View Poll Results: Will the new AAA TripTik work for you?

Voters
9. You may not vote on this poll
  • I could open the application easily

    3 33.33%
  • I couldn't get the application to open for me

    0 0%
  • I found it useful and easy to understand

    3 33.33%
  • I couldn't get the mapping to work well

    1 11.11%
  • I couldn't understand how to use the planning tool

    1 11.11%
  • I have already used it to plan a trip

    5 55.56%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Results 1 to 10 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default AAA TripTik-- What do you think?

    I know that this subject sounds like an advertisement and in deference to the RTA Forum Moderators --- this really is not SPAM.

    My day started early in the wee hours with a reporter calling to ask for a comment about the new trip planning program being offered by AAA. Since I was a) not yet awake and b) unaware of what she was asking about I am sure I sounded something less than saavy.

    Now, I have had some time to run our trip routing trials and have found the new free version of the well-known AAA program to be very interesting. It has some very cool features and I would love to know what you think.

    There are some access problems -- AAA is a membership club that is organized into a series of local clubs and each have their own entry page. Using the club that services Nevada we were able to access the free version of TripTik relatively easy -- but we noticed that AAA southern California and other clubs around the USA are not providing those links. If you want to test it, I have pre-loaded the required zip code info and the application should open if you use this link.

    I would like some feedback here about what you think of this new tool!

    Thanks,

    Mark

  2. Default Some bugs in the Mapping Engine

    Not bad -- nice to have the multiple way points.. but I'm not so sure about the mapping engine

    Laid in roughly a trip I'm planning for this summer perhaps. One of the legs is from Sacramento, CA to Vya, NV and on to Seattle area. It routed me to Reno NV and then up 147 and some other routes which I think are at least 100 miles of dirt/ gravel roads as the "fastest" route. Not sure that's true compared to 395... So.. a bug in the mapping engine or data base?

    Also, this also estimated the "trip tick" would print out as 93 pages (!!). It would be nice to be able to reduce this page print out a bit.... (And I haven't played with the options to see if I can reduce this... but then, most folks going to an internet mapping site won't do more than hit the "PRINT" button, either...)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Try the Overview Page

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    Also, this also estimated the "trip tick" would print out as 93 pages (!!). It would be nice to be able to reduce this page print out a bit.... (And I haven't played with the options to see if I can reduce this... but then, most folks going to an internet mapping site won't do more than hit the "PRINT" button, either...)
    Yeah, that would be quite surprising -- try the overview map version -- it is much more reasonable and still useful. I like that the e-mail version is a .pdf file.

    Weird about that routing on dirt roads -- I am still testing it too.

    Thanks for the results thus far.

    Mark

  4. #4
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Would this be the internet trip-tik?

    If this is the case, this was introduced when I was working at AAA Arizona back over a year ago. It has some merits, the travel info tab allowing you to locate gas stations, average prices for gas, lodging, etc on the trip-tik is very helpful. I've used it a few times, but also always opted for the trip-tik ordered and mailed from the office for the printed version. I think it would be a great tool for research on a route. All-in-all, as a geo-nut, I say that this program is one of the better I've seen out there. I'm still partial to MS Streets & Trips, Google Earth, maps.live.com, and maps.google.com (in that order), but the Internet Trip-Tik system is one of my favorites.

    -Brad

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default The original version

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad View Post
    If this is the case, this was introduced when I was working at AAA Arizona back over a year ago.
    Actually the original Internet version was made available to AAA members online in late 2004. What is different about this version is that anyone (member or not) can now use the service. This new version was released this morning about 8:00 am EST.
    All-in-all, as a geo-nut, I say that this program is one of the better I've seen out there. I'm still partial to MS Streets & Trips, Google Earth, maps.live.com, and maps.google.com (in that order), but the Internet Trip-Tik system is one of my favorites.
    Good to know. Have you tested the other programs that RTA has rated here? I would love to know what you think of them as well.

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Wherever we hook the RV up. We have been full time RV'ers for about two years.
    Posts
    11

    Default AAA Trip Tik

    When my wife and I married in 1993, she had been a member of AAA for many years, and had the basic service which included trip routing. We used the service a couple of times, after I upgraded to the Gold Plus or whatever the top service is. After checking I discovered AAA would not tow her vehicle to a garage or location of her choice, should she break down.

    The Trip Routing service was the old fashioned, go into the office or call them and they sent out the maps. Our first trip was from Springfield, MO to L.A., CA and their service left quite a bit to be desired. Since I had travelled extensively for many years working for the Government I had made this trip many times, but it made her feel better to get the trip routing done by AAA. The problems we encountered with that and one subsequent trip routing service from AAA was they only showed businesses, motels, etc. that were AAA members. The unfortunate part was that most businesses marked their services up enough so as to give the AAA discount and still had us paying the same or more than we could find elsewhere. Another problem was that some of the motels they recommended we would not stay in under any circumstances, our pickup was cleaner.

    Since I have tried MapQuest, Yahoo Trip Planner, and several other online services since the computer generation rocketed into place. I prefer Google, and Rand McNally in the event that I do need one of the services. I did try the AAA Trip Tik about six months ago for a short excursion we were planning away from the area we were in. As usual AAA Trip Tik performed as the old AAA Trip routing had so many years ago, so there is no link in my favorites to any AAA site.

    I cancelled the AAA service in 2002 when we bought our Fiver and a 3/4 Ton Diesel pickup and discovered they would not even tow our pickup in should we break down, because it was over the maximum GVW rating for them to provide service. I think at the time, even with the Gold Plus service (or whatever it was called, cost us 140 bucks a year), any vehicle with a GVWR over 8000 lbs was not covered. I went to GoodSam Road Service and for about 40 to 50 bucks a year less they will not only tow in our now, new one ton truck, they will also tow both trailers we pull in and if the garage or dealer cannot get us back on the road that day, will tow our trailers to an RV park for us to get set up to wait for the truck. More service, and so far better service for less money. I like that kind of deal.

    Personally I prefer the WalMart version of the atlas which I believe is made by Rand McNally. I usually look up our route, write down the major highways we will be using, and put it away until we move to another location in our now full time RV'ing life.

    Sorry AAA lost my vote some time ago, and my experience with AAA Trip Tik on line did nothing to reinstate it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Good Sam Version

    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingSaddles0745 View Post
    I went to GoodSam Road Service and for about 40 to 50 bucks a year less they will not only tow in our now, new one ton truck, they will also tow both trailers we pull in and if the garage or dealer cannot get us back on the road that day, will tow our trailers to an RV park for us to get set up to wait for the truck.
    When we hit the road in 1994, we opted for the company that Good Sam eventually purchased for towing and they are truly awesome. I have a "habit" of going places in a RV that no RV should ever find itself and, as a result, have required emergency intervention services (and a talented tow truck operator) a number of times. I have nothing but praise for that service.
    Personally I prefer the WalMart version of the atlas which I believe is made by Rand McNally.
    The atlas I prefer is the Motor Carrier Atlas produced by Rand McNally because of its heft and the listing of most of the low overpasses -- pretty important for you too I would bet.
    Sorry AAA lost my vote some time ago, and my experience with AAA Trip Tik on line did nothing to reinstate it.
    I have been an AAA member since the late 1960's and never really liked the TripTik product for all of the reasons you mentioned. However, you might want to check out the newest web-based version that we are addressing here -- it really does have some interesting data -- and it has shifted away from some of the commercialization of the old format -- (not completely, of course, ) but it is my business to check these programs every 3-4 months and this version is quite different than the Internet version of 2005-2006.

    Thanks for your ideas and input.

    Mark

  8. #8
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Some of the others...

    I just tried Yahoo! Trip Planner for the first time, and in my opinion, not very good at all. The program is difficult to use and get a route for, however, it is good (from what I can see) in building an itinerary for visiting places and getting information on attractions, etc. If I was just planning a trip somewhere and was flying there, I might use Yahoo! Trip Planner to plan everything about the trip from the moment I got there. A road trip, eh, not so much. Then again, it could also just be my style for conducting road trips calls for an open itinerary.

    With Rand McNally, again this is the first time I've used their service... and I must say I am impressed. I did my usual route (a trip that I would actually take), Tempe, AZ to Wenatchee, WA. I like how it offered two different variations on the same route - One going via Flagstaff/Kingman/Las Vegas to I-15 for the Tempe-Wenatchee leg, and the other via Flagstaff/Page/So. Utah to I-15 for a return trip. I'm not sure why it would route me through Vegas when heading north, and through Page when heading south... but anyway. The maps that are presented are clear and easy to read.

    I've used Mapquest before, and will never use Mapquest again. My IT side has so much discontent with AOL that knowing AOL owns Mapquest brings a bad taste to my mouth in the first place, but in the past I have had too many problems with address location. I did try it out just to see, and it would appear they have made a lot of improvements. The map quality is clearer and better. And, I used the same start/end points as I did with RM, and I received directions via Page. With my bias against AOL aside, I would still say there are better services than mapquest, but it is good for most users.

    TravMatrix is a new one for me. I again used my home address in Tempe routing to Wenatchee, WA, and waited for the route to appear. I nearly gaged when I saw the map: a basic outline map matrix. Not only that, but for some strange reason, their system routed me via the longest route possible: I-10 to I-5 north then back over the Cascades. I've done this route, and like it, but the fact that the other mapping systems chose the shortest route by miles and time, and this one has me going through LA has me concerned about the routing criteria. The only thing I liked here is the services list available for certain exits. I might return to here just for some of that information alone, but other services offer similar information.

    Plan-Your-Trip to me was sad- their database not having more information makes it fairly useless unless you're traveling just within the confines of, say, the Pacific Northwest. Although I visit this area as frequently as possible, I would still opt for another service.

    If I were to rank the services, my criteria would be primarily is how well they function as a navigational aid, and then on how well they help plan a trip.

    My advice to anyone creating a tool like the ones above is first, make it function like a good digital map. Having information on services available at exit points is for me a very good feature to include. Attraction information is also important to have available.

    I'll try these services out a bit more over time and see how they compare to each other when actually preparing a trip.

    -Brad
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-21-2007 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Added some navigational links

  9. #9
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Aaa

    Sorry to hear your AAA Experience was less than favorable, but to be honest, the question was less about how you feel about AAA the organization, and more how you liked the Internet Trip-Tik. As far as your experience, I formerly worked with AAA Arizona as part of the mid-management team for Automotive Services, and found a few things where, for other RTA visitors information, the record needs to be set straight.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingSaddles0745 View Post
    After checking I discovered AAA would not tow her vehicle to a garage or location of her choice, should she break down.
    This would actually be incorrect. National policy is based on mileage. Should you break down, you have the authority to choose where your vehicle goes as long as it does not violate AAA policy (so places like Auto-Sales yards, side of the road, etc. is not an acceptable destination, but Joe,s Garage is). The only time where this is changed is if you have only the basic coverage but are in the middle of nowhere. You can opt to go wherever you go, if you pay the club's over mileage rate, but if you want it kept free, you would have to go back to the contractors station or their shop-of-choice.

    I cancelled the AAA service in 2002 when we bought our Fiver and a 3/4 Ton Diesel pickup and discovered they would not even tow our pickup in should we break down, because it was over the maximum GVW rating for them to provide service. I think at the time, even with the Gold Plus service (or whatever it was called, cost us 140 bucks a year), any vehicle with a GVWR over 8000 lbs was not covered.
    This would be correct, due to the size of the equipment needed to tow such a behemoth. Good call on switching to Good Sam, as they have the contracts in place to cover such large vehicles. Size and weight limitations do vary between AAA clubs, and some of them I personally don't agree with, but having worked in the field, I understand the costs involved in sending the larger wreckers out for a $140/yr membership. The cost of the membership gets eaten up within the first 5 minutes of the call.

    Not trying to be an advocate for AAA here, because they do have their problems, but just making sure that correct information is relayed. Thanks for sharing your experience though.

    -Brad
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-21-2007 at 12:35 PM. Reason: removed extra white spaces for clairty of the response

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Remember the parable of the Blind Men & the Elephant?

    Brad,,

    Thanks for your comments and analysis. It helps to remember that creating a useful planning tool is very much like defining and transforming a three-dimensional reality into a 2D or 1D version. All of the planning tools you looked at (and RTA has rated) have taken their best read on what makes a planning tool useful and tried to recreate that vision. Very similar approach to the seven blind men trying to describe an elephant....

    The Yahoo Planner started out as a way of sharing the experience of a roadtrip (as told by non-professional writers and travelers) and taking that data and making a trip planner -- logistically that is probably the most difficult to achieve -- RTA's trip planning tool was in development for several years, based on upon a similar premise and we never did get it working to our satisfaction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Brad
    A road trip, eh, not so much. Then again, it could also just be my style for conducting road trips calls for an open itinerary.
    Rand McNally:
    and I must say I am impressed. I did my usual route (a trip that I would actually take), Tempe, AZ to Wenatchee, WA. I like how it offered two different variations on the same route - One going via Flagstaff/Kingman/Las Vegas to I-15 for the Tempe-Wenatchee leg, and the other via Flagstaff/Page/So. Utah to I-15 for a return trip.
    Your test returned a better result than the one we ran -- good to see the differences.

    TravMatix: You may not have known, but this program was created to only address Interstate highways -- which is probably why it returned the results you saw. For interstate highways, it has the best database out there.

    Plan-Your-Trip: This program was developed only for the Pacific Northwest and some of the southern provinces. Again, this program was never intended to be the answer to trip planning all over North America.
    Although I visit this area as frequently as possible, I would still opt for another service.
    Hmmm, so even in this narrow geographic area, you found the data to be inferior to another service?
    If I were to rank the services, my criteria would be primarily is how well they function as a navigational aid, and then on how well they help plan a trip.
    Well, here is the crux of the elephant paradigm -- none of these programs set out to be Google Maps -- they all include an element of online mapping -- but their real reason for existing is provide info for trips -- much like the mission of RTA --
    My advice to anyone creating a tool like the ones above is first, make it function like a good digital map. Having information on services available at exit points is for me a very good feature to include. Attraction information is also important to have available.
    I wish it were really that easy -- but good points.
    I'll try these services out a bit more over time and see how they compare to each other when actually preparing a trip.
    I look forward to your continuing analysis of these programs.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-21-2007 at 12:32 PM. Reason: navigational issues

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