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17 CHAPTER 4 Business Plan Summary Overview Transportation lags behind health (and other fields) in pro- viding a well-supported information infrastructure to ensure The business plan for implementing Transportation Know- that any level of research investment is providing maximum ledge Networks (TKNs) includes an executive summary and value, and in ensuring that beneficial innovations occurring three substantive sections: within individual organizations (outside of research and development efforts) are expeditiously documented and dis- The Context for TKNs--describes why TKNs are needed. seminated to others. An improved information infrastructure The TKN Concept--presents history of the TKN concept; addresses the ubiquitous problem of information overload, defines the purpose and functions of TKNs, proposes a providing a means to speed discovery of accurate and relevant framework for measuring success of future investments in information. It also provides an ongoing mechanism to cap- TKNs; defines the market, products, and services to be pro- ture essential information not currently available within library vided; and describes the stewardship model to be utilized catalogs or via Internet searches. The current wave of baby for delivering these products and services. boomer retirements and an increasingly fluid workforce make Costs and Funding--provides a breakdown of annual improvements to knowledge capture and dissemination espe- funding needs by function. cially urgent. Each major section is summarized below. The full business Transportation Knowledge plan is attached in Appendix A to this report. Network Concept Purpose Context for Transportation Knowledge Networks The business plan describes the purpose of TKNs and the potential payoff from investments in transportation informa- The business case for TKNs is grounded in the need for tion sharing. TKNs are intended to improve peer-to-peer innovation and rapid development of solutions to critical information sharing about successful practices; provide more changes in transportation, including inadequate funding, efficient access to information resources including data sets, increasing inflation, congestion, deteriorating infrastructure, documents, and multi-media objects; and enable more effi- unacceptable highway fatality rates, and heightened risks of cient and effective conduct of research. They will help improve natural disasters and terrorist attacks that necessitate stronger efficiency by making it easier for both researchers and practi- emergency response and evacuation systems. Moreover, these tioners to build upon and re-use existing work. Studies from issues must be addressed in an increasingly constrained and IDC and Outsell are cited that document monetary savings dynamic environment of economic crisis, climate change, and from information services. The IDC and Outsell findings attrib- concerns about dependence on fossil fuels. Ability to meet ute these savings to (1) reducing the amount of time needed to these challenges depends on expeditious discovery and imple- locate information and (2) using information discovered to mentation of new technologies, programs, and methods. Rapid avoid or reduce costs that would otherwise have been incurred dissemination of research findings, technology developments, without the information. lessons learned, and actionable information is needed to ensure Examples of how information services produced clear pay- the necessary pace of innovation and change. offs are also provided from the 1998 FHWA report on the

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18 value of information services, TR News, and the Library ture is built and success is demonstrated. The initial market Connectivity Pooled Fund Study. segment should be one where clear and significant benefits of investment can be demonstrated, where resources can be secured, and where there is already some level of awareness of Performance Framework and support for the TKN concept. Based on these criteria, pos- The performance framework in the business plan consists sible target organizations are FHWA, state DOTs, UTCs, of a mission statement, goals, and performance measures for MPOs, LTAP/TTAP Centers; and professional associations TKNs. The mission statement is: that represent or serve members of these organizations. Tar- get customers or end users for TKNs are senior technical and Support and sustain a network of transportation information management staff within DOTs and directors of UTCs, providers . . . to collaborate and leverage collective resources . . . MPOs, and LTAP/TTAP Centers. so that they can provide transportation professionals with timely and convenient access to relevant information . . . that enables faster progress toward meeting critical transportation challenges. Products and Services Goals are: The business plan identifies ten key functions for TKNs that enable the national network of transportation information Achievement of a noticeable improvement in information providers to achieve the mission and realize the vision of the access as perceived by transportation professionals; strategic transportation information infrastructure. These Greater collaboration across transportation information include print and digital transportation information reposito- producers and providers that leads to improved resource ries, a national portal including specific information modules sharing; and a federated search capability, development and mainte- Preservation of valuable transportation resources that are at nance of standards to facilitate information sharing and discov- risk due to retirements, employee turnover, agency moves, ery, outreach and coordination to transportation information and other factors; and providers, and end user outreach and education. See Chapter 3 Capacity building within the transportation information of this report for a description of the TKN products and serv- provider community. ices that were included in the business plan. Recommended performance measures cover four categories: Stewardship Model End user market penetration and benefits--user awareness The stewardship model for TKNs includes three elements: a of TKN services, user-reported benefits from TKN services, national coordination function, regional TKNs, and an advi- changes in access time, and cost for a standard "basket" of sory board. In developing the stewardship model, the research information goods. team took the recommendations of TRB Special Report 284 as Information provider involvement and benefits--TKN "givens"--that is, we began with this three-tiered structure. membership levels and reported benefits from members. Shared information resources--percentage of unique trans- National Coordination Function. The research team portation library holdings that can be discovered via avail- examined several options for where the TKN-NCB (TKN able search tools; percentage of active and completed National Coordinating Body) might be housed. Among those research projects that can be discovered; adoption of stan- options, the NTL already has established relationships with the dards and practices for interoperability of transportation transportation library community and is playing a key lead- information. ership role in assisting with regional TKN formation and Product and service accomplishment vs. targets-- implementation of the digital repository. Similar national achievement of specific targeted products and services. coordination functions for the fields of agriculture and med- icine are being served by the NAL and the National Library of Medicine. If the NTL were to become the TKN-NCB, then it Market could also serve as the federal TKN, working to improve The business plan identifies the potential market for TKNs coordination and information sharing within U.S.DOT and to include a broad set of public and private sector organiza- with other federal agencies. In order for the NTL to be suc- tions involved in funding, planning, and providing trans- cessful in this coordination role, the business plan concludes portation in all modes and in R&D that supports improved that the TKN-NCB would require a stable source of dedicated transportation practice. It suggests that the TKN initiative funding for the TKN coordination functions. Specific staff begin with a focus within a limited market and subsequently functions are defined (which could be provided by in-house expand to include additional markets once initial infrastruc- or contractor resources), including management and coordi-