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Welcome to Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations

What Is Crowdsourcing?

Simply put, crowdsourcing is the practice of addressing a need or problem by enlisting the services of a large number of people via technologies. Many transportation agencies crowdsource information directly from their 511, 311, and social media applications as well as through a host of vehicle probe, connected car, and multimodal data vendors to improve transportation systems management and operations (TSMO).

Crowdsourcing Benefits Transportation Operations and Beyond

State and local transportation operations programs require real-time, high quality, and wide-ranging roadway information. However, gaps in geographic coverage, lags in information timeliness, and lifecycle costs for field equipment can limit agencies' capacity for proactive systems operations. Transportation agencies can access and integrate free or low-cost crowdsourced data with traditional transportation systems data to enhance operations, increase safety and reliability, reduce operational infrastructure costs, and prioritize investments.

Crowdsourcing Examples

The following three agencies apply crowdsourced data to improve real-time operations, operational planning, long-range planning, and investment efforts. Learn more by viewing the agencies’ case studies or webinars. To see a broad sample of varied crowdsourcing applications across the United States, visit Crowdsourcing in Action.

  • The Indiana Department of Transportation (DOT) accesses vehicle probe and connected car data to actively manage traffic incidents, work zones, and traveler information using its Traffic Ticker and other dashboard tools. The agency estimated avoidance of $28 million in infrastructure deployment costs and $750,000 per year in communications service and maintenance cost by leveraging crowdsourced data. View the Business Case for Crowdsourced Data webinar for more information.
  • In Illinois, the Lake County DOT integrates free navigational application-based crowdsourced data with automated traffic signal performance measure (ATSPM) data to efficiently adapt traffic signal systems to transportation system disruptions, thereby increasing roadway safety and reliability. The department also applies crowdsourced data to support project prioritization. View the Lake County Case Study to learn more.
  • The Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the regional metropolitan planning organization in Phoenix, AZ, uses archived connected car crowdsourced data to improve its arterial operations, conduct before/after studies, and to better calibrate and validate its MAG planning models.
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Venn diagram shows three circles with icons and text that represent people, technology, and need. The three circles intersect, and this intersection represents crowdsourcing.
Last Modified: 01/22/2024