Implementing and Leveraging Machine Learning at State Departments of Transportation

With rapid advances in computing, data science, and big data, there has been a corresponding massive expansion of datasets that are acquired, recorded, and stored, and thus available for individuals and organizations to turn into actionable information. Traditional statistical methods, data mining, simulation techniques (system dynamics and agent-based modeling), and machine learning (ML) are all being used to process these datasets and produce information for decision-making. For the purposes of this RFP, ML is defined as a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) focused on building applications that learn and extract knowledge from data. Categories of ML include supervised learning, unsupervised learning, reinforcement learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and deep learning. Transportation agencies that wish to leverage ML tools and techniques to extract information for decision-making and system operation will need to understand and implement these tools as part of their business processes. Deployment of ML tools and techniques—whether acquired or developed in-house—by state departments of transportation (DOTs) is somewhat limited. Research is therefore needed to help state DOTs (1) understand and leverage ML to extract information from data more efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner; (2) identify business needs and challenges that lend themselves to effective application of ML techniques; (3) identify ML skills, training, and infrastructure needed to add value to the management of transportation systems and assets; and (4) share ML tools, models, and case studies. The objective of this research is to advance the understanding and use of ML tools and techniques at state DOTs and other transportation agencies. The proposed research will aid state DOTs in transitioning to a more advanced state of practice by: (1) Demonstrating the feasibility and practical value of ML in the context of transportation systems, to better understand its application opportunities, implementation processes, and data requirements. (2) Identifying skills, capabilities, resource, and organizational capacities necessary to leverage ML. (3) Identifying and learning from existing applications at transportation agencies. (4) Providing insight into costs, benefits, and performance and limitations considerations. (5) Identifying and sharing ML frameworks, tools, guidance, and ML code for common use cases.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $350000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 23-16

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Mohan, Sid

  • Performing Organizations:

    Old Dominion University

    Norfolk, VA  United States  23529
  • Principal Investigators:

    Cetin, Mecit

  • Start Date: 20220324
  • Expected Completion Date: 20240323
  • Actual Completion Date: 20240323

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739666
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 23-16
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 21 2020 10:18AM