Developing Data Standards and Guidance for Transportation Planning and Traffic Operations - Phase 1

Planning and operating transportation systems involve the exchange of large volumes of data. The lack of common data formats has been a limiting factor for transportation agencies and all practitioners involved in data analysis and reporting. This includes sharing data among partnering transportation agencies (transportation, planning, public safety, and emergency response agencies at the city, regional, and state levels); private-sector interests (e.g., transportation network companies, navigation providers, freight managers); travelers; and intelligent devices (e.g., traffic signals, ramp meters, connected vehicles). Well-designed data standards can be a viable solution to this problem since they improve the efficiency of data-driven processes and can support innovation. Some standards exist for data sharing within regional mobility management, but usually in specific segments of the operation (i.e., Traffic Management Data Dictionary [TMDD], Center to Center [C2C] protocols), which do not include all data elements needed for Integrated Corridor Management (ICM), and regional mobility management. For instance, TMDD works well for data sharing between traffic management centers, but does not include some data or granularity of data needed for decision support systems and modeling systems within ICM and Smart Cities. For instance, lane data (speed, volume, occupancy) is only available in most C2C systems at the macroscopic level (all lanes combined). Transit data within C2C systems is mostly static information and does not include real-time vehicle location and passenger count information. Lessons learned from the ICM implementations, Smart City programs, and regional mobility programs in the United States point to research gaps and ideas that can help data sharing programs. These gaps can be organized along three general areas: a) data warehousing and data sharing standards, b) use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) standards and regional ITS architectures, and c) institutional coordination. NCHRP Scan Team Report “Advances in Strategies for Implementing Integrated Corridor Management (ICM)” (NCHRP Project 20-68A, Scan 12-02) provides additional information on some of these issues. NCHRP Project 08-36 Task 129 examined the feasibility of developing standards for transportation planning and traffic operations. The report revealed that it is difficult to predict standard adoption. There are many well-designed and technically superior standards that have failed and become marketing case studies. Based on the research, a business case and clear incentives for a critical mass of supportive stakeholders is required for market adoption. Standards are most successful if they have a clear business purpose; are clear in application, specificity, and versioning; are developed with broad outreach and buy-in; are well defined and simple; are open standards; are forward looking; and involve a national or worldwide community. There are also many challenges associated with standard development. These include reluctant data vendors; dynamic data content; complexity of data to be standardized; standardization process takes too long to complete; standardization process does not take into account a critical mass of would be users or decision makers; there are significant disincentives or conflicts of interest; there is limited outreach to agencies that could implement; and inadequate resources to overcome the barrier of entry. The contractor's report concluded that standards are feasible and desired. Five specific data areas or “bundles” of standards were identified to be ripe for standardization: travel time, demand, incident and work zones, network, and transit. The objective of this research is to develop standards and/or guidance to be used and adopted by the transportation community in collecting, managing, and sharing static and real-time data for transportation planning and operations. The five standard data areas or “bundles” to be evaluated for standard development include travel time, demand, incident and work zones, network, and transit. Each bundle includes various data categories. The researcher may evaluate bundles or data categories as appropriate for moving to the next stage of standard development. In addition to resources and efforts mentioned previously, the research should consider the FHWA’s report The Use of Data in Planning for Operations: State-of-the-Practice Review [FHWA-HRT-15-071] and the FHWA’s Geospatial Data Collaboration initiative. The guidance should facilitate memoranda of understanding or other approaches to sharing data between the public and private sectors. Emphasis should be placed upon how standards and guidance can be maintained and made easily deployable by interested agencies.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $1100000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-119

  • 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:

    Derr, B

  • Start Date: 20190114
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01669531
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-119
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 21 2018 3:07PM