Data Integration, Sharing, and Management for Transportation Planning and Traffic Operations

Planning and operating transportation systems involves the exchange of large volumes of data. The lack of common data formats has been a limiting factor for transportation agencies and practitioners involved in data analysis and reporting. A lack of common data formats negatively affects sharing data among partnering transportation agencies (multimodal 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 structures and processes can improve the efficiency of data-driven processes, and support innovation.   Some standards exist for data sharing within regional mobility management, but usually in specific segments of the operation (e.g., 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 city initiatives. For example, 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.   As transportation agencies begin to use new data sources and to make their data more accessible, some of the issues faced include gaining confidence in the data and understanding their quality and variability, reconciling data discrepancies among different sources (including probe vehicles and connected vehicles), determining appropriate data sample sizes, validating processes for turning data into information, comparing system performance across time taking into account how the data has changed, and understanding the implications of big data and machine learning approaches.   NCHRP Project 08-36/Task 129 examined the feasibility of developing data standards for transportation planning and traffic operations. The contractor's report revealed that it is difficult to predict standard adoption; many well-designed and technically superior standards have failed. 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. The NCHRP Project 08-36/Task 129 contractor's report concluded that standards are feasible and desirable and identified five promising data areas or “bundles”: travel time, demand, traffic incident and work zones, network, and transit. Based partly upon this effort, the AASHTO Data Management and Analytics Committee has set a goal of developing a “Data ‘Green Book’” and this project is an initial step toward that goal. The objective of this research is to develop tools, methods, and guidance for improving data integration, sharing, and management practices to enable transportation agencies, in collaboration with private-sector and public-sector stakeholders, to make better planning and operations decisions. Secondary benefits will be increased uniformity of data across states and improved consistency of practice.    


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $1350000
  • 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: 20190610
  • 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