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6 supported mechanism for data exchange across platforms ficient to achieve the desired result of better data exchange and applications. XML data structures, known as schemas, within and across transportation business areas. An institu- provide a mechanism to develop and adopt common for- tional framework or "roadmap" is also necessary to encour- mats for universal data exchange, thereby, allowing sepa- age the continued development and adoption of TransXML. rate information systems to communicate. XML provides The institutional structure and processes for TransXML are a formal, self-documenting structure to share data, inde- essential for achieving TransXML's long-term goal of easy pendent of the software that produced it. It also provides transportation data exchange. a mechanism for long-term archiving of data that might otherwise be difficult to access when host applications are retired. XML schemas have been developed in many 1.3 Research Approach industries, including publishing, insurance, education, and This research was undertaken in two major phases. In electronics. Phase I, the project team documented relevant existing XML is not a silver bullet to the problem of standards XML efforts; identified opportunities in surface transporta- development, but it is a maturing technology that promises tion where use of XML could yield significant benefits; iden- to improve the flow of information. With XML-based inter- tified specific gaps and opportunities in the four identified faces between software applications, and between people and key business areas; and mapped out a plan for development those applications, the flow of information can become more of schemas to fill the highest priority gaps. Phase I also efficient and effective. This can lead to improvements in the established a website for information dissemination and for facility life-cycle processes, and, ultimately, to improvements collaborative schema development among TransXML stake- in the facilities themselves. holders, and identified potential lead organizations for There currently are several open consortia of private and stewardship of TransXML. public sector organizations working to create transportation In Phase II, the project team designed and developed a XML schemas. However, until this project there has been no set of XML schemas and associated sample applications. formal framework within the transportation community to Phase II also developed recommendations for institutional sponsor, develop, and maintain XML schemas; promote structures, processes, and funding mechanisms for contin- schema consistency and acceptance; solicit broader input; ued schema development and for sustaining the TransXML and build consensus. For many transportation applications, effort. XML schemas do not yet exist. The research work program had the following tasks: 1.2 Research Objectives Task 1. Develop a Project Website--Establish initial website for the TransXML project to post goals, plans, The objectives of NCHRP Project 20-64 were to develop status, work in progress, final deliverables, names of par- broadly accepted public domain XML schemas for exchange of ticipants and partners, outcomes, and other pertinent transportation data and to develop a framework for develop- information. ment, validation, dissemination, and extension of current and Task 2. Identify Surface Transportation Business Areas future schemas. The ultimate goal of this effort is TransXML-- for TransXML--Provide a high-level view of surface a family of XML schemas for transportation applications, transportation data exchange requirements by identifying and a recommended institutional structure and process for which are presently being addressed using XML schema, implementing and sustaining its use. This project focused and which would benefit from development of new XML on four business areas within transportation (1) Roadway schemas. Survey/Design, (2) Transportation Construction/Materials, Task 3. Review Existing XML Schemas--Document the (3) Highway Bridge Structures, and (4) Transportation Safety. status of existing XML efforts in transportation, and iden- However, it is envisioned that TransXML will ultimately tify specific public domain schemas that can be incorpo- encompass a broader set of schemas for other transporta- rated into TransXML. tion business areas. Task 4. Identify Potential Organizations for TransXML The research objectives recognized the importance of estab- Stewardship--Identify candidate organizations and agen- lishing an umbrella framework for future transportation cies that could take on long-term responsibility for XML schema development, in order to avoid overlapping TransXML, and document the relative advantages and dis- and inconsistent efforts. They also recognized that trans- advantages of each. portation data standards are only effective if they are widely Task 5. Business Area Gap Assessment--Assess the four adopted. The technical development of TransXML is not suf- business areas identified for initial investigation (see Table 1)