Zhang, Xu; Chris Van Dyke; Greg Erhardt; and Mei Chen
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The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) uses real-time speed data and traffic information derived from Waze crowdsourced data services as a decision support tool to monitor traffic congestion, gauge the effectiveness of snow and ice removal operations during severe weather, and to measure the impact of posted traveler information on both roadside dynamic message signs (DMS) and on a state-run traveler information website.

Leveraging its advanced IT infrastructure, KYTC now combines various data sources to characterize real-time roadway conditions throughout the state and posted them on a state-run website. Key data sources include:

  • HERE real-time speed data
  • Waze incident and jam reports
  • Waze traffic viewer
  • Twitter
  • Doppler radar
  • KYTC's traffic operations center
  • TRIMARC incident reports, snow plows, internal crowdsourced activities throughout the state, and DMS.

KYTC aggregates data from these sources and harmonizes them based on location and time. Information on alerts and delays from the real-time data are used to populate a real-time traffic information map on the state’s website (

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The primary objective of this study was to compile and review practices that state DOTs and MPOs have leveraged to acquire and use proprietary data. The focus is on those data generated by technologies such as GPS, mobile phones, or crowdsourced travel alerts.

Several approaches were used to gather information for the study. A comprehensive literature review was performed to look at past studies involving data procurement and to establish what types of data agencies have obtained and determine their uses. An online survey was designed to seek information on three major aspects of proprietary data:

  1. Data items acquired and applications
  2. Procurement method
  3. Use experience.

The survey was distributed to state DOTs via an email distribution list with the assistance of the AASHTO Data Management and Analytics Committee. For states that are not on the distribution list, the study team identified DOT personnel in the area of data management, planning, or operations through an online directory search. All 50 state DOTs were invited to participate in the survey. The survey was also distributed to 22 large MPOs with populations of more than 2.5 million. Forty-two (42) state DOTs and three MPOs responded to the survey or participated in phone interviews. Of those states that responded, 79 percent indicated that they have acquired at least one proprietary data set. The research team also interviewed state DOT staff from Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Kentucky—as well as staff from the Atlanta Regional Commission in Georgia—to gain detailed knowledge on agency practices and perspectives on procuring and using these data.

The survey respondents and interviewees identified several barriers and concerns associated with obtaining and using proprietary data and shared their perspectives and practices as they relate to these concerns.

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ISBN 978-0-309-48051-2
Kathy Thompson
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The National Academies Press
Result Type
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Practices on Acquiring Proprietary Data for Transportation Applications
Source Review