Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies collect a vast amount of data for use in real-time control strategies, such as incident management, traffic signal control and traveler information services. Transportation professionals, especially those in operations and maintenance, are increasingly coming to understand that the data generated by ITS and subsequently integrated into an Archived Data Management System (ADMS) are useful well after they are no longer “real-time” data. An ADMS is an information management system that collects, processes, and documents or stores real-time ITS data for use by a broad cross section of users. ADMSs provide a valuable tool for developing operational strategies, planning for operations, long-term planning, and policy and investment decision-making.
This report examines five transportation agencies that have established and are operating successful ADMSs, and one that is on the verge of becoming fully operational. The case studies include:
- Washington State Transportation Center (Washington State TRAC)
- California Department of Transportation Freeway Performance Measuring System (Caltrans PeMS)
- Detroit Michigan ITS Center (Detroit MITS)
- Minnesota Department of Transportation Traffic Management Center (Minnesota TMC)
- King County Washington Metro (King County Metro)
- Maricopa County Arizona Regional Archive Data Server (Maricopa County RADS)
The report presents findings on the design choices, operational policies, funding sources, and costs and benefits experienced by each of the six ADMS case studies. In doing so, the objective is to enable agencies to overcome the challenges of establishing an ADMS and to experience the many benefits for both operations and planning.
Successful Archived Data Management Systems (ADMS) require marketing, training, and outreach. Transportation professionals may not be aware that operational data are being archived, and may not be cognizant of the potential uses and benefits of the data. Moreover, they may need training on the use of the ADMS in order to more effectively utilize the data. Based on the experience of the six sites profiled in this study, the following set of lessons learned is highlighted:
- Inform users about the quality of the data they are using. Agencies use different methods for data quality assurance, and they need to share this information with users, so that the users can make any necessary adjustments in their analysis.
- Caltrans PeMS assesses data as they are received and determines if any data are suspect or missing. Missing or suspect data are automatically replaced with a value imputed from the adjacent values.
- The Detroit MITS system automatically checks data quality based on diagnostics that evaluate how well each loop is operating. Data that are suspect for a given location are subsequently flagged.
- Washington TRAC does not automatically generate data to replace data that is missing or considered bad or suspect. Users of the data must decide whether to accept questionable data and must identify methods for dealing with bad or suspect data.
- Provide training classes for system users so that they understand the data/applications they are using.
- Washington State TRAC developed a formal training class for the archive and analysis software. This class is given on demand to WSDOT staff and other invited public agency personnel. A website was created to provide training support.
- For PeMS, training is provided to Caltrans staff and planning staff from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).
- Market the potential uses of archived ITS data to the transportation community.
- Members of the University of Washington staff speak at national meetings about how the archive (Washington State TRAC) is used and why it is valuable. WSDOT staff is also responsible for making other WSDOT staff aware of the archive and analysis software’s availability and uses.
- Program directors from UC Berkeley (the host of PeMS) highlight the value of Caltrans PeMS to potential users by regularly participating in national conferences and committees.
Marketing and outreach is necessary to increase awareness of ADMS, but outreach must be supplemented with training, so that transportation professionals can learn how to effectively use ADMS. As the case studies illustrate, ADMS provide numerous benefits, including improved operations planning and improved policy and investment decision-making. Through effective use of this tool, the goal is to enhance the safety and mobility of the transportation network.
Federal Highway Administration