Considerations of Current and Emerging Transportation Management Center Data
Chapter 1. Introduction
Source: University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory.
This report documents a Transportation Management Center Pooled Fund Study research project and provides a detailed reference on the concepts, business models, methods, processes, techniques, and other issues related to realtime traffic data collection and dissemination. The audience for this report is transportation management center (TMC) managers and their public sector partners. The project identified, researched, and synthesized an assessment of the following data collection and dissemination factors:
TMCs constantly search for new and innovative data sources that can improve guidance for operations decisions, provide better predictive capabilities, and enhance the safety and mobility of travelers. Figure 1 shows one of many approaches agencies could use in the future to integrate new, private sector data and agency-deployed sensors to enhance operations. The process depicted describes the following activities:
The diagram, while convincing, glosses over many of the critical details. The workflow seems simple enough, but many factors can derail efforts to procure and utilize new data or technologies, all of which can heavily influence operations program success, agency budgets, and the public.
This report looks at some basic aspects of using emerging data from third parties—understanding what is available, how it is collected, the business models used by the companies that sell it, acceptable use of the data, and possible data use cases. Details of these aspects are rarely reported in the public domain, making location of reliable data difficult for agencies. This limits agencies' ability to define successful operations strategies and make sound investment decisions.
Sources of Information and Methodology
The extensive literature review and the gathering of key information for this study came largely from in-person or phone interviews with private sector data providers, systems integrators, and the staff of departments of transportation, universities, and non-profit coalitions. The very nature of this report has the potential to expose key business and agency practices that are both proprietary and sensitive. Most of the private sector and agency interviewees declined the offer of attribution and requested that specific details concerning the exact formats of their data remain confidential.
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration