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29 APPENDIX A Transportation Knowledge Networks: A Business Plan
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31 CONTENTS 32 Executive Summary 32 The Vision 32 The Opportunity 33 The Strategy 33 The Target Market and Projected Benefits 34 The Costs and Funding Model 34 The Value Proposition 35 The Context 35 Unprecedented Challenges in Transportation 35 Need for Innovation 35 Suboptimal State of Information Access 37 Transportation Knowledge Networks Concept 37 Background 37 Approach 39 Purpose 40 Mission, Goals, and Objectives 41 Market 42 Products and Services 46 Stewardship Model 49 Costs and Funding
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32 Executive Summary The Vision structure to fuel the significant level of future innovation and agility that will be needed to keep our transportation systems Imagine a future where . . . functioning safely, efficiently, and effectively. Lessons learned from any transportation organization are Over the past five years, there has been growing interest readily available to others facing similar challenges. across the transportation community to provide a stronger, No transportation organization pays to reinvent the wheel-- more coordinated approach to information access and avail- it is easy to find out what has been done before. ability for transportation professionals. Studies have been con- It takes minutes, not hours or days to find current, relevant, ducted. Models from other fields have been researched. A blue and accurate information about any transportation- ribbon panel has developed and endorsed the approach. Grass related topic. roots efforts to make it happen are well under way. Now it is time to put sufficient resources behind it, move forward, and A wealth of convenient information is at your fingertips--a realize the benefits. consolidated calendar of transportation-related confer- ences, a directory of software products currently in use at transportation agencies, up-to-date contact information The Opportunity for your counterparts in peer agencies. Current technology allows us to find and download infor- A secure national archive is in place to hold important docu- mation resources held by organizations around the world. ments and data sets for transportation professionals of Libraries are linking their collections into global catalogs. today . . . and tomorrow. Universities are implementing digital repositories to provide This vision can become a reality if a critical mass of trans- timely access and long-term preservation for research data and portation leaders from the public and private sectors see its scholarly works. Numerous organizations have blogs, wikis, value and work together to make it happen. This business plan and content management systems that allow users to easily describes the opportunity, the strategy, and the value propo- post or publish their own content. Desktop search tools serve sition for moving transportation information access into the up content in a quick and easy way. 21st century. It shows how following established models from This technology comes with the blessing of an unprece- the medical and agricultural fields can provide a method for dented level of information access from our desktops--and the information sharing among transportation professionals that curse of information overload. Based on a national survey con- combines the best features of centralized and decentralized ducted for this business plan, transportation professionals are approaches. It also dispels the myth that good information experiencing information overload in spades and crave a "one- access will happen on its own, without any deliberate and coor- stop shopping" source of information. Most don't want to dinated action on the part of the transportation community. become experts in how to navigate the myriad Web sites and This business plan was motivated by a sense of urgency. data sources that are available. Many are concerned about try- There are overwhelming challenges to be addressed in trans- ing to find a "needle in a haystack" using an Internet search for portation over the coming decade. Access to high-quality, rel- specialized information, and about the quality and complete- evant information on demand is critical to our ability to ness of the information they may find. Person-to-person com- address these challenges. Our increasingly "born digital" munication is still the primary means of getting an answer to a workforce is expecting a well-functioning information infra- question. This technique will always be used, but it clearly has
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33 limitations given the amount of information that is out there-- mation resources and collaborate on information access even for a very specialized topic area. improvements. The transportation community has the opportunity to work · Establish a TKN National Coordinating Body (NCB)-- collectively to harness the power of current technology to dra- responsible for developing national infrastructure for matically improve our ability to find the information we need, transportation information sharing, and for leading and when we need it. A collaborative effort makes sense given our supporting TKN activities. As outlined in TRB Special common information needs and the enormous value that can Report 284, the TKN-NCB could serve as a national TKN, be derived from convenient access to consistently organized working with federal agencies such as the Bureau of Trans- information from experts and peers. portation Statistics (BTS), U.S.DOT modal administrations, Given current changes in the transportation workforce, as well as other federal agencies such as the Environmental including the loss of many career professionals due to retire- Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. This ments, transportation organizations are seeking ways to better TKN-NCB would require stable, dedicated funding to preserve and provide access to their institutional knowledge successfully carry out these responsibilities. and to help get new employees up to speed as quickly as possi- · Establish an Advisory Board with senior transportation ble. In addition, many organizations increasingly rely on con- community representation to provide strategic direction tracted services or partnerships for maintenance, operation, and ensure accountability. and management--and need to develop new mechanisms for sharing information with their partners. Once these institutional structures are established and fund- Each transportation organization is now working on an ing is secured, specific information products and services can individual basis to manage its own information resources-- be developed and rolled out. The TKNs will identify needs and including plans, policies, procedures, performance data, con- opportunities for information sharing among their member sultant studies, photographs, maps, traffic counts, crash data, agencies. The advisory board will provide direction for alloca- and facility inspection reports. Even though the information tion of resources among competing needs. The TKN-NCB will content is similar across organizations, there are, for the most provide technical leadership and manage product and service part, no common ways of tagging, organizing, or structuring development. The TKN members will implement information this information. A strategically focused, collective effort to sharing initiatives, making use of the products and services facilitate information sharing across organizations could offer developed. tremendous support and added value to these internal efforts. This strategy was designed to provide a robust and sustain- It could provide tools, standards, and processes for organizing, able infrastructure for information sharing in transportation. archiving, and accessing information resources, without the TKNs ensure responsiveness to user needs through substantive need for duplicative investments on the part of individual and broad participation throughout the transportation com- organizations. It could open up new avenues for agencies to munity. The TKN-NCB's national TKN coordination function learn from their peers without waiting months or years for a provides a focal point for action, minimizes duplication of case study or synthesis report to be published. In transportation, effort, and maximizes synergies and collaboration among par- we have only scratched the surface of what can be achieved in ticipants. The advisory board provides independent oversight the information-sharing arena, and we don't realize what we are for the effort to ensure that progress is being made and missing. Transportation is well behind other fields that have resources are being well spent. invested in a common information infrastructure to meet their specialized needs. The Target Market and Projected Benefits The Strategy TKNs are envisioned to extend to the entire transportation A strategy has been developed to make meaningful, measur- community but the first target groups are state DOTs, FHWA, able progress over the next five years. The first, critical step is University Transportation Centers (UTCs), Metropolitan Plan- to set up sustainable institutional structures for information ning Organizations (MPOs), LTAP/TTAP Centers, and profes- sharing in transportation. This involves the following three sional associations that serve these markets. components: If this strategy is implemented, then transportation profes- sionals will see a noticeable improvement in their level of access · Establish Regional Transportation Knowledge Net- to relevant, current information when they need it. Trans- works (TKNs)--groups of transportation organizations portation organizations will be able to draw upon a rich knowl- (for example, state DOTs, MPOs, Transit Agencies, and edge base from their peer agencies and will be better equipped engineering firms) that work together to share their infor- to manage their own information resources. Agencies will be
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34 able to easily showcase their successful programs or practices, tract for services as needed to develop and/or provide informa- enabling others to quickly learn about these successes and tion products and services. Roughly 50 percent of the available apply lessons learned to their own initiatives. The end results funds would be made available to support activities of the will be improved performance, improved efficiencies, and TKNs and/or their members for outreach and delivery of spe- avoidance of unnecessary costs for studies that have already cific products and services that have a national benefit. been done, or for building software already available off-the- shelf. Current transportation libraries and information man- The Value Proposition agement units will benefit from networking, resource sharing, and capacity-building opportunities. Those organizations This business plan responds to the need for an improved, unable to provide these functions internally will be able to tap coordinated approach to information sharing among trans- into shared information services. portation professionals using 21st century technologies and organizational models for collaboration and partnerships. Investments in a national TKN will yield benefits that far The Costs and Funding Model exceed their costs and are an essential component of a much Required funding for the TKN initiative is $13.5 million broader nationwide strategy that will be needed to address the annually over a five-year period. This level of funding is significant challenges that transportation professionals will be roughly half of the National Library of Agriculture's budget, tackling in the years to come. TKNs will enable rapid delivery and less than 4 percent of the National Library of Medicine's.1 of reliable information to transportation professionals when The funding would flow to the TKN-NCB, which would con- they need it, enabling them to carry out the mission-critical goals of their organizations, and remain on the cutting edge of 1 Figures are for 2005 budgets, as reported in TRB Special Report 284. new research and technologies.
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35 The Context Unprecedented Challenges pace of change must be accelerated in order to prevent severe in Transportation consequences. The 2005 TRB summary of "Critical Issues in Transporta- Transportation organizations are currently faced with an tion" pointed out that while transportation and health care extraordinary set of challenges as they work to sustain and account for similar proportions of U.S. GDP, federal invest- improve the mobility that is essential to our economic well- ment in health care research is more than ten times greater being, way of life, and security. We are experiencing high lev- than its investment in transportation research. Additional, els of congestion across all modes of transportation, which are well-focused research investments are clearly needed. It is also expected to get much worse based on current population pro- clear that transportation is lagging behind health (and other jections and trends in international trade. We continue to have fields) in providing a well-supported "information infrastruc- unacceptably high fatality levels on our nation's highways-- ture" to ensure that any level of research investment is provid- over 42,000 people died on the road in 2006. We face a mam- ing maximum value, and that beneficial innovations occurring moth infrastructure crisis with increasing risks of structural within individual organizations (outside of R&D efforts) are failures, facility closures, and traveler delays as the gap between expeditiously documented and disseminated to others. preservation and replacement needs and available resources widens. There are serious and growing concerns about our vul- nerability to both natural disasters and terrorist attacks, and Suboptimal State our ability to rapidly marshal and deploy the resources needed of Information Access for large-scale emergency evacuations. The transportation sec- Problems with information access are by no means unique tor is a major consumer of petroleum-based fuel (accounting to transportation, though as mentioned above, other fields for over 66 percent of U.S. consumption) and a contributor to are much further ahead in addressing these problems. We are greenhouse gas emissions (accounting for over one-third of faced with an explosion of information from multiple, dis- energy-based CO2 emissions). Major shifts in technology and jointed sources, and we lack the time and tools to comb travel behavior will be required to address growing concerns through all of the sources, identify what is relevant to our cur- about dependence on fossil fuels, air pollution, and climate rent task, and track down what we need. Despite the existence change. Our ability to address these issues is severely con- of good Internet search tools, it takes too long to discover and strained by the nation's economic crisis, the shrinking resource access needed information, and the process is "hit or miss." pool for transportation, underinvestment in R&D, and chal- Some of us have librarians or other skilled information pro- lenged institutional capacity to adjust to new roles and ways of fessionals available to assist us; but many of us either don't doing business. have access to such professionals or don't have the time or inclination to use them. We waste time wading through pages of irrelevant or untrustworthy hits to find the few possibili- Need for Innovation ties worth investigating. Even when a search identifies rele- Our success in meeting these seemingly insurmountable vant resources, lack of free and immediate access to these challenges will depend on our collective ability to expediently resources presents a barrier to obtaining them. Much of the discover and implement new technologies, programs, and information we need is not available on the Internet for gen- methods. "Business as usual" will be a recipe for failure. The eral discovery; much is not captured and reliably preserved at
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36 all. An enormous amount of information is on the Internet, is drying up with retirements of our most senior people and but is part of the so-called "deep web" or "invisible web" that an increasingly fluid workforce. cannot be found by search engines. Many times we require The impact of this suboptimal state of affairs is that we pro- information about current practice at peer agencies, but are ceed without the information that could help us do a better stymied because it is hard to discover "who is doing what" and job, we do not take the straightest line between two points, we we find that most documents of value are behind agency are inefficient, and we repeat work that has already been done firewalls. Most of us rely on experienced experts within our because earlier work hasn't been preserved or is too difficult organizations for guidance. However, this important resource to find.
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37 Transportation Knowledge Networks Concept Background been very supportive of TKN formation. An FHWA Pooled Fund Study involving many of the member organizations par- In 2005, the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research ticipating in the three TKNs has been providing consultant (SCOR) asked TRB to develop a 21st century strategy for trans- resources in support of TKN formation and transportation portation information management. The TRB study committee, library connectivity. a distinguished group of transportation research and informa- With a strong and unified national commitment to coor- tion management leaders, envisioned a transition from "central- dinate and support existing and future TKNs, the vision ized and managed physical collections" to a decentralized described above can be realized. Without such commitment, approach in which information services are provided to users progress will be slow and is unlikely to reach the critical mass wherever they reside. This was to be achieved through a three- needed to make a real difference. pronged strategy involving (a) a decentralized set of informa- tion provider networks (TKNs) in each region of the country, (b) a well-funded and strategically focused national coordina- Approach tion function within U.S.DOT to provide leadership for infor- The strategy for managing transportation information in mation sharing, and (c) a governance body to provide strategic the 21st century has a strong technology component. However, direction and ensure accountability. One TKN, the Midwest technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Any organization Transportation Knowledge Network (MTKN), was established that has set up a document management system, a knowledge in 2001 and provided a model that guided the study commit- base, a discussion forum, or a wiki knows that "if you build it, tee's recommendations. they will come" is typically not a recipe for success. It is also The committee published its recommendations in TRB Spe- true, but perhaps not as well known, that our ability to easily cial Report 284: Transportation Knowledge Networks: a Manage- find what we need using common Internet search tools ment Strategy for the 21st Century. It recommended that a depends on work done behind the scenes to make information business plan be developed for moving forward with imple- resources available and findable, as well as the level of skill and mentation of TKNs. perseverance of the user. The bottom line is that most useful Since TRB Special Report 284 was published, two additional information-sharing initiatives rely on continuous effort TKNs--the Western TKN (WTKN) and the Eastern TKN to identify and encourage quality content contributions, to (ETKN)--have formed in anticipation of full implementation organize and tag this content so that it is easy to retrieve, and of the committee's recommendations. Collectively, the three to assist users in finding what they need. Underlying the TRB TKNs have members from over half of the 50 states. To date, study committee's recommendations--and a premise of this TKNs have primarily involved transportation libraries at state business plan--is that meaningful progress in the transporta- DOTs, MPOs, and transit agencies, but they are open to par- tion information-sharing arena will require a strong and coor- ticipation from other information providers--including data dinated network of information providers equipped to meet offices, GIS clearinghouses, research units, and engineering/ the varied needs of information consumers throughout the consulting organizations. Current TKNs rely on voluntary transportation sector. contributions of time and resources by member organizations. That is where the concept of a "Transportation Knowl- These voluntary initiatives are making incremental progress, edge Network" (TKN) comes in. Based on successful mod- but have very limited resources at their disposal. The NTL has els from the health and agriculture fields, TKNs are voluntary
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38 associations of transportation organizations that agree to work Over time, the coverage of regional TKNs could be broadened together to improve information access to their employees and in several ways. They could be extended to include other data providers, such as transit agencies, metropolitan planning orga- partners. This collaboration focuses on opening the informa- nizations, local governments, and consultants. In addition, net- tion resources within each organization for use by others, but it work information content coverage could be broadened to capture also includes resource sharing, joint purchasing of for-fee infor- statistical and geospatial data, as well as more traditional narrative mation resources, agreement on standards and technologies information sources (e.g., books, reports, journal articles). that facilitate information sharing, and information exchange on best practices. TKNs involve institutional arrangements for This business plan adopts this broader definition of knowl- resource sharing and coordination and leverage available tech- edge networks, assuming that they include traditional and nological solutions that provide end users with targeted, "on expanded library services as well as technology that enables demand" information access at their desktops. other individuals and organizational units to contribute and The TRB study committee envisioned that TKNs will be on access information directly. the front lines, well positioned to understand and meet the The use of the term "knowledge networks" rather than specific needs of different user communities. The committee "library networks" emphasizes the notion that libraries are recommended that TKNs be established in every region of the evolving from our image of places providing access to physi- United States, and at the federal level to link information cal collections to become broader access points for a wide providers to users wherever they may be. A geographic focus range of information resources--both physical and digital. for TKNs was recommended as the initial model. However, the Current information technologies for metadata harvesting committee also left open the possibility that TKNs could in the and federated searching enable integration of information future be focused on particular modal or topical areas. from the user perspective without the need for a centralized approach to information storage. Use of the term "knowledge networks" also underscores Are TKNs Synonymous with Transportation the importance of having a network of transportation organi- Library Networks? zations actively participating in the endeavor of making TKNs encompass library networks but are broader, involv- information more useable. As shown in Figure 1, raw "data" ing a wider set of information providers. Library networks have resources (e.g., articles, CAD drawings, photos, data sets) long been in existence--formed for purposes of sharing collec- require addition of metadata (e.g., tags, index terms, geo- tions through integrated library systems and inter-library loan graphic locations) to make them findable outside of the unit in programs, group purchasing for subscriptions, professional which they were created, and additional intelligence (e.g., syn- development for staff, and advocacy. The functions of a TKN thesis, interpretation, certification) to make them useful for a suggested in TRB Special Report 284 are consistent with these particular task at hand. This last step requires application of standard library network functions. specialized expertise within subject areas and a means of agree- While TRB Special Report 284 acknowledged the central ing on common terminology and semantics within a particu- role of libraries in knowledge networks, it indicated that other lar community of research/practice. information providers should be involved. For example, on Core expertise provided by libraries--discovering, identify- page 54, the report states: ing, classifying, organizing and preserving intellectual content, Useable Knowledge Intelligence Findable Information Metadata Created Raw Data Materials Figure 1. TKN role in sharing information and data.
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39 and working with users to clarify their needs and locate relevant research centers; public agencies; and private and nonprofit resources--is crucial in our information-based economy. Cur- organizations; rent library science professionals bring a rich set of skills to the · Existing library networks--dominated by the Online Com- table and are increasingly technology savvy. Special libraries puter Library Center (OCLC) that provides WorldCat--a bring an in-depth understanding of particular topic areas and global library catalog with one billion holdings; and an ability to work closely with other information providers · Existing professional organizations and associations that and with user communities to improve both the ability to find produce and disseminate transportation information. and use information. Well-supported transportation libraries with strong established partnerships throughout the trans- Investments are already being made to develop and main- portation community will be key drivers of successful TKNs. tain information repositories and Web sites on particular top- ics within the transportation domain. TKNs don't duplicate these existing efforts. Rather, they increase the value of existing Purpose information resources by bringing them to a broader audience, A strong information infrastructure for transportation is making them more findable, and connecting them to related essential for maximizing value from R&D investment and resources. making real progress in meeting the challenges noted above. As the next generation of "born digital" transportation pro- Initiatives in domains including medicine, law, agriculture, fessionals takes its place, with high expectations for easy access and the physical sciences have provided researchers and prac- to information from the desktop, a well-functioning informa- titioners in these fields with ready access to the information tion infrastructure will be viewed as an obvious and essential they need. Similar effort is needed in the transportation field. part of doing business--not a luxury. A strong information infrastructure supports: Value of Information Services · Peer-to-peer sharing of information, which is becoming According to a 2005 study by IDC, "it has become obvious increasingly important as organizations struggle to cope that tasks related to creating, organizing, finding, and analyz- with loss of institutional knowledge due to retirements and ing information have become significant time sinks." The increasing staff turnover rates; study found that employees engaged in information work (in · Discovery of benchmarking information, that enables agen- government, healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing) cies to compare their performance to peers and learn about spend about 18 hours a week--almost half time--searching successful practices; and gathering information for document preparation. The · Faster access to information resources, including geospa- same study also found that on average 6.5 hours per week are tial data sets, photographs, CAD drawings, plans, and envi- wasted on unsuccessful searches and recreating content that ronmental impact statements; already existed. This translates into a waste of $10,000 per year · Faster progress in meeting challenges by enabling practi- per employee. Today's modern libraries provide services that tioners to discover and use relevant information when they eliminate some of this wasted time. A 2007 survey of library are in a position to take action; and users by Outsell, Inc. found that government users reported · More efficient and effective conduct of research--by ensur- savings of 12.2 hours on average for each interaction with the ing that new studies build upon rather than duplicate prior library. work, providing easy access to relevant information, and The last comprehensive study on the value of information helping transportation professionals target their work to services within the transportation field was conducted in 1998 areas of greatest need and opportunity for impact. by the FHWA. This study documented numerous examples of high returns from library services--including a case from New TKNs can be viewed as the backbone of a transportation York State DOT in which an annual savings of $9 million information infrastructure. They can provide the connec- in life-cycle costs were attributed to a literature review that tions and the protocols for information produced at any revealed a new concrete mix for use on bridge decks. given node to flow to other nodes. TKNs piggyback on exist- A 2004 TR Update article on the value of transportation ing networks--both human and electronic. They build on the information relates the following example: following: In 1994 one of the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute's · Widespread access to high-speed Internet connections research associates came to the author with a question. She needed to know what types of snow plows were available because her among transportation professionals; research group needed to either find one in the literature or start a · Existing repositories of information (print and electronic; series of designs and tests to get one that could clear large amounts documents and data) maintained by transportation libraries; of snow and throw it far enough off the road in one pass. They
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40 were very interested in the height and the angle of the plow. A information (a.k.a. knowledge) and is able to do this by effec- search of the literature found some articles that seemed to answer tively leveraging available resources. Thus, progress and per- her questions. However, the most useful article was in Finnish and formance of the effort should be evaluated based on whether not translated. The article was obtained, and she was able to find all the details she needed from the charts and the pictures. It saved transportation professionals perceive impact and value, as her `reinventing' something that had already been done very well well as the extent to which it creates a strong, well-functioning and had been tested. The value, a great deal of time and effort. The network of information providers. value was never computed in terms of money but her group did not have to duplicate research, wasting time and money. Goals The Library Connectivity Pooled Fund Study has been col- The proposed goals of the TKN initiative are: lecting more recent "success stories" that demonstrate the value of transportation libraries: Goal 1--Better Information Access · The Minnesota DOT transportation library located data for Transportation Professionals needed by an engineer on the BTU energy content of various Achieve a noticeable improvement in information access fuels--the engineer had searched for 2 hours; the librarian as perceived by transportation professionals. This improve- found what was needed in 2 minutes. ment should be felt both by members of larger organizations · The Wisconsin DOT transportation library located a that have their own libraries as well as by those affiliated with NHTSA-related study about the demerit point/administra- smaller organizations that cannot justify "providing an internal tive license withdrawal system used by other states and pro- library and information services." Improvements in informa- vided it to the general counsel's office within 15 minutes of tion access to be achieved include the following: receiving the request. This saved the agency from going for- ward with a proposed $50,000 procurement to study this · Easier discovery of pertinent information on key topics of same topic. · The Kansas DOT (KDOT) transportation library located a interest; · Greater availability of full text digital documents accessible 1949 paper on a test that KDOT had been doing since the 1930s to predict alkali-silica reaction in cement-aggregate from the desktop; and mixtures. The information in the paper, as well as the · Greater accessibility of existing national, state-level, and accompanying discussion comments, helped to answer regional data sets of interest. the questions. The requestor felt that additional tests would not be necessary because the information the librarian sent Goal 2--Increased Collaboration among to him resolved his questions. Valuable KDOT staff time Transportation Information Producers was saved, as the test takes 1 year to complete. and Providers Achieve greater collaboration across transportation infor- Mission, Goals, and Objectives mation producers and providers that results in the following: Mission · Use of consistent standards and technologies that facilitate The following mission statement is proposed for TKNs: information sharing and make possible a more seamless information discovery and access experience for users; Support and sustain a network of transportation and information providers . . . · Improved awareness among providers of the information to collaborate and leverage collective resources . . . resources available within each organization so that oppor- so that they can provide transportation tunities for resource sharing can be identified and so that professionals . . . organizations are able to build their collections in a com- with timely and convenient access to relevant plementary manner. information . . . that enables faster progress . . . toward meeting critical transportation Goal 3--Preservation of Valuable Transportation challenges. Information Resources Provide and facilitate use of national print and digital repos- The TKN effort should be judged to be successful if it itories for preservation of valuable information resources that accomplishes a noticeable improvement in access to usable are at risk due to retirements, employee turnover, agency
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41 moves, and other factors. Use best practices for digital preser- · Percentage of current research projects in progress that can vation to ensure that materials remain accessible as older file be found in standard search engines and nationally avail- formats cease to be supported by available software. able transportation-specific search tools; · Percentage of completed research efforts that can be found in standard search engines and nationally available trans- Goal 4--Capacity Building within portation-specific search tools (abstracts and full text); and the Transportation Information · Adoption of standards and practices for interoperability of Professional Community transportation information. Increase and further develop a proficient transportation information professional community that enables each infor- Product and Service Accomplishment vs. Target mation provider to provide better service to their customers. · Percentage achievement of target new products and ser- vices (targets to be established through annual strategic Performance Measures planning process); and The following list of candidate performance measures is · Percentage achievement of target new collections aligned with these goals. These can be used at the national level or by individual federal or regional TKNs. These measures can Market be tailored to specific targeted market segments and focus areas that are established in an annual strategic planning process at Broad Market for TKNs the national or region level. TKNs are intended to benefit the transportation commu- nity at large: public and private sector organizations involved End User Market Penetration and Benefits in funding, planning, and providing transportation in all modes, and in R&D that supports improved transportation · Changes in user awareness and use of available informa- practice. Organization types could include: tion services and tools (including the national reposito- ries), ascertained from surveys; · U.S.DOT Modal Administrations (FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, · Percentage of users reporting benefits to research or prac- FRA, FTA, MARAD, NHTSA, PHMSA, RITA, SLSDC) tice from use of information services or tools, ascertained and Research Centers (Volpe Center, TFHRC, TTRC, from surveys; Hughes Center, National Transit Institute, NADS, U.S. · User-reported time savings from use of information ser- Merchant Marine Academy); vices or tools, ascertained from surveys; and · State DOTs; · Changes in information accessibility--measured based on · LTAP/TTAP Centers; access time and cost for a standard "basket" of information · City and County Public Works Agencies; goods. · Public Transit Agencies; · Railroads; Information Provider Involvement and Benefits · Trucking Companies; · Shippers; · Percentage of transportation information providers that · Logistics Firms; are members of a TKN; · Airlines; · Percentage of TKN members reporting that belonging to a · Air and Sea Ports; TKN significantly improved their customer services and · Pipeline Owners; ability to share resources; · MPOs; · Increased professional development of staff involved in · Private Engineering/Consulting Firms; TKNs; and · Professional Associations · Increase in the relative value institutions assign to TKN · Universities and Associated Transportation Research membership in comparison with costs of membership. Centers/Centers of Excellence Within these organizations, practitioner types who would Shared Information Resources use and benefit from TKNs include: · Percentage of unique holdings of transportation libraries that can be found in standard search engines and nation- · Executives and their staffs, ally available transportation specific search tools; · Managers,
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42 · Engineers, benefits of investment could be demonstrated, where resources · Planners, could be secured, and where there is already some level of · Analysts, awareness of and support for the TKN concept. · Researchers, Based on these criteria, initial target markets for TKN · Librarians/Information Professionals, products and services are state DOTs, FHWA, UTCs, MPOs, · HR Professionals, and LTAP/TTAP Centers; and professional associations that serve · IT Professionals. these markets. If TKNs are viewed as a business, then the tar- get customers are those individuals who make buying deci- This is a very large and heterogeneous market. It would sions. Target customers are senior technical and management require an enormous effort to address its diverse set of needs staff within DOTs, and directors of UTCs, MPOs, and LTAP/ and conduct meaningful outreach in a comprehensive man- TTAP Centers. This is a manageable group to which outreach ner. Rather than attempting this, it would be better to define efforts may be targeted. different segments for targeting of TKN products and services and establish priorities with respect to which market seg- Products and Services ments should be targeted initially versus in later phases of TKN evolution. The TKNs' function is to continually improve and support Market segments could be defined a number of ways--by the "transportation information infrastructure." A vision for organization type, mode, geographic scope (national/state/ this infrastructure is shown in Figure 2. regional/local), function (planning, design, construction, Key elements are: maintenance, operations, research), goal (safety, mobility, environment, infrastructure), or some combination of these. · A portal serving as a national focal point for transportation Market segments could be prioritized based on degree of need information, providing access to the core information for improved information access, level of likely benefits resources. Ideally, this portal is designed to allow for each from investments in information sharing, or ability to pay for component to be sharable so that other organizations can information-sharing products and services. incorporate selected components into their respective Web TKN products and services can be initially geared to one or sites. It should also be designed to ensure that credit is two well-defined market segments, but designed so they can properly given to organizations that share their informa- be easily expanded to include additional markets--once initial tion through the portal. infrastructure was built and success is demonstrated. The ini- · A network of organizations that actively share their infor- tial market segment should be one where clear and significant mation resources. Transportation Information Portal (provided by national TKN coordination function components available for incorporation into other web pages) Research Find Ask a Event Find a Transportation Submit a Communities News in Information Question Calendar Person Topics Resource of Practice Progress Information Resources & Tools (Responsibility for coordination, contributions and maintenance shared across TKNs/Information Providers) US DOT TRB Library RITA, Modal Admins (TRIS, RiP, Needs) MPOs Universities State DOTs Resources Other Federal Local Industry, OCLC, TLCat, First AASHTO Agencies Jurisdictions Non-Profits Search Standards & Images & GIS Data Tabular Datasets Manuals Directories Guidelines Video Lessons Performance Commercial Tutorials Legislation Events Learned Data Databases Knowledge Services & Protocols (Resource archiving, digitization, cataloging, bulk purchasing, interlibrary loan) Standards & Crosswalks (metadata, thesaurus, taxonomy) Figure 2. Transportation information infrastructure vision.
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43 · An evolving collection of information resources and tools for to navigate the current set of available resources. However, accessing these resources, including bibliographic data- for the uninitiated, the lack of connectivity and integration bases, document repositories, library catalogs, journals, across sources makes it confusing and difficult to find things. datasets, shared calendars, directories, etc. Improvements are being made, but progress has been slow · Services and protocols for assisting information providers due to limited resources. With some incremental investment, with processes of collecting, cataloging, indexing, digitiz- leadership, and coordination to get transportation informa- ing, and archiving information resources; for integrating tion stakeholders "rowing in the same direction," dramatic various external information resources; and for sharing improvements to information access are possible. resources with others. · Standards that facilitate information sharing, including a The TKN Ten thesaurus or taxonomy of terms, glossaries, metadata stan- Ten key functions have been identified that will enable the dards, data exchange standards, and crosswalks that allow national network of transportation information providers to for translation across different formats. National leader- achieve its mission and realize the vision of the transportation ship to coordinate these activities is essential. information infrastructure described above. Table 1 lists these functions and indicates their alignment with the four Pieces of this infrastructure exist, built and maintained by TKN goals. the National Transportation Library, the Bureau of Trans- portation Statistics, TRB, and transportation libraries in uni- 1. National Digital Repository versities and state DOTs. Information resources that are of general interest to the transportation community are also scat- Continue to build the current NTL digital repository, tered across hundreds of Web sites maintained by multiple expanding outreach and training to enable and encourage trans- administrations and offices within U.S.DOT, AASHTO, portation organizations unable to build their own repositories and other associations, state DOTs, MPOs, and universities. (or who have limited capacity) to contribute resources. Provide Skilled transportation librarians and researchers have learned online tools that allow individual researchers, practitioners, Table 1. Functions and alignment with TKN goals. Goals Access Collaboration Preservation Capacity Building 1. National Digital X X X Repository--including documents and data 2. National Print Repository X X X 3. National Transportation Portal X X with Federated Search 4. Information Modules X X X 5. Research/Literature Review X X Services 6. Standards Coordination + X X Thesaurus 7. Targeted Collection and X X X Digitization Efforts 8. Information Provider X X X X Outreach, Coordination, and Communication 9. Library Connectivity Support X X X X and Advocacy 10. User Outreach and Education X X
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44 research offices, or libraries to upload digital materials to the include a guide to current legislation of interest to transporta- repository. Develop materials that describe the current capabil- tion practitioners, a directory of experts by transportation ities of the repository and use these materials to engage TKN topic area, a guide to practitioners in state DOTs and MPOs by members in a discussion of what new capabilities are desired. role and topic area, a consolidated calendar of transportation- As a result of these discussions, develop a strategic plan for related conferences and workshops (offered by TRB, AASHTO, extending the capabilities of the repository, including provid- HEEP, ASCE, etc.), descriptions of current practice for specific ing seamless access to a distributed set of digital information topic areas across multiple agencies, a collection of online tuto- collections, and maintaining 24/7 access to information for rials or training materials, state- or locally developed manuals transportation professionals from multiple computers (home or guidelines (e.g., for access management, corridor planning, and office). Collections should accommodate a wide variety roadside maintenance), data standards, GIS data sets, bench- of information resources, including data sets, CAD drawings, marks, and performance data. photographs, videos, and training materials. Specifically address This item would also include access to fee-based informa- both preservation and access capabilities, including access con- tion resources, including professional journals, scientific trols and providing for planned redundancy via mirrored sites. literature, and standards documents. Negotiation of group Periodically assess the technology platform to ensure that it subscription rates at a national level would reduce access best meets the needs. costs to these resources for individual TKN members. Where licensing for direct access to such resources for employees of multiple organizations cannot be negotiated, a subsidized 2. National Print Repository interlibrary loan service would be explored using the "Loan- Provide resources needed to develop a national archive for some Doc" service of the National Library of Medicine as a print materials. This archive would include existing print col- possible model. lections within U.S.DOT and would provide secure storage The national coordination function would work with for "last copies" of transportation information resources of regional TKNs to identify priorities and encourage develop- national significance. This would provide a home for selected ment of these information modules, establish basic standards collections from library closings and professional papers of that would allow these to be searched and shared, as well as retiring practitioners. standard services (such as RSS feeds or email notifications Provide cataloging, interlibrary loan, and digitize-on- when information changes). One promising avenue to be demand services to enable access to the print collection. explored is for NCHRP, UTC, and U.S.DOT research initia- tives to be structured to produce new information modules or 3. National Transportation Portal update existing ones. For example, a research project to perform a multi-state synthesis of current practice could with Federated Search be scoped to produce as one of its deliverables a set of tagged Design and develop a national transportation portal hosted results in a format that could be easily integrated into the por- by the TKN-NCB that provides a single point of access to tal. This approach could dramatically increase the value materials from a variety of sources, including but not limited provided through these research programs by making the to TRIS online, the NTL digital repository, the BTS statistical information produced more easily accessible and integrated datasets and tools, TRB/NCHRP publications, TRB Research with related resources. in Progress and Research Needs databases, OCLC WorldCat and TLCat (the WorldCat transportation subset), peer- 5. Research/Literature Review Services reviewed transportation journals, the Communities of Practice sites provided by FHWA and other organizations, and other Offer research and literature review services to the trans- Web resources. Provide and continually improve federated portation community (on the national portal; provided via search tools that allow users to find materials across all of these discussion forum, email, phone, or messaging). There are sources that are relevant to a particular topic area or question. tremendous benefits to be gained through offering services of Include modules for peer-to-peer information sharing and for skilled, specialized transportation information professionals users to obtain "real-time" syntheses of current practice for for conducting literature reviews, building annotated bibli- particular topic areas. ographies on particular topic areas, or simply tracking down answers to specific information requests. Availability of these 4. Information Modules services widely throughout the transportation community would save time and provide better information for both Provide a series of "information modules" for inclusion on research and practice. Individual requests could be "farmed the National Transportation Portal, but also made available out" to specific designated specialists (among the TKN for inclusion on other TKN member Web sites. These would membership) by subtopic. Over time, additional efficiencies
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45 would be realized as multiple requests on the same topic were nication channels and personal relationships across the infor- received. mation providers. There needs to be a continuing function to identify and develop leaders within the transportation infor- mation provider community; to encourage participation; to 6. Standards Coordination and Thesaurus support communication by providing opportunities to meet Provide technical leadership for widespread adoption of in person, via telephone or video conference, and online standards for information sharing within the transportation forums; and to coordinate activities so synergies can be achieved community. Use of common standards is an underpinning and efficiencies realized. This function includes involvement of of the success of information-sharing efforts. The library com- a wide range of information providers including transporta- munity has decades of experience with data standards (e.g., tion libraries, state DOT, UTC and MPO website maintainers, MARC, Dublin Core). Standards are continuing to evolve for and special centers such as the AASHTO Center for Environ- sharing information resources over the World Wide Web. In mental Excellence, and the ARTBA/FHWA National Work the transportation community, a thesaurus of transportation Zone Safety Clearinghouse. research terms (the TRT) was initially released in 2001 and has been steadily improved since then. There is a need to take the 9. Library Connectivity Support and Advocacy TRT to the next level and encourage more widespread use of standard terms for indexing and tagging of information Provide technical support and advocacy for transportation resources. There is also a continuing need within the trans- libraries. This function is related to the general "Information portation community to agree on standard metadata for Provider Coordination and Communication" function, but is describing both documents and datasets. The national coordi- specifically geared to transportation libraries, which are at the nation function is the logical place for leadership in this area. core of basic TKN functions. Many operate on a shoestring, with a solo librarian; some have no professional library staff. Strengthening the existing libraries, enabling them to share 7. Targeted Collection and Digitization Efforts their holdings through OCLC and TLCat, supporting them in Pursue targeted projects at the national and regional levels negotiation of favorable group rates for subscriptions, and to collect and digitize information resources in areas of histor- helping them to provide improved service for their customers ical or strategic significance. One of the key strengths offered is an essential component of TKNs. This function currently is by TKNs is that they can offer a strategic approach to collec- partially being carried out through the Transportation Library tion, digitization, and preservation of information. It is not Connectivity Pooled Fund Study. economically feasible or desirable to capture and preserve every piece of transportation-related information that is pro- 10. User Outreach and Education duced. However, there are some types of information resources that are of particular importance at a national, regional, local, Provide outreach and education geared both to managers or organization level. Having information producers and and executives of transportation organizations and to end users providers at the same table allows for development of coherent of transportation information resources. Many executives and strategies about what types of investments in information end users are not familiar with the information resources that collection and preservation are worthwhile. Definition and currently exist. This results in underuse of transportation infor- execution of targeted collection and digitization projects will mation resources and lack of support for continued improve- provide clear end results and accountability for investments ments to these resources. The objectives of the outreach efforts made. Examples of targeted collection projects include assem- would be to (1) build widespread understanding of what is bly of strategic highway safety plans from all of the states, dis- available, (2) provide information and training that practi- play of key household survey results from all United States tioners require to make productive use of existing resources, metropolitan areas, or preservation of the professional papers (3) provide managers and executives of transportation organi- of key recently retired leaders in the transportation field. zations with an understanding of how their organizations could use and benefit from the resources that exist, and (4) allow for continuing feedback from transportation information users 8. Information Provider Outreach, Coordination, about the types of improvements they would like to see. and Communication Provide mechanisms for transportation information Tangible Results providers to function as a network. The success of the TKN concept depends on having strong nodes and strong links. The Implementing "the TKN Ten" will allow the transporta- nodes are the information providers; the links are the commu- tion community to realize the vision for a user-focused
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46 transportation information system, as articulated within · The results are provided to them in good English with- TRB Special Report 284: out cryptic abbreviations. · Ideally, the system is somewhat fun or at least easy to Envision state department of transportation employees use, and they understand the sources they are searching, working at their desks on time-sensitive projects or proj- how far those sources will take them, and when they will ects with long time scales: need to seek additional information. · They identify a need for information and, because of good marketing in the agency, they know where to turn. Stewardship Model · They open their Internet or intranet browser to the library National Coordination Function page or information portal and choose the service they desire, such as literature review, facts on file (common The crux of the TKN concept is to have a centralized questions from across the country that are stored for easy National Coordination Body that acts to leverage and enable retrieval), or reference requests. synergistic actions on the part of a large number of other · They find a front-end application that asks them how organizations. The MTKN is an example of this at the regional they want to search for information--geographically, level--seed funding from the NTL and the resources of a full- topically, by title or author, or by other formats. This time leader enabled a group of libraries from nine state DOTs, interface is visually engaging and easy to use. With a three universities, and one private firm to achieve significant click, they are taken to that search tool, or this infor- benefits from their membership. Despite having no additional mation is all on the first page. funding or resources since 2003, the MTKN has grown to · They type in their search phrase or point and click to include fifteen organizations, with the addition of another pri- icons and retrieve the desired information. The databases vate engineering firm and a regional planning commission. and systems that are being searched are noted while the The current Transportation Library Connectivity Pooled search is under way ("now searching BIOSIS . . ."). Fund Study and the efforts of the NTL are showing that rela- · They can clarify whether they want information in nar- tively modest investments in coordination and assistance can rative form, tabular or geospatial data, or all of these. To go a long way toward enabling collective progress toward a help refine the search, questions that librarians typically common goal. With help from the Pooled Fund Study and the ask users are programmed into the system. NTL, new Western and Eastern TKNs have formed, bringing · Once they come up with a list that reflects the informa- the total number of TKN members to forty-nine. These efforts tion they are seeking, they can check boxes to say "I are indicative of the strong grass roots interest and commit- want to save this information" and create a customized ment within the transportation community to move forward list stored under their e-mail address or account. with information-sharing initiatives, even with the currently · They can then retrieve the documents and data on the list, available limited resources. with highlights pointing to the specific text relevant to Development of a central national portal that provides their search. Because the documents and data are tagged, access to transportation information resources is an essential they are able to find specifically what they are seeking. The activity that will provide a valuable resource for practitioners. behind-the-scenes effort to obtain, catalogue, index, tag, and store the information is not obvious. It will provide a concrete and highly visible means of show- · They are able to pull quotes from the documents, with ing progress and benefits as TKN activities expand. It will take prompts helping them understand copyright laws and national leadership, commitment of resources, and coordi- appropriate uses and references. nated effort on the part of multiple organizations to develop · If a document is not available electronically, they are and sustain the vision of a "one-stop shop" for transportation offered a menu for delivery: interlibrary loan (because of information. the Transportation Libraries Catalog or First Search, the TRB Special Report 284 recommended that the national location of the closest borrowing institution is known); coordination function be within RITA, but it did not specify electronic document delivery (from where and how where within RITA this function should be placed. much); purchase of paper copies (from where, how Similar national coordination functions for the fields of agri- much, and how fast); or whatever the correct terminol- culture and medicine are being served by the National Agricul- ogy is for the suite of options. In this vision, they will not ture Library and the National Library of Medicine. The NTL have to pay $800 for a full document if they want only a has established relationships with the transportation library paragraph from it. community, and is playing a key leadership role in assisting · When the site includes data references, they can easily with regional TKN formation and implementation of the dig- understand the data platform and relevant uses. ital repository.
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47 The following types of functions would be provided by the User Services National Coordinating Body: · Direct providing of reference and literature review services to users and Management and Coordination · Develop educational and outreach materials. · Strategic planning and budgeting, · Technical leadership with respect to collections, cataloging, Advisory Board indexing, and archiving, An independent Stakeholders Council would be established · Staff direction, with representation from AASHTO membership, academia, · Development and administration of grants to TKN mem- and other national libraries. Given the initial market focus on bers for service provision, state DOTs, UTCs, MPOs, and LTAP/TTAP centers, the fol- · Coordination of library connectivity activities and support lowing candidates for the advisory board could be considered: to TKNs, · Coordination within U.S.DOT and between U.S.DOT and · Three to four representatives selected from the following other federal agency information providers with respect to AASHTO committees: Standing Committee on Research integration of information resources, and (SCOR), Standing Committee on Highways (SCOH), Stand- · Performance monitoring--evaluating performance, devel- ing Committee on Planning (SCOP), Standing Committee oping lessons learned and recommendations for improve- on Performance Management (SCoPM); Standing Com- ment, and communication to the advisory board. mittee on Finance and Administration Subcommittee on Information Systems (AASHTO IS); Information Architecture · One MPO executive director; · One member of the National LTAP Association (NLTAPA) · Architecture of approach to information integration, executive committee; · Technical design and development of the digital repository · One member of the Special Libraries Association Trans- and national portal, portation Division executive board; · Provide information technology expertise to ensure use of · One engineering/consulting firm representative; best practices, · One University Transportation Center director; · Leadership in development and adoption of data standards · One university transportation library director; throughout the transportation community, potentially · One state DOT library director; including TransXML, and · One Transportation Research Board representative; and · Work to ensure coordination and integration with ITS · One representative from the National Agriculture Library data standards efforts. or other non-transportation organization (able to provide an external perspective and lessons learned from a similar Standards and Cataloging undertaking). · Continued development and maintenance of the TRT, The advisory board should have flexibility to be reconsti- including ongoing coordination and processing of input tuted, for example, to include more multimodal (transit, air) from the transportation community and representation. Members should serve staggered 3-year terms · Cataloging and indexing. in order to provide continuity. The advisory group could be established by the U.S.DOT, Collection Management the National Academy of Sciences, AASHTO, another rele- vant industry association, or some combination thereof. · Manage and coordinate development and maintenance of Once established, the TKN advisory board would provide the digital and print repositories. input to the allocation of initial year resources and establish- ment of priorities for information product and service devel- opment. Subsequent quarterly meetings would focus on Information Systems Management review of accomplishments and performance and providing · Manage the national transportation information portal, feedback from the stakeholder community. The advisory including regular updates and integration of new informa- board would also be responsible for conducting an indepen- tion modules as they are developed--includes webmaster dent assessment of TKN performance, conducted annually or and database administration roles. biennially.
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48 Regional TKNs bimonthly conference calls. Responsibility for leadership is rotated among the membership. The TKN's primary One of the key findings of the input phase to develop this function is to share information and identify opportunities business plan was that the need for regional TKNs is not for individual member organizations to share resources broadly understood or accepted. Some people feel that regional or collaborate on specific projects. There is no membership TKNs are not needed given today's technology for information fee, but each member is asked to commit to some level sharing (and overnight delivery services). They feel that stick- of information sharing, including providing a listing of ing to a national network would provide what is needed and their information resources in a National TKN directory. wish to avoid adding unnecessary layers of coordination and Two levels of membership could be established--one for bureaucracy. organizations with significant collections to share, and However, participants in the existing Midwest TKN point another for organizations that have more limited informa- out that having regional TKNs provides a greater level of tion resources to offer. Individual TKN members apply strength and stability to the national network than would for available grants (from the national coordination func- otherwise exist. Regional TKNs provide opportunities for tion or other sources) on behalf of the TKN for specific leadership development within the transportation information projects. provider community that reduces its vulnerability to depar- Variation II--Formal. A nonprofit association that has tures of key individuals. Regional networks also allow for meetings and conference calls and provides a specific set of ser- more focused outreach activities than would be possible at the vices to its members. The TKN services are provided by either national level and provide opportunities for face-to-face com- full- or part-time staff, consultant services, or a combination. munication at already-existing regional gatherings of trans- These services are funded through a combination of annual portation professionals. membership dues and fees. The TKN may offer certain pre- As noted earlier, three Regional TKNs are already up and mium services for an additional fee. The TKN may also iden- running and provide an excellent starting point. As these tify grant opportunities and prepare grant applications to fund TKNs evolve and others are formed, a range of organizational projects of interest to the membership. models can be considered, depending on the needs, goals, and resources of the members. The following models provide two Regardless of how TKNs are organized, TKN-NCB could variations that illustrate the range of possibilities: provide each regional TKN with a Web site for collaboration and maintain contact with designated TKN representatives to Variation I--Informal. A loose association of transpor- provide information about and obtain feedback on national tation information providers meets annually and has information-sharing initiatives.
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49 Costs and Funding The estimated average annual funding needs (over a 5-year would be performed by the regional TKNs in partnership period) for different TKN functions are displayed in Table 2. with the National Coordinating Body. Therefore, the amounts These costs would need to be "front loaded" to accommodate shown for this latter set of activities (marked with asterisks) start-up activities and technology investments. Note that these include grants for TKN members. It is envisioned that these are rough estimates to relate specific activities to line item grants would be made in response to specific proposals to budgets. Actual allocation of a given budget across functions develop products or services (e.g., to digitize a collection and could vary considerably. make it available to the entire transportation community) This breakdown of needs is consistent with the high end of rather than on a formula basis. For estimation purposes, it the recommendations of TRB Special Report 284. The total was assumed below that roughly 50 percent of the total would investment would be $13.5 million annually. Functions 1, 2, be for TKN member activities, including outreach and 3, and 6 would be performed by the national coordination delivery of specific products and services that have a national function. Functions 4, 5, and 710 (marked with asterisks) benefit. Table 2. TKN funding needs by function--average annual investment over 5 years. Function Investment 1. National Digital Repository--including documents & data $800,000 2. National Print Repository $500,000 3. National Transportation Portal with Federated Search $1,000,000 4. Information Modules* $3,400,000 5. Research/Literature Review Services* (could be partially $1,000,000 self-supporting through fees for service for non-TKN members) 6. Standards Coordination + Thesaurus $800,000 7. Targeted Collection & Digitization Efforts* $4,500,000 8. Information Provider Outreach, Coordination and Communication* $500,000 9. Library Connectivity Support and Advocacy* $500,000 10. User Outreach & Education* $500,000 TOTAL $13,500,000