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2-2-1 CHAPTER 2 IT Issues that Impact Data Sharing and Data Integration Several IT issues were identiﬁed during the course of the 2.1 High Impact case study research for NCHRP 8-70 (NCHRP Report 666) An issue was determined to have a high impact for several as either having a positive or negative impact on decision reasons. The issue may have a high (negative) impact on an making at transportation agencies. There are several poten- organization because it results in signiﬁcant costs in staff and tial solutions available including IT tools and procedures as resources to implement. Alternatively, it may require a low discussed in this primer. For the purposes of this primer, the cost to implement, but results in a signiﬁcant (positive) return IT issues are grouped into the following nine data process on investment (ROI) regarding productivity and timeliness categories: in delivery of data and information. These high-value/low-cost issues are considered “low- • Collection, hanging fruit.” They would yield signiﬁcant beneﬁts to the • Archiving/storage, agency or particular business unit and might be solutions that • Processing, agencies would choose to implement ﬁrst, as part of a data • Analysis, management program. Several high-impact issues identiﬁed • Reporting/dissemination, in Table 2.2.1 in the categories of sharing, processing, analysis, • Sharing, access, institutional, and new technology are discussed in the • Access, following paragraphs. • Institutional issues, and • New technology. Sharing These issues are described in Table 2.2.1. The table shows Issue: Establish Common Location Referencing (#23) an issue number, description of issue, beneﬁts, challenges, Many state transportation agencies use various types of and severity of impact of the issue. Some issues also provide location referencing methods in their road network linear solutions for the IT challenges. These solutions are identiﬁed referencing systems. Some of the methods may include route- with an issue number from Table 2.2.1. milepoint, distance from origin, and latitude/longitude loca- The research from the eight case studies and additional tions. These diverse methods of documenting locations across Web-based and other research indicates that certain issues play multiple agencies, or within the same agency, present challenges a more critical role than others in impacting business decisions when trying to integrate data from multiple systems. (including PBRA). The challenges associated with this issue can be illustrated by Each issue was assigned a “severity-of-impact” value of high, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities medium, or low, based on the information provided by the (ADOT&PF) case study. ADOT&PF currently uses a route- agencies in the case studies. Assigning a severity-of-impact milepoint scheme to identify locations on the Alaska road value to each IT issue helps prioritize the issues that present network. This linear referencing system is used for location of the most signiﬁcant challenges and warrant focused attention attribute data in the Highway Analysis System (HAS), including in this primer. These impacts either can provide beneﬁts or data used for trafﬁc and crash analysis, as well as for Highway present challenges for transportation agencies. Examples from Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) reporting. HAS is the case studies are discussed for each issue to further explain a legacy system and does not have the capability for data the potential impact to agencies.
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2-2-2 Table 2.2.1. IT issues that impact data sharing and integration. Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Internally (I), to External Negative – Issues Related to Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Issue Data Both (B) Low Benefits Challenges No. Sharing/Integration COLLECTION 1 Collect “right” data for Supports business need for a Need to determine how to collect I Medium “right business use.” specific business unit. the right data to get it to the right people at the right time. 2 Integration of real-time Increases richness and Need to determine I Medium data with traditional completeness of traffic datasets how/when/where to use real-time traffic data systems. data to supplement traditional traffic data collection methods. 3 Collection and Provides for a comprehensive Data providers for local road B—It may not be feasible for Medium integration of local road road network to support agency networks not required to external data providers to data with on-state geodatabase. use/follow same data collection accommodate certain data system road network. standards and definitions as state collection requirements (i.e., transportation agencies. level of granularity) based on the type of equipment used by them and/or limited staff to complete data collection activities in the required timeframe. 4 Level of granularity Increases level of accuracy of Increased cost for data collected I Medium (more detailed versus data used to support decision with increased data accuracy less detailed). making. (data collected at 1-mile interval versus 1-foot interval). 5 Collection of data across Provides comprehensive Consolidation of data and level of B— May impact external Low jurisdictional transportation network on a detail at boundary lines, county to stakeholders too, if some of boundaries. regional, state, and national county, state to state, and at data provided externally. basis. international borders may be difficult. ARCHIVING/STORAGE 6 Costs associated with Archives provide a historical Need to determine what data to I Medium data archiving and need repository of data for trends keep and how many years of data for storage of large data analysis and forecasting for are needed. files. investment purposes. Need ability to store large files (i.e. 4-6 GB of data) and to post the files to the network. 7 Maintain archive in- Although costs of external B—Impact depends on whether Medium Costs to house data externally house or externally. archiving may be more the archive is housed internally may be more expensive, and expensive, outsourcing this or externally. data must be accessible when function can alleviate the strain needed by internal business on limited internal agency units. resources. Additional hardware and software may need to be procured to serve as the archive repository. PROCESSING 8 Resources needed to Data can be collected in shorter Processing of data collected I Low process volume of data timeframe. through outsourcing may require collected through increase in internal staff to outsourcing. process the data. 9 Redundant data kept in There were no benefits Produces inefficient business I High duplicate systems identified with maintaining data processes, which may require because of data silos. in silo systems. duplicate data collection, QA/QC, and analysis, resulting in potentially conflicting results in reporting functions.
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2-2-3 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Data Issue Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Sharing/Integration No. Benefits Challenges Both (B) Low 10 Gain support from staff Increased efficiency and Staff may be reluctant to change I Medium for replacing manual productivity using automated from doing things “the way business processes with methods to replace manual they’ve always been done.” automated processes. methods. 11 Conversion of legacy Conversion processes provide an Conversion of data and I Medium data and information opportunity to cleanse data that information systems usually systems is time- may not be reviewed otherwise. requires a period of parallel consuming and costly. processing to ensure that conversions of data and application systems are done correctly. 12 Need to identify update Updating data on standard Datasets provided from external B— Impact depends on Low cycles required to cycles helps to ensure that the sources may not be refreshed or whether data is provided refresh datasets. most recent data is available for updated in a timely manner. internally or externally. decision making. ANALYSIS Data Quality 13 Need to identify and Increased efficiency and Automated analysis tools may I Medium develop new automated productivity of staff responsible need to be developed to replace analysis tools and for analysis of data for particular manual methods and procedures. procedures. systems (i.e., traffic, crash, road There may be some resistance on inventory, GIS, etc.). the part of staff to replace existing procedures with automated methods. Development of new tools can be time-consuming and costly initially, but ultimately can produce increased efficiency and productivity of staff 14 Need to determine and Clearly documented definitions Need to identify which business I High document each of the and standards applied to each of units in the agency are following attributes to these data quality components responsible for determining each ensure delivery of helps to ensure that the highest of these components of data highest quality data: quality data is available for quality. Is it primarily the IT accuracy, timeliness, decision-making. office, or the business unit that is completeness, validity, responsible for data quality? coverage, accessibility, currency. Use of Metadata 15 Need to develop and Helps to ensure that the data is It is time-consuming to develop I Medium maintain metadata used for the right purpose. and maintain up-to-date metadata. corresponding to data and information systems. 16 Need to determine best All stakeholders for a data Metadata standards and B—Developed internally and Medium method for system benefit from the definitions need to be developed disseminated externally. dissemination of widespread easy access to and methods for delivery metadata and who metadata through the use of identified to ensure that the (which office) is tools such as Web links, metadata is available to all responsible for this knowledge management stakeholders. function? systems, etc. (continued on next page)
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2-2-4 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Data Issue Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Sharing/Integration Benefits Challenges No. Both (B) Low REPORTING 17 Need to identify whether Establishing and publishing Business processes in various I Low reports are to be reporting deadlines across the offices may need to be modified generated daily, weekly, organization can help with this to accommodate changes in monthly, or annually to issue. reporting deadlines and support business needs. requirements regarding the types This may require a of reports and methods of change in current delivery of reports. business practices. 18 Need to identify the best Use of technology such as Reports may need to be produced I Medium methods and tools to dashboards can improve in multiple formats, such as Excel deliver reports. timeliness in delivery of reports spreadsheets, graphs, charts, and the ability to use reports to tables, and through different support decision-making. means, via Web link, or visual methods using PowerPoint presentations, use of dashboards, etc., resulting in additional costs to the agency in procuring these tools. DISSEMINATION 19 Need to define what is Establishing deadlines and Limited staff resources may find I Low considered “timely” timeframes for delivery of data it challenging to provide data in a dissemination of and information helps to ensure timely manner to all stakeholders information: daily, that data is available when when needed. weekly, monthly, needed. annually, other? 20 Need to select the best User-friendly tools instill Delivery methods and tools used B—Can impact external Medium tools and methods for confidence in the use of the data for internal and external customers too if training is delivery of data and and information by the users. customers may vary, such as required in use of reports and information to internal dashboards (for internal) and tools. and external customers. Web links or wireless (for external). This may result in additional costs and required training for staff in the use of each of these tools. SHARING 21 Need to balance data Ensures that agency resources Data requirements and needs for B Medium sharing needs of all are aligned to meet the needs of all stakeholders differ and should stakeholders: federal, stakeholders regarding data and be clearly identified and state, local, private. information in a timely manner. documented. Data conversion may be requi red B High 22 Data sharing standards Providing a copy of your agency to prepare data for delivery of all stakeholders may data catalog or data definitions according to external stakeholder not be co mpatible with and standards can help address needs. your agency standards. this issue. B High Use of a common georeferenced Developm ent of a common 23 Data sharing across all database system supports georeferenced dataset may modes of transportation sharing of data across multiple require developm ent of an needs to rely on a modes of transportation. enterprise geodatabase and comm on georeferenced acceptance by all users regarding dataset, with st andard the level of accuracy of the linear data definitions and referencing system used. dataset formats.
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2-2-5 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Data High, Medium, Issue Stakeholders (E), or to Sharing/Integration Low Benefits Challenges Both (B) No. I Low Use of meta data can help to Different business units within an 24 Need to address address this issue. agency or the agency itself may reluctance on the part of be reluctant to provide data and data providers to share information to external users data and information without clearly identifying the without knowing who intended use of the data and will use the data and information. how it will be used. Requires give-and-take on the B High 25 Need to establish Clearly identifies expectations part of all data sharing partners to cooperative data sharing regarding quality and timeliness agreem ents between of data delivery for all data provide data usable and mutually agency and external sharing partners. beneficial to all data partners. partners. Use of cost-sharing met hods for Limited money and staff B High 26 Data sharing may be data collection (such as pooled resources may inhibit data difficult across fund efforts) can decrease the sharing across multiple organizations because financial burden on any jurisdictions. money and skilled particular data partner. personnel are not always available across all jurisdictions. Certain business offices within I Medium 27 Need to integrate Use of external data products publicly produced and (whether free or at a cost) can the organization may be reluctant privately purchased data increase the richness and to purchase data products from products. completeness of agency datasets. external sources due to additional costs or lack of quality control over the data delivered. ACCESS Access controls protect against IT offices often need to I Low 28 Data Security—data unauthorized access and use of coordinate this effort with system s must have data by internal and external business units to approve access authorized access for sources. to various data systems. internal and external users; procedures have to be established to determ ine who/when/ under what circumstances access is granted. 29 Data Privacy—privacy Agency policies and standards Need to balance the need of the B—Internal users may have High of regarding what is considered public’s right to know with full access to data, while individuals/organizations public vs. private information privacy laws. external users have limited helps to protect the privacy access to data. must be upheld according to rights of individuals, and limits federal/state/local laws. risks to the agency from potential litigation. INSTITUTIONAL Data Management Policies/Procedures 30 Need strong executive Strong leadership supports data Changes in leadership may I High leadership to support management through impact continuity of support for data management establishing data governance data management programs. programs. policies and standards for collection, processing, and use of data across the organization. 31 Need to develop shared Standard business terminology Requires close coordination I Medium datasets and business dictionary supports development between IT office and business terminology definitions of applications and data systems units to develop what is between data program that are transferable across all considered the “standard business managers and all depart- business units and transferable terminology” dictionary. ments/business units, to external users of the including IT office. application systems. (continued on next page)
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2-2-6 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Issue Data Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Sharing/Integration Benefits Challenges Both (B) Low No. 32 Data is needed to Helps to justify future Requires archiving of data for I Medium support before-and-after investments in business before-and-after analyses analysis regarding return programs and in the risk processes. on investment (ROI) to management process. agency to support future investment strategies. 33 Different financial, No benefits identified for this Careful consideration must be B Low legal, and technical issue. given to the differences between environments exist at agencies (technical environments, individual agencies that legal, financial resources, etc.) may participate in data when establishing data sharing sharing agreements. agreements. Governance 34 Differences of opinions No benefits identified for these I High Clearly identifying roles and may exist between IT types of institutional barriers. responsibilities of IT offices, offices and business business units, and units regarding the roles stakeholders may take a and responsibilities for significant investment in time defining data definitions, and resources. standards, and policies The development of a data for the use of data and governance framework may be information. required to address this issue. There is not a one-size-fits-all model for data governance; the model must be scaled and adapted to the size of the organization. Need to identify the data champions in the organization. 35 State standards or Establishment of standards and Information systems developers I Medium agency standards and policies for use of agency and business data owners must policies may dictate hardware/software helps to have access to, and become contracting methods that protect the agency data systems familiar with, the state standards prohibit the use of from unauthorized access/use, and policies governing the use of certain hardware, and helps to streamline hardware, software, software, application system development, communication devices, and communication which must comply with the protocols that may be used to protocols. agency’s preferred architecture share and integrate data at the and database model designs. agency. Data Business Plans 36 Need to demonstrate the B High Ensures that agency data Need to develop a data link between agency systems are aligned with its business plan framework with mission and goals, the mission & goals, in order to input from the IT office and business units, and support the core business business units working in application systems, functions of the agency. partnership to develop the which support the framework that supports Helps to manage risks to the business units. agency mission and goals. agency associated with data programs. Data business plans may take several years to implement and may require a phased implementation approach. Requires involvement of multiple internal and external stakeholders.
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2-2-7 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Issue Data Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Sharing/Integration Benefits Challenges Both (B) Low No. 37 Need business Helps IT developers to Requires close coordination from I Medium terminology dictionary understand business terminology both the IT office and business to facilitate sharing of of the agency when developing units to participate in development data and information applications to support business of the business terminology internally and externally. needs. This may result in dictionary. eliminating duplicate data definitions across multiple application systems. Maturity Models 38 Need to use maturity Helps the agency to assess their Need to develop the maturity I High models to assess overall progress in the evolution of data model that best suits or is the best progress of agency’s data governance. fit for the agency. This may governance evolution, require the help of external which ultimately impacts consultants if internal staff is not the agency’s ability to trained in developing data share and integrate data governance maturity models. and information systems with other internal or external data sources. Risk Management 39 Need to identify risks to Helps to prevent loss of mission- Persons from all business units I High an agency associated critical data and information and the IT office need to with the loss of data. used for policy making and participate in the risk decision making. management process. 40 Need to develop risk Identifies persons/offices This may require additional tasks I High management plan and responsible for addressing risks to be assigned to already limited routinely (e.g., annually) to data and information on staff resources to support the risk re-evaluate the plan. behalf of the agency. management activities identified in the risk management plan. NEW TECHNOLOGY 41 Need to continually Keeps the agency at the This on-going evaluation carried I High evaluate when/where/ forefront in the use of new out as part of a Data Management how to integrate new technology to support business Program for the agency, will technology through a operations. require time and dedicated data management resources to accomplish. program. 42 Need to assess impact to agency through the integration of the following types of new technology: I High a) Business intelligence Useful for sharing data and Commercial dashboards often (BI) tools (dashboards, information from an have to be customized for use scorecards) executive-level overview in an agency. perspective. In some cases, there may not Has capabilities to access data be any commercial dashboards stored in many formats available that meet an agency’s including databases, needs. In this case, the agency spreadsheets, reports. may develop the dashboard in- house, or, use consultant Provides agencywide access services. to staff for monitoring goals, Training usually required for targets, and performance staff maintaining the information of core business programs. on the dashboards and/or scorecards and also for general staff using these BI tools. (continued on next page)
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2-2-8 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Issue Data Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Sharing/Integration Benefits Challenges Both (B) Low No. I Medium b) Knowledge KM systems can be used to Agency needs to determine management (KM) basic functions required in Provide easy and quick access systems their KM system so they scale to data, information, reports the KM system to meet their in a variety of formats to needs. support business needs; Some KM systems are more Provide automated versioning costly than others, and an control for documents; agency may not need all features offered by some of the Serve as repository of more expensive solutions. information on lessons learned; Contain contact information for data stewards, data business owners for specific data systems; provide links to data dictionaries, data catalogs; and Provide information on data governance policies and procedures. c) Extensible Markup No challenges were identified N/A High Easy to use for formatting Language (XML) for with the use of XML. files for transfer of data; data sharing and storage Offers automated security protocols for data; May be more economical means of data transfer compared to File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers. d) Wireless technology B—Coordination may be Medium Use of Smart Phone apps for Transmission of for data collection, required between internal instance, for GPS data data/information with Smart dissemination agency and external data collection, may be less costly Phones relies on the use of providers regarding the than the use of commercial cellular network towers, which use/transmission of data using GPS data collectors. may be limited or non-existent wireless technology and the in remote areas. applications used, such as Smart Phone apps. No challenges were noted with I Medium e) Automatic vehicle Provides real-time the use of AVL systems. location (AVL) systems departure/arrival information for transit data collection for transit vehicles, such as buses. Data can then be used for real-time trip planning. AVL systems also are used with snowplow operations to track GPS locations of equipment and amount of time needed for snow removal in a geographic area. AVL systems used with snowplows also are capable of tracking the temperature of the road and the speed of the vehicle.
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2-2-9 Table 2.2.1. (Continued). Impacts (Potential Cost in Severity of Terms of Money, Time, Impact, Either Resources) to Agency Positive or Issues Related to Internally (I), to External Negative – Issue Data Stakeholders (E), or to High, Medium, Sharing/Integration Benefits Challenges Both (B) Low No. f) Global positioning Provides increased accuracy of B—Type of data collection High Cost of GPS data collection system (GPS) data location data in real-time, which equipment and format of data devices and supplemental collection can be used in applications that to be collected needs to be equipment varies and may be a support dynamic routing of coordinated between external factor in determining which vehicles, and for updating data collectors and agencies equipment to procure. agency’s linear referencing needing/using the data. Commercial GPS data system and GIS. collectors rely on satellites, which may be unavailable from time to time, or have limited transmission capabilities in remote areas. GPS data requires transfer from GPS device to another device such as a PC/laptop for post-processing of the data, which includes data validation, differential corrections, etc. Differential corrections are used to improve the GPS location data. g) Closed-circuit I Medium Supports emergency Telecommunication relays television cameras operations during extreme from cameras may be (CCTV) for data weather conditions or other intermittent during a 24-hour collection types of emergencies period, based on weather or impacting flow of traffic. other factors. Provides real-time data Cameras may be costly to including travel time, speed, procure, install, and maintain. incidents, and weather for a Therefore, their deployment geographic region in the location should be carefully range of the camera. selected to maximize collection of data/information in the most critical areas. h) Non-intrusive Can be used effectively for No challenges were identified I—Cost of non-intrusive Medium technology (such as collection of speed data with the use of non-intrusive technology may be more than Minnesota GuideStar) technologies, except perhaps cost, traditional data collection for traffic data collection compared with the use of methods using road tubes. including infrared, traditional tubes across a magnetic, radar, Doppler particular section of road for microwave, pulse traffic volume data collection. ultrasonic, passive acoustic, and video. integrate data from additional road networks, as needed. analysis within a geographic information system (GIS) envi- When the geodatabase is implemented, it will be the source ronment. Therefore, ADOT&PF’s Program Development of location data for a new Trafﬁc Data System and Crash Data Division is developing an enterprise geodatabase that will System, as well as support existing department business eventually replace the HAS system and will be used to support programs. their business needs including highway safety and trafﬁc This example illustrates the challenges associated with analysis, traveler information, and asset management. developing a location geodatabase, that must have the capa- This enterprise geodatabase will need to integrate road net- bility to integrate new road networks and to update existing works for all functional classiﬁcations of roads required for networks to meet the needs of all stakeholders. ADOT&PF reporting. Projects are underway to collect this additional will continue to encourage internal and external stakeholders linear referenced data for integration into the geodatabase. to use this database as the source for their location needs. The database model is being designed with the ﬂexibility to
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2-2-10 Solution are data systems, which are most likely legacy systems, built to address business needs in separate business areas of the Implementing a geodatabase containing a comprehensive agency. network of state and local roads will encourage stakeholders Although many of these systems support certain business to use it for their location data needs. Outreach to stakeholders needs, they lack the ability to meet the majority of business to solicit contributions to this single geographic road network needs for the agency. The use of silo systems often results in will help ensure it contains the most accurate location data duplicate data being maintained across multiple systems, which available. requires continued costs to maintain separate data systems. Providing a means for data sharing partners to transmit Integrating these silo systems into an enterprise database has local road data and multiple types of roadway attribute data the potential to reduce maintenance costs. through a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server, or via a Web portal, encourages their use and continued contribution to Solution the master dataset. Six state DOTs were surveyed for this primer and many of One of the most effective methods identiﬁed for addressing them indicated that there is an ofﬁce that maintains GIS maps the existence of silos is the development of enterprise databases. and databases that are used by other ofﬁces within the agency The implementation of an enterprise database usually relies on and by external users (via a Web portal). They also indicated participation from the business units and IT offices. This that GIS and associated data are transmitted through the use of ensures that the enterprise data warehouse meets the needs of extensible markup language (XML) formats or FTP processes. each individual business unit as well as the agency as a whole. An enterprise data warehouse architecture includes links to Issue: Variety of Data Standards and Skill Sets data marts, which are used to distribute reports and predeﬁned Used at Multiple Agencies (#22 & #26) datasets to users. At Hennepin County in Minnesota, enterprise data is Another critical issue having a high impact on data sharing maintained for use by other departments within the county, with external partners is that independent agencies each have including the Public Works Administration. This department their own set of standards used for data collection, processing, uses accounting, payroll, GIS, and global positioning system and reporting. There also are a variety of skill levels among (GPS) data to support their business operations in the county. staff at individual agencies, and certain staff may have more This includes performance-based management, which evaluates advanced technical training than others in the maintenance the performance of county programs from four perspectives— of data programs. Others may have more experience or knowl- ﬁnancial, customer satisfaction, internal processes, and learning edge in the tools used for integration and sharing of data, and growth. which can present challenges when exchanging data between agencies. Analysis Solution Issue: Ensure Data Quality (#14) Although state agencies cannot dictate the required standards Another issue identiﬁed as having a high impact on staff and skill sets of personnel at other agencies, data sharing and resources is the necessity for access to quality data. This agreements and memorandums of understanding (Issue #25) includes having the staff and business processes in place to can be used to facilitate the exchange of data and information. ensure that data, especially data used for target-setting and These types of documents are used to specify data ﬁle format performance measures, is of the highest quality. The quality of requirements, data deﬁnitions, data collection requirements, data can be assessed in terms of the following seven attributes: and any quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) procedures required for datasets. They also can be used to document • Accuracy—degree to which data are free from error, required update cycles for delivery of refreshed data to par- • Completeness—degree to which data values exist in the ticipating agencies. data system, • Timeliness—degree to which data are available when Processing required, • Validity—degree to which data are in the domain of accept- Issue: Silo Systems (#9) able data values, • Coverage—degree to which sample data accurately represent One of the most notable high-impact issues identiﬁed by transportation agencies is the existence of silo systems. These the entire set of data,
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2-2-11 • Accessibility—degree to which data are easily retrievable, tags is to capture when a toll tag appeared at a location. Any and information about the driver that may be linked to the toll tag • Currency—indicates how current the data must be in order (including name, address, and telephone number) is not to meet business needs (e.g., is a daily, monthly, annual needed to track travel times of a particular vehicle. This type update sufﬁcient?). of data must be protected from unauthorized use. Citizens also may use the traveler 511 system in the Bay Area The challenge is to ensure that data quality is maintained for personalized trip planning services, with the “My 511” consistently throughout an organization, even though the option in the system. Use of this service requires setting up a determination for acceptable levels of data quality may vary customer account with information including a phone number across business units. and a location. Again, this information may be considered as There are also temporal issues to be considered, which may sensitive or private and must be protected from unauthorized impact the determination of data quality. Particularly regarding or unlawful use. currency, some datasets may need to be developed for future use (such as GIS datasets), while others are no longer used and Solution may need to be deleted or replaced with databases that offer The privacy of individuals can be maintained using busi- more advanced query, analysis, and reporting capabilities. ness processes and software that encrypts the data at the source of data collection. This is the method used by the 511 Program Solution at MTC. The toll tag ID is encrypted and the data is destroyed A method for addressing data quality issues across the within a 24-hour period. enterprise is to document clear deﬁnitions and standards for each of the seven attributes as they pertain to particular data Institutional systems. Data catalogs can be used to document this informa- tion and the catalogs can be made accessible through the use Issue: Need Strong Executive Leadership to Support Data Management Programs (#30) of an enterprise knowledge management (KM) system. Michigan DOT has a structured data management program One of the most signiﬁcant institutional issues impacting that includes data policies and standards, and data dictionaries the success of data management programs at transportation for the many applications systems that are used to support agencies is the need for strong executive leadership and support business operations. In order to provide the highest quality for an overall data management program/data governance data and information, a concerted effort is made to evaluate framework. This includes the need for policies, directives, what data are (and will be) collected to meet business needs. and procedures that are sanctioned from the highest levels of Some data may be used to develop performance measures the organization regarding how data is to be collected, used, for the department. In this case, all parties responsible for the and managed within the organization. collection and use of the data have to agree on what type of data will be used to monitor the performance measure before Solution it is implemented. This requires close coordination among business units, which supports the goal to “collect data once, There are several approaches that have been, and can be, and use it many times.” used to solicit strong executive support for data management programs in both the private and public sector. One of the Access most effective is the use of IT tools such as executive dash- boards that demonstrate how the agency’s business programs Issue: Data Privacy (#29) are performing when compared to established performance Several agencies identiﬁed that protecting the privacy of goals and targets. The use of dashboards is an effective and citizens regarding the collection and distribution of data is a understandable method of relaying this type of information to high priority. For example, much of the data collected as part of executives. It is the responsibility of the various ofﬁces within crash data programs at state transportation agencies includes the agency to explain, via presentations or other methods, how the information available on the dashboards relies to a the collection of data that is considered sensitive or private. great extent on access to timely, accurate, complete, and high- The case study at the Metropolitan Transportation Com- quality data. mission (MTC) in the California Bay Area illustrates the Depending upon the level of detailed information needed challenges regarding maintaining privacy when a transit agency by leadership, business data models also can be used to clearly is collecting travel-time data from an electronic toll tag system. show how the collection, processing, and reporting of data to In this case, the primary purpose of collecting data using toll
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2-2-12 Solution such entities as FHWA results in a signiﬁcant apportionment of highway funds to the state highway agencies on an annual basis. Risk management plays an important role in evaluating Demonstrating the ROI resulting from strong data programs and addressing several of the IT challenges discussed in this is another effective method for gaining strong executive lead- report. Therefore, risk management is discussed as a stand- ership support for data management programs. alone issue in Part 2, Chapter 3 of this primer. Issue: Need to Use Maturity Models to Assess Issue: Identify Roles of IT Ofﬁces and Business Overall Progress of Agency’s Data Governance Units for Data Stewardship (#34) Evolution (#38) A common institutional issue that exists in many agencies Agencies that are in the process of developing or imple- is the difference in opinions over the roles and responsibilities menting data governance programs also need the ability to of the IT ofﬁces and the business units for maintaining and assess their progress as they evolve from being ungoverned supporting data systems. Without clearly deﬁned roles for all to fully governed, regarding their data programs. They need data stewards and business data owners, duplicate processes a tool to assess where they currently are, compared to where may be developed for sharing and integration of data, especially they started and where they need to be, in order to obtain the data used for PBRA. This can result in the delay of timely highest level of data governance. delivery of data and information to decisionmakers when needed. Solution The use of data maturity models is the recommended Solution solution for assessing how well the agency is progressing in A data governance framework and data governance achieving various levels of data governance within the organ- maturity model can be used to address this issue. Establishing ization. It is important to scale the maturity model to the clearly deﬁned roles for data stewards, business data owners needs of the organization and to focus on the most critical and communities of interest (COIs), which are the stake- institutional, technical, and resource issues that may (or will) holders who share a common interest in a particular type of impact the implementation of data governance. An example data (e.g., safety, trafﬁc, crash, 511, and GIS), helps to address of a Data Management Maturity Model Matrix can be found this issue. in Table 2.1 of NCHRP Report 666: Target-Setting Methods More information on data governance and the data gover- and Data Management to Support Performance-Based Resource nance maturity model can be found in Volume 2, Chapter 2, Allocation by Transportation Agencies. Section 2.1 of NCHRP Report 666. In addition to establishing data governance models, an or- Issue: Identify Risks Regarding Data Systems and ganization should consider implementing the appropriate Establish Risk Management Programs (#39 & #40) technical infrastructure, using business intelligence tools, to support data governance. This could include KM systems that An issue that could require significant investment in are used to store information and archive best practices relat- resources is the development of a risk management program. This includes identiﬁcation of potential risks and development ing to stewardship for application systems. of strategies to address those risks. This requires participation from multiple business units and the IT ofﬁce to assess risks Issue: Need to Demonstrate the Link regarding systems in each business area. The IT office also Between Agency Mission and Supporting may evaluate risks differently than the business units; this is Data Programs (#36) also an issue that needs to be resolved. For example, the IT office may tend to focus more on potential risks pertaining There is a need to clearly communicate how an agency’s to the agency IT infrastructure. This includes securing the ability to achieve its mission and goals rely on data systems intranet and hardware and software from loss of service due that provide information for decision-making purposes. to power disruption or equipment failure. The business units, Many decisions, including PBRA, are based on available however, may focus their risk management efforts on the data and information from data support systems. Attention potential failure of infrastructure assets, such as bridges or to investment in data systems becomes a higher priority pavements in a state DOT. Each of these types of risks is once management is aware of the relationship between the important and should be addressed as part of an agency’s risk data systems and their importance in supporting business management program. operations.
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2-2-13 C-TIP, still under development, identiﬁes four main com- Solution ponents in its Concept of Operations (2009). The component Development of a data business plan framework can be used of the system that includes the use of wireless technology is to address this issue. The framework not only ensures that the the wireless drayage updating (WDU) component. According data systems are aligned to support agency goals and business to the proposed system design, motor carriers can receive infor- processes, but it also helps to identify the data systems that need mation about pending load assignments, pickup and delivery to be addressed as part of a risk management program. instructions, and trafﬁc congestion information through the More information on the use of a data business plan frame- use of a truck-mounted driver interface device (T-MDID), work can be found in Volume 1, Chapter 4, Sections 4.2 and 4.3 which is an iPhone.6 and Volume 2, Chapter 2, Section 2.1 of NCHRP Report 666. The following scenario, illustrated in Figure 2.2.1, including process steps, depicts how the C-TIP system can be used to New Technology relay information for moving containers between two railroad terminals.7 Issue: Need to Identify Best Approaches The C-TIP system illustrates how the integration of different for Integrating New Technology Tools types of technology and tools can be used to improve timely and Procedures (#41 & #42) delivery of freight containers between multimodal terminals and helps to eliminate empty container trips across town. The The use of IT tools and procedures has a signiﬁcant impact system integrates the use of real-time trafﬁc information, GIS on data sharing and integration. Although several beneﬁts mapping tools for routing, and GPS technology for location can be derived from the use of such tools, challenges often of trucks and containers. The system takes advantage of wire- exist with the use of particular types of technology. less communication through the use of iPhones for relaying These challenges include the need for customization of information to/from the motor carriers and the railroad ter- certain tools to make them usable at an agency. Additional minals and dispatchers. training also may be required for staff in the use of the new IT Overall, this system looks promising. There are some human tools and there may be additional costs for procurement of and technical challenges, however, associated with the use of hardware and software needed to implement a particular the system.8 technology tool. These challenges include the following: The benefits and challenges identified by the case study research for each of these IT tools and procedures are sum- • Validating the dynamic route guidance (DRG) and real-time marized in Table 2.2.1. trafﬁc monitoring (RTTM) output, • Providing useable output to drivers, Solution • Getting truckers to trust the dynamic routing recommen- dations, and Several types of IT tools and techniques are available to • Accommodating human behavior variables. facilitate sharing and exchange of data and information. This includes GIS tools used for display of maps and the use of In spite of these challenges, the C-TIP system provides con- business intelligence tools, such as dashboards and scorecards, tinued opportunities for improved transportation of freight in and KM systems for storing and sharing data and information. the Kansas City metropolitan area through the use of integrated For the purpose of identifying a unique proposed solution, technology tools. the following discussion explains how GPS, GIS, and wireless technology are used as part of a study involving sharing and exchange of data to support electronic freight management. 2.2 Medium Impact Research for this primer included investigation of the A medium-impact value issue indicates that some additional Cross-Town Improvement Project (C-TIP) in the Kansas City investment in resources and new applications may be needed; metropolitan area. C-TIP is under the direction of the FHWA however, the ROI in productivity and ability of the organization Ofﬁce of Freight Management and Operations. to meet its business needs justiﬁes the investment. In this example, the sharing of data and information between the motor carriers and the railroad terminals in the Kansas City metropolitan area relies on a sophisticated net- 6 http://www.ctip-us.com/ctip_ﬁles/CTIP Scope Statement_V6.pdf work of smart phones (iPhone), cellular network relay towers, 7 Randy Butler, Transportation Specialist, FHWA Office of Freight satellites, and roadway sensors that collect trafﬁc volume data. Management and Operations, Talking Freight Webinar, November 17, Real-time routing information is provided using GPS location 2010. data and GIS databases. 8 Paul Belella, Delcan, Talking Freight Webinar, November 17, 2010.
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2-2-14 Process Steps 1. Information is relayed to an Intermodal Move Exchange (IMEX) server to coordinate pickup and delivery of containers from railroads, terminal operators, and trucking companies. IMEX acts as a clearinghouse where railroads and terminal operators post transportation needs and trucking companies can indicate hauling capacity and daily load assignments. 2. The IMEX produces work orders for truck carriers to move containers, which are sent over the network to a dispatcher. 3. Truck carriers query and receive information either through a dispatcher or the WDU compo- nent. The WDU forwards travel-time information to the trucks. 4. Real-Time traffic information is collected from roadway sensors and relayed to drayage operators through the WDU. The information is sent to the T-MDID device (iPhone) in the truck. 5. The drayage operator begins the trip using the real-time traffic information and the dynamic routing component of C-TIP. 6. The drayage operator picks up container(s) at railroad terminal #1 to transport the shipment to railroad terminal #2. 7. Drayage operator then proceeds to railroad terminal #2 to deliver the container(s). Figure 2.2.1. C-TIP freight movement.
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2-2-15 This will help to align the data systems to support the business The issues in the medium-impact-level range are relative to operations of the organization. other issues identiﬁed by the case studies that may have a higher or lower impact level on the agency. The medium-impact-level issues include the categories of collection, archiving/storage, Solution, Part 2: Develop/Maintain/Distribute processing, analysis, reporting/dissemination, sharing, and Good Metadata (#15 & #16) institutional, and are described in the following paragraphs. One of the most effective methods that can be used to ensure that the right data is used for the right purpose is to Collection develop metadata for datasets. This is an example of how an Issue: Collect Right Data for Right Business Use (#1) IT issue can be used to provide a solution to address other issues. Metadata includes a description of the data fields for Several agencies are faced with the challenge of collecting the a dataset, the date of last update, and the intended uses for right data and using it for the right purpose. Clear expectations the data. The metadata also needs to be accessible to all must be identified for the intended use of data to justify stakeholders as needed. the cost of data collection programs. Many state DOT data collection programs exist to support operations of the agency Issue: Level of granularity (#4) and to meet federal and/or state legislative mandates. This may result in duplicate data collection efforts across multiple The level of granularity or precision level that is needed for business units within the agency, in order to satisfy legislative data collection programs may vary across business units within requirements that pertain to planning (HPMS), safety (Fatality a state transportation agency. For instance, although a 1-mile Analysis Reporting System, or FARS), environmental, and other increment unit may be sufficient for road inventory data programs. The right data also are needed to support develop- collection programs, pavement management programs may ment of performance measures and, subsequently, PBRA. require 1/10-mile segments to be used for data collection in Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), like many order to meet federal or other reporting requirements. state DOTs, has found that they are “data rich, information poor.” The agency must ﬁnd a way to process the abundance Solution of data collected and translate data into information that is available on an enterprise basis for use in making business There are many approaches that can be used to address decisions. this issue of the level of granularity needed for a particular data collection program. One of the best approaches is to combine the processes used at Hennepin County in Minnesota Solution, Part 1: Evaluate What Data Need and the processes used at Michigan DOT for roadway loca- to be Collected for Business Needs, Prior to tion data. Beginning Data Collection Efforts Hennepin County evaluates the level of granularity needed on Michigan DOT begins the process of deﬁning data collection a case-by-case basis. The precision level required by surveyors, that is used for performance measures by asking the following for instance, is not the same as that required for snowplow questions: operators. Snowplowing operations may be able to use aerial photography to meet their location needs and to determine the • For what is the data being used? resource allocations needed to complete snowplowing oper- • What is really being measured with the data? ations. However, if data is collected at a more detailed level for • What is the quality and meaning of the data? use by surveyors and is made available through a GIS, the data still could be used to support snowplow operations. Any data collection program should be organized to ensure Michigan DOT provides an alternative solution for address- that the primary business needs for the use of the data are met. ing the issue of level of granularity by making this decision Caution should be exercised in adding additional data collection at the design stage for their databases. In designing their requirements with stricter levels of accuracy because this may GIS database used in the Asset Management Section of the increase the time and cost of the data collection process. Bureau of Transportation Planning, a speciﬁc precision level Before beginning this process, evaluating the data collection is used for the roadway network data layer, which also allows needs of the organization and the best approach for managing data collectors to segment the linear network road layer data collection will help to ensure more efﬁcient management according to the data attribute being collected. This design of resources. The databases that store the data also should be provides flexibility in the use of multiple data layers within designed with consideration for how the data will be used. a GIS framework.
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2-2-16 Issue: Integration of Real-Time Data traditional trafﬁc data collection programs. Archives need to be and Local Road Data (#2, #3) maintained to store the data and access to the archive should be provided to users as needed. All state DOTs are required under federal regulations to report data that documents the extent, conditions, and per- Archiving/Storage formance of the public road network in the state on an annual cycle to FHWA. This is for the HPMS report. This includes Issue: Costs Associated With Archiving/Storage (#6) information on the mileage, pavement conditions, traffic Archiving and storage of data is also an issue that each state volumes, vehicle classiﬁcation, and weight data as some of its DOT must address since much of an agency’s historical data primary components. The states maintain various databases is used as a source for trends analysis (i.e., comparing travel for HPMS reporting. These databases include the higher volume trends) and for evaluating future investments in agency functionally classiﬁed roads, such as interstates, state roads, programs that support business needs. and principal arterial roads. However, states do not always Many agencies rely on external data archive services and have up-to-date local road data since much of it is provided some use their own internal archive systems for storing data. by local government sources. The ability to integrate this type The costs vary depending upon the archive method used and of data from external sources is cumbersome because local access to the data also must be maintained so that it is available entities do not have the same data collection requirements or when needed. cycles as the state transportation agencies. Much of the local road data is not typically in a format that allows for easy trans- fer or integration with state datasets, and to facilitate the use Solution: Determine Whether to Maintain Archive Internally or Externally (#7) of this data requires the development of additional conver- sion programs. Such decisions are best made on the basis of a thorough A similar data integration challenge exists with the use of beneﬁt-cost evaluation of the hardware and software require- real-time trafﬁc data collected from Intelligent Transportation ments for data archiving and storage using an internal or System (ITS) programs. One of the primary challenges asso- external archive. The amount of data and other archive require- ciated with the use of real-time data is to determine how ments should be scaled to the needs of the organization and much data to archive for future use. Unless the real-time data will affect the evaluation. is archived, it is unavailable for further analysis. If it is archived, Other options for data storage also may be explored, such it usually needs to be processed further to combine data col- as the use of cloud and/or Web-based services, especially if lected at 15-minute intervals into a value representing 1-hour implementation of these options does not require the pro- intervals. The format of the data also has to be converted to a curement of additional hardware or software. format that can be integrated with a state’s trafﬁc database. Decisions also have to be made regarding how long to keep Processing the archived data and opinions on this may vary from ofﬁce to ofﬁce within a state DOT based on the business uses of Issue: Conversion of Legacy System Data (#11) real-time data. Another issue that impacts resources at state agencies is the need to convert legacy data from existing systems for use in Solution new applications. This can be illustrated in the development Designing databases with ﬂexibility to allow for easy inte- of enterprise databases at a state transportation agency. gration of external datasets can help to ensure that data from Much of the data that is needed for incorporation into the local governments and other external sources can be effectively enterprise database may reside within legacy systems typically integrated when it becomes available. Entering into data used for trafﬁc, pavement, and bridge management. sharing agreements that establish speciﬁc data deﬁnitions Resources from IT ofﬁces and business units must be applied and requirements also encourages the exchange and use of to develop software that is used to extract data from existing such data. systems and convert the data for use in the new applications. Integrating real-time data requires coordination between the state DOT IT ofﬁce, the internal users of the real-time data, Solution and the transportation management centers that collect the Business units and the IT office must work together to data. Data sharing agreements, which include detailed system establish clear data deﬁnitions and ﬁle formats for the new data requirements for data collection, storage, QA/QC, and process- systems. This can be accomplished through the use of internal ing, are needed to ensure that the data is available to supplement
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2-2-17 work groups that deﬁne the needs and uses for data systems data. Manual review and analysis, to some degree, is a useful from the perspectives of the business units and IT office. method depending upon the amount of data to be analyzed To ensure that the conversions work properly, the neces- and the resources available to perform the analysis. However, sary conversion programs can be developed by programmers any QA/QC of data that relies primarily on manual methods in the IT ofﬁce and system testing can be conducted by the has the potential for introduction of human error. The eval- business units. uation process also can take longer to complete when multiple staff and/or ofﬁces are involved in the analysis processes. This may delay reporting of data and information, especially data Issue: Need Staff to Support and Participate that is used to support PBRA, to decisionmakers at all levels in Replacing Manual Processes with of the organization. Automated Processes (#10) An example of this issue is demonstrated by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) case study. In the Some issues that impact data sharing and integration are Trafﬁc Analysis Unit (TAU) there are a number of manuals, not symptomatic of the use of a particular technology tool or paper tracking, and electronic software systems used to ana- procedure, but are instead embedded in the culture of the lyze and manage daily, monthly, and annual year-end trafﬁc organization. It may be difﬁcult at times to convince employees statistics, as well as to store continuous and short-duration to replace manual processes that they have been using for many count raw trafﬁc data. Trafﬁc data at CDOT is currently dis- years and are costly in terms of full-time equivalent (FTE) hours. persed over a number of different databases and systems. This is true even if the new business processes that rely on new Although CDOT is still able to meet its traffic reporting technology increase productivity and shorten processing cycles. requirements, there is the potential for improvement in the use of automated tools to support trafﬁc analysis, including Solution the use of GIS tools. Identify stakeholders to participate in work groups for various data systems. These may be business data owners and Solution data stewards for particular systems such as road inventory, Several automated tools can be used to enhance analysis traffic, pavement, bridge, and asset management systems. and processing of data, including data used for performance Providing training opportunities to staff in the use of new measurement. Analytical tools include GIS mapping tools, technology and tools also encourages their support of letting which can be used to identify anomalies in data. Excel spread- go of “doing things the way they’ve always been done.” The sheets also can be used to produce tabular reports to identify work groups are used to identify potential solutions and best erroneous data that may be outside a given tolerance range. approaches for implementing improved business processes. CDOT is continuing to improve access to its trafﬁc data for These work groups can be implemented through the use of a internal and external stakeholders through the development data business plan, as was done at the Minnesota Department of a GIS with a front-end portal that allows users to access and of Transportation (Mn/DOT). Mn/DOT used work groups use trafﬁc data to meet their own business needs. to identify the gaps and needs regarding their data systems. The work groups were part of a data assessment process to determine the health of existing data systems. Reporting/Dissemination The states that have begun the implementation of data busi- Issue: Need Automated Tools to Deliver/ ness plans, or are currently using them, are already experienc- Disseminate Data Information in Timely ing the beneﬁts derived by gaining support and input from and User-Friendly Manner (#18 & #20) stakeholders who contribute information about business needs for particular data systems. At Mn/DOT, the data business plan In some cases, it may be a challenge to identify the best development resulted in recommendations for improved busi- IT tools to distribute reports and disseminate data and infor- ness processes and development of data systems that support mation. The decision to select one type of technology over traveler safety, infrastructure preservation, and mobility. another depends a great deal on the audience using the data and information. If the audience is more technically inclined, Analysis tabular reports, charts, or raw data ﬁles may be appropriate. However, in other cases, it may be more useful to provide Issue: Need Automated Analysis Tools information on an interactive GIS map where users can select and Procedures (#13) a speciﬁc location on the map to generate reports regarding Many agencies still rely on a combination of manual review trafﬁc counts or locations of construction projects within a processes and some automated tools to evaluate and analyze speciﬁc travel corridor.
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2-2-18 Solution Data and information are needed to comply with legisla- tive mandates and are used to support statewide transporta- Clearly identify the target audience for the use of data tion improvement programs and manage agency assets. An and information. Is it executives who are making decisions abundance of transportation data also is used for research about PBRA? If so, dashboards and scorecards may be the to identify best practices in managing all modes of trans- more appropriate choice for disseminating information portation, including highway, rail, transit, air, and marine than providing raw data files. However, if the audience transportation. includes software developers, then raw data files may be Limited resources are available to meet the needs of all of exactly what is needed to perform system testing for new these groups, and therefore, agencies must increasingly rely on applications. improved business processes and automated tools to address The IT tool selected should be user-friendly for the intended the competing needs of all of the stakeholder groups. audience. A variety of automated tools and services are available Solution to facilitate the dissemination of data and information. Some of the more commonly used options identified by the The solution to address this need involves a combination of case study participants are listed below and are included in the use of business intelligence tools including data business Table 2.2.1. plans, KM systems, risk management programs, and the right combination of IT tools. • FTP servers can be used for transmission of large, raw data The implementation of each of these solutions has a medium ﬁles; level of impact to the organization. These solutions require a • Wireless networks can be used for collection and relay of certain amount of dedicated resources to develop and imple- data, as was illustrated by the use of wireless technology ment compared to other issues identiﬁed through the case to support freight management in the Kansas City metro- studies. politan area; Data business plans can be used effectively to clearly identify • Closed-circuit television cameras (CCTC) can be used to which data programs and data systems are used to support relay trafﬁc- and weather-related information to the public; the business functions of an organization. These plans also • Cloud computing services can be used for ﬁle transmission are used to identify data management policies and standards and sharing of large data ﬁles; and data governance structures that are used to manage the • Electronic dashboards and scorecards can be used to relay collection and dissemination of data and information. information about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Data governance also can be used to identify the data executives and decisionmakers in an organization; stewards, data business owners, and COIs for particular data • XML ﬁle formats can be used to facilitate sharing of data programs. The COIs are comprised of the multiple offices and is the preferred format for ﬁle transmission at several and agencies who share a common interest in the use of agencies, including the 511 Program at MTC and Hennepin the data. County Public Works Administration in Minnesota; and Data business plans and data governance can both be • Automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems can be used to effective methods in addressing the needs of all stakeholders collect and transmit information about GPS locations as illustrated by the case studies from ADOT&PF and VDOT’s of vehicles, which is particularly useful in monitoring Systems Operations Directorate. Each of these agencies are arrival/departure times for transit operations and is used deﬁning COIs that can be used to identify data and informa- effectively to manage snowplow operations in Hennepin tion needs from the stakeholder’s perspective. County. KM systems are another option for documenting and archiv- ing information about stakeholder needs associated with speciﬁc Sharing data systems. KM systems can also contain contact information about the business data owners, data stewards, and COIs who Issue: Need to Balance Data Needs work with a particular kind of data, such as trafﬁc, crash, pave- of All Stakeholders (#21) ment, bridge, environmental, rail, and transit data. Transportation agencies routinely face the challenges of VDOT has implemented an Ofﬁce of Knowledge Manage- balancing needs of all internal and external stakeholders. ment that stays very involved in coordinating outreach to the The stakeholders are the users of data and information for COIs for two speciﬁc areas: (1) work planning and tracking, various data systems. These groups include federal, state, and (2) ITS assets. VDOT is able to use the COIs to deﬁne the and local governments, as well as the general public and the needs of the stakeholders and evaluate the processes and tech- private sector. nology that can be used to address their needs.
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2-2-19 Issue: Need to Integrate Publicly Produced, can be documented in a business terminology data diction- Privately Purchased Data Products (#27) ary maintained by data business owners and accessible for use by IT developers, describing also how data are deﬁned and Certain business offices within an organization may be used by speciﬁc divisions or ofﬁces. Such a dictionary will help reluctant to use free sources of data or to purchase data from developers ensure that applications meet the business needs external data sources, due to costs or lack of quality control of data users. over the data delivered. External data products also may require At Michigan DOT, streamlined data deﬁnitions are used additional internal agency processing before the data is ready across multiple application systems instead of creating new for integration into internal database systems. data deﬁnitions for similar uses. For example, a particular type of trafﬁc data collection device would not need to be a new data ﬁeld in a system but could be included as one of the valid Solution values for a data ﬁeld known as “trafﬁc data collection device.” When external sources of data are used to supplement data collection activities for a state transportation agency, the Issue: Data Needed to Support ROI Analysis (#32) collection requirements should be very detailed and include data deﬁnitions, ﬁle formats, and any QA/QC procedures that Data is needed in state transportation agencies for ROI must be applied to the data. analysis and investments in particular projects and programs Well-deﬁned internal QA/QC procedures will serve as a that support business operations. secondary validation to ensure that the data provided is in With current anticipated budget shortfalls from federal and accordance with the requirements of the organization. state sources, it is imperative that data is available to support An abundance of free public data is available for use by ROI analysis and decision-making regarding investments in state transportation agencies—including trafﬁc and weather transportation programs, including PBRA. data—from federal, state, and local sources. Consideration Historical and current data are needed for this comparative should be given to the use of free data sources to improve the analysis. A data archive can be used to store the historical data completeness and richness of state transportation databases. required. ROI analysis also requires access to ﬁnancial data to Data sharing agreements can be used to document the proce- complete the cost analysis component for various investments, dures for the exchange of free data between public agencies. including the procurement of hardware/software to support business operations. Institutional Data is also needed to document the tangible and intangible benefits regarding investments in particular projects and Issue: Need to Develop Shared Datasets Based on programs. Justiﬁcation for development and maintenance of Use of Business Terminology Deﬁnitions (#31 & #37) such programs as highway safety improvement programs, statewide transportation improvement programs, and trafﬁc There is a need in state transportation agencies to develop monitoring programs, usually require documenting the tan- and maintain data that is shareable across many business units. gible and intangible beneﬁts of each program, compared with This usually requires coordination between the IT ofﬁce or the costs of developing and maintaining those programs. division and the other divisions and ofﬁces within the agency. Tangible beneﬁts include costs savings through the use of Traditionally, the roles of the IT staff were to develop data automated data collection devices and development of enter- systems on behalf of the business units and to implement and prise databases that provide data and information in a timely, train the business areas in the use of these systems. Business efﬁcient manner. units are now more involved in the development of applications Intangible beneﬁts include the ability of the agency to meet to meet their business needs. federal and/or state legislative requirements within deadlines, They have staff that is very knowledgeable in the use of IT or to maintain the confidence level of the public regarding tools and motivated to use this knowledge to support their busi- access to, and use of, state transportation systems including ness operations. In some cases, the business units may develop highway, rail, and transit systems. their own applications to meet their business needs. A more comprehensive understanding of how data systems are used in the business areas of the organization is needed by IT ofﬁces. Solution A data catalog can be developed to identify data systems Solution used in the organization by various business units. The catalog An understanding of the business terms used to describe can include data ﬁelds and data deﬁnitions by data system. data is important to specifying datasets. These business terms Access to the data catalog through a KM system, or internal
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2-2-20 intranet site can help to quickly identify where to ﬁnd data information to other agencies that is considered to be private that is useful for ROI analysis. or conﬁdential. Technology environments vary widely from agency to agency, which can inhibit the exchange of data and information. Although many of these issues are beyond the Issue: State Statute or Agency Policies May Dictate control of individual agencies, there are solutions that can be Contracting Methods that Prohibit Procurement used to address them. and Use of Certain Hardware/Software (#35) State level legislative requirements that prohibit the use of Solution certain hardware or software clearly will limit the ability of state transportation agencies to procure a product that may Develop data sharing agreements between agencies that best suit their business needs. Such limiting policies typically exchange data and information, to ensure that data is provided are intended to ensure that data and information are reliably within the ﬁnancial, legal, and technical requirements of each secured and maintained to be available when needed to sup- agency. port business decisions. The data sharing agreements should include, at a minimum, the following items: Solution • Costs of data collection and processing, if there is a cost A sound business case may justify a request for exceptions incurred, for delivery of data from one agency or organiza- to restrictive legislation or policies. The business case will tion to another; document the benefits, costs, and risks associated with the • Legal requirements regarding the use of the data; and hardware and software sought. Demonstrating that other • Speciﬁc technical requirements regarding the integration agencies or state programs will not be exposed to signiﬁcant of the source data into other data environments (i.e., does risk, including descriptions of security protocols to be adopted, the data have to be converted into a different format, or and presenting examples of successful applications in other does the data require special software to process it within a states or federal agencies can be very effective arguments for GIS environment?). why the exception should be made. For state transportation agencies that provide data and information in compliance with federal and/or other state 2.3 Low Impact legislative requirements, data sharing agreements are not necessary; however, data ﬁle format requirements and delivery A low-impact value indicates that this IT issue was not methods must be deﬁned clearly. identiﬁed as a high priority by the majority of the agencies in This includes whether data is to be uploaded to a speciﬁc the case studies. These issues usually have limited impact on Web portal, such as the User Proﬁle and Access Control System agency resources or require little or no cost to implement. (UPACS), which is used for submitting HPMS data to FHWA, In some cases, the low-impact issues are beyond the control and any data ﬁle format speciﬁcations. of the agency, and therefore cannot be addressed by invest- ments in particular programs or data systems at an agency. The low-level impact issues include the categories of insti- Access tutional, access, sharing, reporting/dissemination, collection, Issue: Need to Assign Authorized Access and processing. These issues are discussed in the following to Data Application Systems (#28) paragraphs. There is a need to identify clearly who within the business Institutional units and IT ofﬁces at state transportation agencies are author- ized to query, update, process, and use data from particular Issue: Different Financial, Legal, Technical applications. Environments Exist Across Multiple Agencies (#33) This is usually easily identiﬁable, based on a person’s job There are differences that exist in the ﬁnancial, legal, and function in the organization. Human resource officers, for technical environments across agencies and organizations instance, would have access to certain employee or ﬁnancial that share and exchange data. These differences may limit the information that should not be shared with everyone in the ability of some agencies to procure certain hardware and soft- agency. ware based on policies or legislation, or due to ﬁscal constraints. This issue has a low level of impact because it typically does Also, organizations may prohibit the release of data and not require procurement of additional hardware or software
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2-2-21 to make these types of business decisions. Managers are usually and local partners, as well as the private sector and the responsible for submitting forms authorizing their employees public. to have access to particular data systems. There is a need to clearly identify the methods to be used for distributing reports, as well as the timeframes to be used for disseminating information and data to internal and external Solution stakeholders. Assigning authorized access to data systems that support business operations is usually the function of business line Solution managers and supervisors. Those persons responsible for A data management plan is an effective method for docu- establishing the user logins and passwords normally reside in menting policies, standards, and procedures used for the the IT ofﬁce or division of the agency. release of reports, data, and information to any internal and The IT office also has a responsibility to report any un- external users, including specifying if reports are to be distrib- authorized access to, or use of, data to the business owner of uted on a weekly, monthly, or annual cycle. Additional infor- the data, or to others as outlined according to department mation on developing data management plans can be found policy, for resolution of the issue. in Volume 2, Chapter 2 of NCHRP Report 666. Sharing Collection Issue: Some Reluctance May Exist for Sharing Data Issue: Need to Collect Data Across Jurisdictional if the Purpose of its Use is Unknown (#24) Boundaries (#5) The possibility always exists with the sharing and exchange Since state transportation agencies often are required to of data that it may be used for purposes for which it was not submit data that has been aggregated at a statewide level, they intended. This is typically not a major issue in sharing and may need to integrate data that crosses jurisdictional bound- exchange of data between state and local transportation aries, such as counties or regions within the state. agencies. Border states often participate in national or regional pro- If a state DOT exchanges and shares traffic data with and grams that require the exchange of data across state or national between local governments and metropolitan planning boundaries. One example of this case is the exchange of GIS organizations (MPOs) for instance, what the data is used for and roadway network data between the states on the southern is usually clearly identified by each agency. In this case, the U.S. border and Mexico. The GIS data is used for many pur- data is most likely used to support statewide transportation poses including planning, design, and construction of roads planning and urban and regional transportation planning and bridges near and at border crossings. programs. Solution Solution Integrated database systems, such as GIS, can be used Data sharing agreements can be used to document any data to store, process, and display data across jurisdictional that is made available by one agency for use by other agencies or boundaries. GIS data models can be developed to allow for organizations. Metadata also should be provided with datasets, multiple data layers to be integrated within the GIS. Although to describe the intent for the use of the data. It is incumbent each data layer can be linked to a speciﬁc jurisdiction (region, upon the receiving agency to use the data as intended and to county, city), GIS allow the user to integrate data for use on clearly identify when it may, or may not, be using the data a statewide level. according to its original intent. Processing Reporting/Dissemination Issue: Resources Needed to Process Large Volumes of Data Collected Through Outsourcing (#8) Issue: Need to Establish Reporting Distribution and Data Dissemination Cycles (#17 & #19) and According to Speciﬁc Update Cycles (#12) Inconsistency in reporting of data and information, on As transportation agencies rely more on external sources varying cycles, by a state transportation agency can impact of data, to enhance the completeness and richness of their its credibility with all stakeholders including federal, state, own datasets they will need to have enough resources to
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2-2-22 preserve the data for future processing at a time when additional process the data internally in order to provide information resources are more readily available. when needed. Summary—IT Issues Solution The incorporation of automated tools for QA/QC of exter- Each of the IT issues that impact data sharing and integra- nal datasets can reduce the amount of time and, in some cases, tion have been discussed in this section. The issues were ex- the number of resources needed, to manually review and amined in terms of their impact to the organization, based on process data. By saving processing time in one area, resources a high-, medium-, or low-level of impact. can be reallocated to other areas to handle large volumes of data. Some of the issues discussed actually provided positive Even with the use of automated QA/QC tools, there still impacts and presented solutions to address other IT issues. may be minimal resources available to handle the volume of Examples were presented to illustrate how these issues impact data received. In this case, data archiving may be an option to the organizations interviewed.