Technology Laboratory, was available continuously throughout the entire Papal visit in Philadelphia, a period of 72 hours!  Meeting participants “met” virtually every two hours (supported with separate conference calling) to review traffic operations and share Situation Reports. Regional traffic conditions were also viewed through RITIS Meeting’s mapping function and probe speed data layer, quickly providing a regional look at conditions on the ground. The tool proved to be a very valuable, and reliable, asset to all parties during this momentous event.

In addition, The Eastern Transportation Coalition provided travelers and agencies with a one-stop “Papal Visit Page” to assist them in dealing with the changes in traffic patterns, transit service and other travel issues.  This page included direct links to the Papal Visit Website and various Transportation Agency websites including State Traveler Information/511 Pages with pertinent information posted regarding travel changes and restrictions.

And finally, the new “Traffic View” on-line map was available!  This map provides real-time traffic, crashes, events and weather information within the corridor.  It was an essential tool for persons traveling within the regions of the Papal visit.

The Coalition is pleased to continue their support of members through valuable services tailored to meet the agencies’ needs.