State DOT Usage of Bicycle and Pedestrian Data: Practices, Sources, Needs, and Gaps

State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) need data to inform the decision-making process, from statewide and regional planning, to project-level planning and development, to the evaluation of completed projects. However, data sources are not always available for a variety of reasons: agencies might not know of their existence; data collection may be cost-prohibitive; or existing data that is mainly utilized for other purposes has not yet been identified as usable for active transportation purposes. Data could be a powerful tool for agencies when determining which bicycle and pedestrian corridors/projects are most critical and, once built, clearly quantifying their impacts. There are many facets to state DOT usage of active transportation data. Some state DOTs use third-party data providers although those data sources have limitations and may not always be representative of a state’s larger population. When states collect their own information, they need the resources to gather, clean, maintain, and update the data and the IT resources to store it. States also need up-to-date geospatial data that indicates where sidewalks, bicycle facilities, and other infrastructure is located. It is also not enough to have geospatial data noting the physical location of a piece of infrastructure; for active transportation purposes, the condition of the infrastructure is important, especially when considering Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. On a larger scale, data could also identify populations more likely to utilize active transportation infrastructure and potentially aid in determining latent demand for the construction of such infrastructure. Clear data related to existing active transportation facilities would also help states quantify the effectiveness of these facilities and aid in pre- and post-construction analysis. If the data were standardized across states, the data could facilitate direct comparison and analysis on a state-to-state or national level. Active transportation data could also be combined with other data sets (including those focused on environment, equity, environmental justice, and public health, etc.) for additional analysis. States would benefit from research that summarizes the existing literature on active transportation data and catalogs relevant sources and data sets related to active transportation. Furthermore, innovative, cost-effective data use cases could provide scalable examples among state DOT practitioners. The research should also capture any untraditional or unusual sources or applications of data that may be primarily for other purposes but could be adapted or integrated into active transportation analysis. This research would inform practitioners on the expanse of available data, which may be unconventional, such as police and hospital reports; capture information on how peer agencies are identifying and using data, identify gaps for future research, and provide recommendations (identification, collection, cleaning, utilizing, analyzing, standardizing, storing, funding, privacy and legal concerns, etc.) Submitting a data-related research problem statement is part of AASHTO’s Council on Active Transportation’s work plan and the Council’s number one priority. The research proposed in this problem statement complements ongoing research. In particular, this problem statement expands the scope of NCHRP Project 20-05/Topic 50-10 to include bicycling data and conduct research aimed at identifying the data needs and wants of state DOTs and the gap between them and what is available. NCHRP Project 08-108, Developing National Performance Management Data Strategies to Address Data Gaps, Standards, and Quality, does not include any information on data related to active transportation. This proposed research will dive deeper into data than the more general NCHRP Project 20-123(02), Research Roadmap for the AASHTO Council on Active Transportation. It will also build upon FHWA’s Roadway Data Improvement Program (RDIP), which seeks to improve the quality of states’ roadway data. Under the Roadway Safety Program, FHWA also prepares Roadway Safety Data Capabilities Assessments for states that include data components. The objectives of this research are to determine how state DOTs are using data and to identify data sources, gaps, and recommendations on the next steps to develop the data and tools state DOTS need. To fulfill these objectives, the research contractor will need to complete the following: (1) Summarize/synthesize existing research on active transportation data. (2) Survey state DOTs to understand the current state of data sources and uses, as well as unmet needs. (3) Catalog active transportation data sets, common attributes, uses, including both well-known sources (e.g., Strava Metro) and less utilized sources (e.g., police reports, hospital reports, etc.). (4) Conduct a gap analysis between the data that state DOTs need/want versus what is currently available/being used. (5) Develop recommendations on next steps for developing, standardizing, maintaining, and storing the identified data, information, models, and/or tools. The research will present an urgently needed inventory of available data sources and identify any gaps based on direct feedback from state DOTs. Practitioners will gain valuable insight into how their peers are utilizing data and receive recommendations to bolster data in their agencies. This research will advance the technical expertise of state DOTs. Active Transportation data are used by many departments within a state DOT.   Planning, engineering, safety, asset management, and maintenance all could utilize the research findings. State DOTs would need to determine how the findings could be applied and/or scaled to their agencies. They would also need to identify how they would obtain the data, whether through subscription services or manual collection, and how they would clean, maintain, and store the data given budget constraints. Presentations, webinars, and case studies are effective methods for communicating findings. Given the continued need to support and evaluate facilities for active transportation, there is an important need for research regarding the injury data monitoring/surveillance systems in place and opportunities to further enhance these systems’ abilities to document health and safety outcomes, particularly for active travel modes.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $800000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 07-31

  • 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:

    Parker, Stephan

  • Start Date: 20200914
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739644
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 07-31
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 18 2020 3:05PM