UPDATE: Monday, August 22nd, 2016
The quality of data is a crucial consideration for the provision of meaningful traveler information. It has generally been handled on an ad-hoc basis, with little or no provision for error notification other than perhaps through user-reporting of observed errors. The goal of this technology incubator project was to analyze and document existing system best practices for data quality for the aggregation and dissemination of state department of transportation traveler information. The research team conducted a survey of DOT practitioners in western states, as well as a literature review on data quality within the transportation field.
At the onset of the task, it was recognized that there may not be any so called “best practices” established for traveler information data quality. Neither the survey of DOT practitioners nor the literature review found a comprehensive, well-defined plan for unified, multi-dimensional approaches to quality assurance of traveler information. However, all of the DOT practitioners that were surveyed, as well as the literature reviewed relative to data quality in transportation, indicated in some way that quality data was important for safe, efficient operation of the transportation system, including provision of traveler information that is accurate, timely, and reliable. This observation is especially valid given the current environment that is increasingly focused on performance measurements, accountability and “smarter” operation of roadways.
Procedures and considerations relative to data quality were documented from the literature and the DOT practitioner survey. For example: automated sensor tests, maintenance and calibration, data sampling, well-defined measures and standards, operator observations, user error reporting, etc. Recommendations and next steps were made specific to Caltrans traveler information data and processes.
More detailed results of the practitioner survey and the literature review can be found in the task report – Data Quality for Aggregation and Dissemination of DOT Traveler Information: An Analysis of Existing System Best Practices. The report can also be downloaded from the COATS Phase 6 Documents page and the WSRTC’s document archive. This report and other documents related to the COATS project can be found on the COATS documents page as well.