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76 CHAPTER 5 Conclusions and Recommendations Introduction Developed a list of specifications for a national freight data architecture; and The overarching theme behind NCFRP Project 12 was the Identified challenges and strategies related to the implemen- need for accurate, comprehensive, timely freight transporta- tation of a national freight data architecture. tion data at different levels, as well as the need for a holistic approach to freight transportation data. More specifically, It is worth noting that the purpose of NCFRP Project 12 was NCFRP Project 12 was designed to identify specifications for a to develop requirements and specifications for a national freight national freight data architecture that facilitates freight-related data architecture, not to develop the data architecture (which statistical and economic analyses; supports the decisionmaking would be a logical next step after identifying those requirements process by public and private stakeholders at the national, state, and specifications). regional, and local levels; and enables the acquisition and maintenance of critical data needed to identify freight-related transportation needs. Specific NCFRP Project 12 objectives Data Sources, Systems, included the following: and Architectures Develop specifications for content and structure of a national A variety of listings, links, and summaries of systems, data- freight data architecture that serves the needs of public and bases, architectures, and other related documents that pertain private decisionmakers at the national, state, regional, and to freight transportation data are available in the literature. local levels; Although there is a wealth of sources of information that Identify the value and challenges of the potential data pertain to freight transportation, a comprehensive catalog architecture; and of freight-related data sources at different geographic levels Specify institutional strategies to develop and maintain the (including national, state, regional, and local levels) does not data architecture. exist. As a reference, the research team conducted a review of a sample of freight-related data sources at the national level to The research team undertook the following activities to complement or otherwise extend existing listings. Previously address these research needs: shown Table 1 provides a list of freight data sources reviewed in this report. Appendix A of the contractor's final report (avail- Completed a review of systems, databases, and architectures able on the project web page) includes an augmented version that might be used as a potential reference for the develop- of this table, with data sources expanded at the dataset level. ment of a national freight data architecture; This appendix also includes a detailed description of each data Conducted surveys and follow-up interviews, interviews source. with subject matter experts, and a peer exchange with freight The list of freight data sources in Table 1 is obviously not transportation stakeholders; comprehensive. For example, it does not reference datasets Developed a formal definition for a national freight data that state, regional, and local entities need to collect to sup- architecture; plement or augment national-level datasets. Although the list Identified high-level categories of data architecture com- in Table 1 does not include all of the potential data sources ponents; that deal with freight transportation, it is useful because it Identified potential implementation approaches; provides a sample of the typical national-level data sources