Provide easy and low-cost access to ITS data to facilitate data usage.
National experience with ITS data archiving, sharing and usage.
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United States

A Literature and Best Practices Scan: ITS Data Management and Archiving


To manage and operate ITS technologies to exceed customer expectations, data is needed on the structure, status, use and behavior of the entire transportation system. With the advent of Archived Data User Service (ADUS), the National ITS Architecture officially embraced the concept of saving (retaining and archiving) real-time, operational data for other non-real-time applications, such as transportation planning, safety analyses, and research. There are three major aspects to fulfilling data needs: understanding what data is needed by the full range of stakeholders; creating/ maintaining the mechanisms to gather/ store the data; and providing convenient, timely and affordable access to the data. The report provides examples of who can profit from data, what types of data they would like and what benefits can accrue if these users obtain the quality of data they seek. This report, performed for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, overviews the current data collection and management environment for improved data archiving. Among the lessons learned are the need to improve data quality, the need to provide ITS data at different aggregation levels, and the need to provide easy and low-cost access to ITS data.

Lessons Learned

It is important to archive ITS data into a manageable form. The ability to access a database from remote locations without burdensome or costly software requirements is necessary to increase the availability of the data. No user costs should be associated with the system except for an Internet connection. The public sector goal is to make at least a basic level of services available to all taxpayers/citizens, not just to high-income users who can afford sophisticated software and/or hardware. This ubiquitous and easy access to archived ITS data will create new project and work opportunities.

  • Acknowledge and allow for the needs of low-tech information seekers. Individuals in the low-tech information seekers market segment have a low acceptance and comfort level with the Internet and web-based information. Nevertheless, this customer segment represents a large portion of the current Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) customer pool, and can be expected to continue to demand good information services on low-tech media in the future. The most widespread use of archived ITS data was in locations where data was easily or publicly accessible. In these locations, user groups outside the operations center were able to develop data extraction and analysis tools. Examples of easy access to archived ITS data include distribution via the Internet or CDs.
  • Take into account privacy issues when creating access to information. While creating easy access to the information, one must keep in mind the privacy component. The conflicts of having ITS data that records the location or travel pattern of an individual with some privacy concerns must be solved. The public sector doesn't want confidential or sensitive information released to reduce system security (increased hacking attacks) by opening up systems. After documenting existing regulations, policies, and guidelines addressing the issues of privacy considerations and rights, it is necessary to recommend public and private roles and responsibilities in the access and treatment of data.
  • Remember that ITS data may require a large amount of storage space. ITS data potentially requires large amount of data storage capacity. Innovative storage and/or aggregation strategies are necessary to keep costs to a reasonable level and within the reach of a typical agency.

The lessons described above suggest that the public sector should provide easy and low-cost access to ITS data to all information seekers, and consideration should be taken when providing information to low-tech information seekers. When providing transportation information to the public, it is also important to consider the associated privacy issues as well as data storage needs.

A Literature and Best Practices Scan: ITS Data Management and Archiving

A Literature and Best Practices Scan: ITS Data Management and Archiving
Publication Sort Date
Henry X. Liu, Rachel He, Yang Tao, and Bin Ran
University of Wisconsin

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