Map Page Overview
The Travel Midwest site includes interactive map pages that present traffic information graphically. The maps are generated dynamically and display up-to-date traffic conditions in the form of colored lines and icons. The maps provide a way for you to quickly get a picture of the current traffic conditions in various parts of the site's coverage area. The traffic information on the maps is automatically updated once a minute.
The maps are accessed via the "Maps" menu header in the menu bar. Selecting "My Map" displays a map whose configuration is stored in a cookie on your browser so that you can use it to get a map of your preference quickly. Selecting the "Chicago Area", "City of Chicago", "Bloomington/Normal", "Champaign/Urbana", "Effingham", "Kankakee", "Lake County IL", "Peoria", "Quad Cities", "Rockford", "Springfield", "St Louis", "NW Indiana (Gary)", "Indianapolis", "Madison", or "Milwaukee" menu item displays a map initially centered on that location. The map pages display a map that takes up the entire browser window with two control panels on the left side on top of the map. Each control panel can be expanded to use it or view its contents, or can be collapsed to display more map area.
The maps can be scrolled and zoomed to allow you to view the area in which you are interested, at the desired level of detail. The zoom controls in the upper right corner of the map zoom in ("+") or out ("-") one level. You can also zoom in and out using the mouse wheel. To pan the map, press the mouse within the map image and drag the image in any direction. You cannot pan the map beyond the Travel Midwest coverage area. The button with four arrows pointing to the center in the Map Controls resets the map to its initial configuration.
Information on the maps is displayed in layers. There are layers for travel times, congestion, construction, incidents, dynamic message signs, cameras, special events, weather stations, highway shield numbers, and mile marker numbers. Layers may be displayed or hidden using the toggle buttons in the Map Controls panel on the map page to allow you to focus on the information you find useful, and to remove information you do not find relevant. Initially, all the layers are displayed, unless you are zoom further out, in which case the travel time, camera, message sign, and mile marker numbers icons are not displayed to make the map image less busy.
As you scroll and zoom a map and turn layers on and off, the location, zoom and layer information is stored in a cookie on your browser. In this way, you can refresh the map to update the real-time information without losing track of the area and the types of information you were viewing. The cookie for the "My Map" page is maintained for three months so that your preferred map configuration will be ready to use when you return to the site. If you have disabled cookies for your browser, then you will not be able to use this feature.
When you select a map, you will see a page similar to the one below:
The symbols that indicate events, traffic conditions, and devices on the map are (numbers from the figure above):
- Incident - These icons indicate that there has been an incident such as an accident reported at this location, which is believed to still be currently affecting traffic conditions at that point. The effect will vary from incident to incident. A large icon indicates the incident duration is estimated to be over an hour, while a small icon indicates that the estimated duration is less than an hour. A red icon indicates that all lanes are closed, and a yellow icon indicates a partial lane closure. A green icon indicates that there is residual congestion from a recently cleared incident.
- Construction - The construction worker icon indicates that there is construction or maintenance activity at the location indicated by the icon. If the construction affects a section of the road, the icon is displayed at the center of the section. As described below, you can see a description of the full section by hovering the mouse over the icon.
- Expressway Congestion - The coloring of the expressways
indicates the detected congestion on that expressway, based on the speed of vehicles on the roadway. For expressway segments,
the congestion ranges are:
- (dark green): Uncongested - 55 or more mph
- (light green): Light congestion - 35 to 55 mph
- (yellow): Medium congestion - 15 to 35 mphh
- (red): Heavy congestion - under 15 mph
- (gray): Unknown congestion
- Arterial Congestion - Congestion data on arterials
is available throughout Illinois. For arterial segments, the congestion ranges are:
- (dark green): Uncongested - 30 or more mph
- (light green): Light congestion - 20 to 30 mph
- (yellow): Medium congestion - 10 to 20 mph
- (red): Heavy congestion - under 10 mph
- (gray): Unknown congestion
- Travel Time - The white teardrop and black circle icons with numeric labels display up-to-date travel times. In the Chicago area, the teardrop icons display the travel time to or from the Chicago downtown area to the location of the icon, with the point of the teardrop indicating the direction of travel. The black circle icons indicate the travel time on a roadway section. As described below, you can hover the mouse over a travel time icon to see a description of the roadway section indicated by the icon. A dark red teardrop or circle icon with a numeric label, i.e. or , indicates that the given travel time is 50% higher than the average travel time for the current time of day and day of week.
- Dynamic Message Sign - This icon marks the location of a roadside dynamic message sign.
- Camera - This icon marks the location of a camera. In some cases, especially when the map is zoomed out and there are several cameras very close together at that zoom level, a single icon represents a group of cameras.
- Special Event - This icon indicates that there is a planned event at that location which may affect traffic conditions.
- Weather Station - This icon marks the location of a weather station.
Each symbol on the map has a tool tip that appears when you hover the mouse over that symbol (without clicking). These tool tips are:
- Incident - a description of the incident from the source agency
- Construction - a description of the location of the construction
- Travel Time - the travel time and a description of the associated roadway section
- Dynamic Message Sign - a description of the sign's location
- Camera - a description of the camera's location
- Special Event - a description of the event's location
- Weather Station - a description of the station's location
Map Page Control Panels
On the left side of the map page, two Control Panels are displayed over the map. Each control panel can be expanded to use it or view its contents, or can be collapsed to display more map area. You can drag the panel to a different location on the page if desired. As in the figure above, the Legend is not expanded initially because it does not provide any interaction and it takes up a great deal of space. To expand or collapse a control panel, click on the panel title or the arrow next to the title. Which control panels you have open and closed are stored in a cookie so that when you refresh a map page or navigate to another map page, the same configuration is maintained. This cookie is maintained until you quit the browser. For example, in the figure below both the Map Controls and Legend are expanded:
The map components and Control Panels are (numbers from the first figure above):
- The Zoom Controls - the "+" button zooms the map in one level and the "-" button zooms the map out one level
- The Scale - indicates distances on the map at the current zoom level
- The Map Controls
- "Pan to City" - centers the map on a city that you select. To do so, enter the first few characters of the city name in the text field and a drop-list of matching cities in the Travel Midwest coverage area is displayed. Choose a city from the list and the map will be panned to center on it. The zoom level is not affected.
- "Use my Location" - allows you to keep the map centered on your device's location. When you check the check box, your browser may ask whether to permit the application to use your location. If you deny permission to do so, location following is disabled and the check box is unchecked. If your device is not moving, a blue circle is displayed at your location. If your device moves while the "Use my Location" check box is checked, then the map will pan to follow your device's location and a blue teardrop will be displayed at that location pointing in the direction the device is moving. You may zoom in or out without affecting the "Use my Location" feature. However, panning the map or using the "Pan to City" feature disables location following since doing so sets a map location. For your convenience, your device will not go to sleep mode while the Use my Location feature is enabled.
- The thirteen toggle buttons in this panel control which layers are displayed on the map. In order from left to right and top to bottom, the buttons affect the following layers: Travel Times, Expressway Congestion, Arterial Congestion, Incidents, Expressway Construction, Arterial Construction, Cameras, Dynamic Message Signs, Special Events, Weather Stations, Weather Warnings (which are indicated by a translucent polygon over the map), highway shields, and mile markers. The button with four arrows pointing to the center resets the map to its initial location. If a button appears pushed in, that layer is visible. Clicking on a button hides or shows the associated map layer. If you hover the mouse over a button, a tool tip appears that indicates which layer the button affects and whether that layer is currently visible. When the map is zoomed out, the travel time, camera, and message sign icons are not displayed to make the map image less busy. If a layer is disabled for this reason, the tool tip indicates that it is disabled and the button background is a darker grey.
- The Legend - identifies the icons and congestion color coding used to display traffic conditions, events, and devices on the map. The "Map Help" in the Legend title bar is a link to this page. If you have difficulty distinguishing the congestion colors on the map and reports, you can click on the ADA icon next to "Uncongested" in the Legend to open a window that lets you set the color for "Uncongested" to blue, which is easier to distinguish from the red for "Heavy Congestion" and the grey for "Unknown Congestion".
- Base map chooser - click on the base map chooser to toggle the background map between a street view and a satellite view.
When you click on any of icons or congestion colorizations, a popup is displayed describing that event, device, or traffic condition. Here are two example popups, one from a construction event and the other from a dynamic message sign:
The Location in the Road Work popup is a link to a map of the construction that highlights the affected roadway section. For a camera, the popup displays a recent snapshot from the camera, together with the age of the image. For some cameras, views from multiple directions are available, which can be seen by clicking on the tabs above the image (as on the Camera Report), for example:
The camera location in the popup is a link to a map centered on the camera. Only one popup can be displayed at a time. The following information is displayed for each icon or congestion colorization:
- Travel Time - displays two tabs as follows:
- Data -the location, the travel time, the average travel time (which is a link to the Travel Midwest Stats web site displaying historical travel times for the associated roadway section), the congestion level, the length of the roadway section, the speed, and the last update time
- Chart - a chart showing today's travel time as it compares to a typical day
- Congestion - the location, the congestion level, the length of the roadway section, and the last update time
- Incident - the description, the location (which is a link to a map displaying the incident), the closure details (i.e., the lanes affected), the status, the start time, the estimated end time, and the source agency
- Construction - the location (which is a link to a map highlighting the affected roadway section), the severity, the closure details, the time periods, the duration, the source agency, the description, whether it is a moving operation, and the last update time
- Camera - the most recent snapshot(s) received (which is a link that displays a small window with the snapshot enlarged and for some agencies, reference views to determine in which direction the camera was pointed), the location (which is a link to a map displaying the camera), the source agency, and the last update time
- Dynamic Message Sign - the location, the mile marker, the status, the message or image displayed, and last update time
- Special Event - the location (which is a link to a map highlighting the affected roadway section), the severity, the closure details, the time periods, the duration, the source agency, the description, whether it is a moving operation, and the last update time
- Weather Station - the status, the location, the atmospheric readings, the precipitation, the pavement condition, and the readings time
- Mile marker - the expressway name, mile marker number, nearest cross street, offset from that cross street, county, and city.
You can hide a map popup by clicking anywhere on the map, including the popup (except on a link in the popup, which will follow the link).
The "My Map" Feature
As stated above, selecting the "Chicago Area", "City of Chicago", "Bloomington/Normal", "Champaign/Urbana", "Effingham", "Kankakee", "Lake County IL", "Peoria", "Quad Cities", "Rockford", "Springfield", "St Louis", "NW Indiana (Gary)", "Indianapolis", "Madison", or "Milwaukee" menu item from the "maps" menu displays a map initially centered on that location. However, a user may regularly view the map of a particular location and wish to view that map without scrolling and zooming one of the preset maps. The "My Map" feature addresses this need. To set your preferences for "My Map", select "My Map" from the "maps" menu and scroll and zoom the map and set the layers you wish to see. This information is stored in a cookie on your browser for three months so that your preferred map configuration will be ready to use when you return to the site. Your map is then displayed on the Travel Midwest home page when you return to the site, and is available at any time via the "My Map" menu item.