INTRODUCTION\ud \ud \ud In recent years, there is an ever-increasing demand and interest in the use of multimedia\ud technology and applications in industry, government and academia. Multimedia is often\ud seen by researchers as the next step forward in interfacing science, technology and\ud community. Yet, the terminology of multimedia bears several meanings. It may refer to\ud Compact Disc (CD), moving pictures or video-conferencing. The multimedia technology\ud referred in this paper is the World Wide Web (WWW) hypertext publishing information\ud system which was developed by and started at the European Laboratory for Particle\ud Physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Since the introduction of WWW, its use has\ud increased dramatically within a couple of years in a widely diverse community including\ud government departments, university and research establishments, and commercial\ud organisations. It has significant influence to our communities and our daily lives. Yet, in\ud most cases, applications of WWW services are largely restricted to electronic library\ud referencelcatalogue search facilities, electronic mail systems, electronic conference and\ud discussion systems, electronic news and publishing agents, and remote access to computing\ud resources on the Internet.\ud \ud The primary objective of this paper is to exploit the potential of this multimedia technology\ud as a simple, easy-to-use and effective means of telematics application in transportation\ud research. It is hoped that initiatives are highlighted via this study and hence encourage\ud participations and collaborations from different sectors of industries.\ud \ud \ud In this paper, a brief history of WWW is given in section (2). An overview of the technical\ud aspects in providing a WWW service is presented in section (3) in terms of computer\ud hardware requirements, software installation, network connections, application\ud maintenance and administration, and system security. Compared to most commercially\ud available multimedia software in the market, WWW services are cheap to run, userfriendly\ud and readily available to the public on the Internet. In order to exploit the potential\ud of WWW on transportation research, a study was carried out and results of the findings are\ud reported in section (4). To further substantiate the level of usefulness, two particular\ud WWW applications were chosen amongst other web services and they are reported in\ud section (5) for illustrative purposes. The selected applications are the 'Transportation\ud Resources on the Internet' developed in mid-1994 in the Institute for Transport Studies\ud (ITS) at the University of Leeds in England, and the 'Southern California Real-Time\ud Traffic Report' developed by Maxwell Laboratories, Inc. in collaboration with the\ud California State Department of Transportation in the US. Finally, a set of issues are raised\ud in section (6), highlighting the directions of future development of WWW as an easy-touse,\ud cheap and effective multimedia telematics application on transportation
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