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N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E F R E I G H T R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCFRP REPORT 35 Subscriber Categories Data and Information Technology â¢ Freight Transportation Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary C. Michael Walton Dan P. K. Seedah Carine Choubassi Hui Wu Andy Ehlert Robert Harrison Lisa Loftus-Otway The UniversiTy of Texas aT aUsTin CenTer for TransporTaTion researCh Austin, TX Jim Harvey Joel Meyer Jacob Calhoun Lucia Maloney allianCe TransporTaTion GroUp Austin, TX Stephen Cropley Ford Annett TransmeTriC ameriCa inC. Austin, TX TRANSPORTAT ION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2015 www.TRB.org Research sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE FREIGHT RESEARCH PROGRAM Americaâs freight transportation system makes critical contributions to the nationâs economy, security, and quality of life. The freight transportation system in the United States is a complex, decentralized, and dynamic network of private and public entities, involving all modes of transportationâtrucking, rail, waterways, air, and pipelines. In recent years, the demand for freight transportation service has been increasing fueled by growth in international trade; however, bottlenecks or congestion points in the system are exposing the inadequacies of current infrastructure and operations to meet the growing demand for freight. Strategic operational and investment decisions by governments at all levels will be necessary to maintain freight system performance, and will in turn require sound technical guidance based on research. The National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) is a cooperative research program sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology under Grant No. DTOS59- 06-G-00039 and administered by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The program was authorized in 2005 with the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). On September 6, 2006, a contract to begin work was executed between the Research and Innovative Technology Admin- istration, which is now the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, and The National Academies. The NCFRP will carry out applied research on problems facing the freight industry that are not being adequately addressed by existing research programs. Program guidance is provided by an Oversight Committee comprised of a representative cross section of freight stakeholders appointed by the National Research Council of The National Academies. The NCFRP Oversight Committee meets annually to formulate the research program by identifying the highest priority projects and defining funding levels and expected products. Research problem statements recommending research needs for consideration by the Oversight Committee are solicited annually, but may be submitted to TRB at any time. Each selected project is assigned to a panel, appointed by TRB, which provides technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. Heavy emphasis is placed on including members representing the intended users of the research products. The NCFRP will produce a series of research reports and other products such as guidebooks for practitioners. Primary emphasis will be placed on disseminating NCFRP results to the intended end-users of the research: freight shippers and carriers, service providers, suppliers, and public officials. Published reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE FREIGHT RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from: Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet at: http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore Printed in the United States of America NCFRP REPORT 35 Project NCFRP-47 ISSN 1947-5659 ISBN 978-0-309-30889-2 Library of Congress Control Number 2015947135 Â© 2015 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, or PHMSA endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the National Cooperative Freight Research Program, conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The members of the technical panel selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Freight Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to increase the benefits that transportation contributes to society by providing leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP STAFF FOR NCFRP REPORT 35 Christopher W. Jenks, Director, Cooperative Research Programs William C. Rogers, Senior Program Officer Charlotte Thomas, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Sharon Lamberton, Editor NCFRP PROJECT 47 PANEL Freight Research Projects Diane Jacobs, California DOT, Los Angeles, CA (Chair) Patrick R. Anater, CDM Smith, Pittsburgh, PA Jean-Francois Arsenault, CPCS Transcom Limited, Ottawa, ON Peter S. Lindquist, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH Anne Strauss-Wieder, A. Strauss-Wieder, Inc., Westfield, NJ John H. Taylor, Tallahassee, FL Krishnan Viswanathan, CDM Smith, Tallahassee, FL Rolf R. Schmitt, RITA Liaison Amanda J. Wilson, RITA Liaison Christopher Smith, AASHTO Liaison Lisa Loyo, TRB Liaison Thomas Palmerlee, TRB Liaison
NCFRP Report 35: Implementing the Freight Transportation Data Architecture: Data Element Dictionary provides the findings of the research effort to develop a freight data dictionary for organizing the myriad freight data elements currently in use. The research identifies differ- ences in data element definitions and methods for bridging those differences where appro- priate. A product of this research effort is a searchable and sustainable web-based freight data element dictionary for transportation analysis that will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportationâs Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). A temporary link to the freight data dictionary web application is currently available at http://freightdatadictionary.com. NCFRP Report 9: Guidance for Developing a Freight Data Architecture articulates the value of establishing architecture for linking data across modes, subjects, and levels of geography to obtain essential information for decision making. Central to the architecture is a catalog of data elements currently being collected and the definitions of those elements. Lack of a sound freight data dictionary can cause problems within and across organizations, with organizations calling the same freight data element by different names or different data elements by the same name. Worse, an organization may combine freight data elements it thinks are equivalent and make incorrect investment decisions from invalid data. In NCFRP Project 47, The University of Texas at Austin Center for Transportation Research was asked to (1) identify readily available databases associated with freight for inclusion in the dictionary, including their key characteristics; (2) organize and classify these databases (e.g., by type and level of aggregation, attribute definitions, and spatial and temporal char- acteristics); (3) organize and classify the elements into a typology (with rationale) across databases and provide terms and definitions used for each element, taking into account the intended uses (e.g., land use, planning, environmental impacts, economic development, supply chain analysis, safety, and security); (4) develop and test a user interface for a search- able and sustainable web-based freight data element dictionary and make updates based on findings from the testing of the user interface; (5) identify differences in definitions and assess whether crosswalks or other bridges are adequate and relevant; (6) recommend new harmo- nization or statistical bridges as appropriate for resolving differences in definitions; and (7) prepare a production-ready, BTS-hosted searchable and sustainable web-based freight data element dictionary, with full documentation (including data structures, data require- ments, source codes, and maintenance and updating guidelines). F O R E W O R D By William C. Rogers Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
A U T H O R S â P R E F A C E Slight or subtle variants in data definitions and metadata structures across datasets, and sometimes temporally within the same data sources, pose challenges to the compilation and use of freight data. Data analysts, regulators, and policy analysts frequently face challenges when combining data from multiple sources into a single national or state-level analysis, or when using the data for program development and administration that spans multiple geographic areas. Organizations may call the same freight data element by different names or different data elements by the same name. In some cases, freight data elements thought to be equivalent are combined, leading to incorrect investment decisions based on invalid information. A dictionary that organizes the many current freight data elements, provides a method for identifying differences in definitions, and offers a set of homogeneous approaches for bridging gaps between definitions would serve as a critical tool for developing a National Freight Transportation Data Architecture and strengthen freight planning across agencies.
1 Chapter 1 Background 1 1.1 Introduction 2 1.2 Research Objective 2 1.3 Study Approach 4 Chapter 2 The Web-Based Freight Data Element Dictionary 4 2.1 Discussion Wall 5 2.2 Data Dictionary 9 2.3 Glossary Terms 10 Chapter 3 Freight Data Uses 10 3.1 Introduction 10 3.2 Methodology 12 3.3 Congestion Management 13 3.4 Operations/Services 14 3.5 Safety Planning and Analysis 15 3.6 Freight Mobility Planning 16 3.7 Emergency Preparedness and Security Planning 16 3.8 Economic Development Planning 17 3.9 Freight Transportation and Land Use Planning 18 3.10 Environmental Planning 19 3.11 Regulation and Enforcement Planning 20 3.12 Intermodal Trade Corridor Planning 20 3.13 Terminal and Border Access Planning 21 3.14 Hazardous Materials Planning 21 3.15 Roadway Pavement and Bridge Maintenance Planning 22 3.16 Modal Shift Analysis 23 3.17 Freight Performance Measurement 23 3.18 Sustainable Transportation Investment 25 3.19 Findings from the Literature Review on Freight Data Uses 26 Chapter 4 Inventory of Freight Data Sources, Dictionaries, and Glossary Terms 26 4.1 Introduction 26 4.2 Data Dictionaries and Glossary Terms 34 Chapter 5 Classifying Data Elements Across Databases 34 5.1 Introduction 34 5.2 Background 36 5.3 Methodology 37 5.4 The RBCS Primary and Secondary Level Classifications 38 5.5 Validation 42 5.6 Model Limitation 42 5.7 Application C O N T E N T S
43 Chapter 6 Differences in Data Element Definitions 43 6.1 Introduction 43 6.2 Methodology 44 6.3 Differences in Origin and Destination Data Elements 48 6.4 Differences in Commodity Data Elements 54 6.5 Import and Export Data Elements 63 6.6 Industry Data Elements 66 6.7 Mode of Transport Data Elements 80 6.8 Safety Data Elements 83 6.9 Units of Measurement Data Elements 91 6.10 Geospatial Data 92 Chapter 7 Resolving Differences in Data Element Definitions 92 7.1 Introduction 92 7.2 Methodology 93 7.3 Place Name Bridges 98 7.4 Units of Measurement Bridges 106 7.5 Commodity Classification Bridges 113 7.6 Industry Classification Bridges 117 7.7 Mode of Transport Bridges 130 Chapter 8 Conclusions and Suggested Future Steps 130 8.1 Addressing the Barriers Identified by NFAC 131 8.2 Future Steps 134 Sources 138 References 148 Abbreviations Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.