Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 53-03. Practices Leveraging Social Media Data for Emergency Preparedness and Response

Emergencies are often unpredictable, unique, and hard to track. Timely response to emergencies on highways is a critical issue faced by state departments of transportation (DOTs). State DOTs have been developing emergency response protocols and procedures. The popularity of social media provides an unprecedented opportunity for state DOTs to obtain information. Social media data provides vital spatial and temporal information before, during, and after emergencies and the use of social media is popular in emergency management for its high accessibility and effectiveness. Many DOTs have undergone technology renovations and have started using social media data for rapid emergency situation detection, damage assessment, and evacuation plan propagation. However, there is a lack of documentation of DOT practices of using social media and corresponding data under different emergency scenarios. The objective of this synthesis is to document current state DOT practices that leverage social media data for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to): (1) Types of emergency scenarios for which social media data is being leveraged (e.g., natural disasters, hazmat incidents, civil unrest); (2) Types of social media data monitored and captured (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Nextdoor, LinkedIn); (3) Use of data before, during, and after emergency events (e.g., capturing; reviewing, internal and external sharing and messaging, decision making); (4) Processes and training for filtering and vetting data (e.g, accuracy, relevance, actionable); (5) Barriers for collecting and using data (e.g., privacy issues, infrastructure, access restrictions, agency policy); (6) DOT documented policies regarding use of social media data; and (7) DOT metrics for measuring effectiveness of collecting and using social media data. Information will be collected through literature review, survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.


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  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $45000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 53-03

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Synthesis

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    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:

    Gause, Jo

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Nebraska, Lincoln

    1400 R Street
    Lincoln, NE  United States  68588
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wittich, Christine

  • Start Date: 20230313
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01771608
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 53-03
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 18 2021 8:08PM