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21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

U.S. Department of Transportation Roadway Transportation Data Business Plan (Phase 3): Data Business Plan Development for State and Local Departments of Transportation

Chapter 1. Introduction

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and regional transportation agencies have access to a proliferation of data sources to support planning and operations of multimodal transportation systems. There is increasing need to compile, integrate, and analyze transportation mobility data to support performance measurement, decisionmaking and Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO). Many technical and institutional challenges must be overcome in organizing and applying the data. The Data Business Planning process is a technique designed to assist with identifying challenges, gaps, solutions and action items to ensure maximum efficiency in managing data to support relevant business needs for an agency.

As part of the U.S. DOT Roadway Transportation Data Business Plan (DBP) project, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Operations developed this technical assistance document for State DOT and local agency staff charged with mobility data-related responsibilities to follow in the creation, development, and implementation of a tailored DBP for roadway travel mobility data, defined as follows1:

Roadway travel mobility data is travel data from the following roadway travel modes: vehicle, truck freight, bicycle/pedestrian, and transit. Travel data includes vehicle volume, speed, and lane occupancy data, as well as connected vehicle data such as vehicle location, presence, and speed within the system, internal vehicle status such as fuel consumption rate, or externally measured data such as recorded external temperature and weather conditions. Travel data for transit could include location, speed and status data, passenger counts, and schedule adherence data. Freight carriers may supplement the standard location and position report with gross weight data or data regarding the type and time-critical nature of goods carried.

A DBP is a plan for efficient use of people, processes, and technology. It links business objectives, programs, and processes to data systems, services, and products and guides an agency in data management practices.

This type of DBP will help State DOT and local partners understand what roadway travel mobility data is being collected within their organizations and at the regional level, how the data supports mobility planning, operations, and performance measure activities, and who is responsible for managing/updating the data. The process will also help solidify working relationships by identifying how various offices/agencies share and exchange roadway travel mobility data with both internal and external stakeholders. Another benefit of organized, well understood data is that it can then be used to support comprehensive diagnostics for the transportation system and can better inform whether specific operational practices are having an intended system-wide effect. Finally, data business planning will help identify potential duplicative data collection efforts, leading to more rapid, targeted data acquisitions that would reduce future data collection/management costs.

Systematic instructions are provided in this document on how to plan for, implement, and maintain a DBP, including: stakeholder outreach, data assessment and improvement plan, data governance processes and documents, and data management practices.

A draft of this document was tested and implemented within three pilot transportation agencies around the country. One of the key lessons learned in the pilots was that the process of developing a DBP while working with stakeholders was as beneficial as the resulting action plan. Following the steps in this document will result in activities such as Data Coordination groups forming to address common issues. The lessons learned by developing regional level DBPs using the initial draft document were incorporated into this final assistance document.


The remainder of the DBP is organized as follows:

1 U.S. DOT Roadway Transportation Data Business Plan, FHWA-JPO-13-084, January 2013. [ Return to Note 1 ]

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