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N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP REPORT 814 Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide Spy Pond Partners, LLC Arlington, MA i n a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h Iteris, Inc. Santa Ana, CA Subscriber Categories Administration and Management â¢ Data and Information Technology TRANSPORTAT ION RESEARCH BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 2015 www.TRB.org Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing highway administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local interest and can best be studied by highway departments individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transportation results in increasingly complex problems of wide inter- est to highway authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniquesâthe National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRBâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRBâs relationship to the Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of specialists in high- way transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transporta- tion departments and by committees of AASHTO. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Standing Committee on Research (SCOR), and each year SCORâs recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Directors and the Academies. Research projects to address these topics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the Acad- emies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs. Published reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America NCHRP REPORT 814 Project 08-92 ISSN 0077-5614 ISBN 978-0-309-37485-9 Library of Congress Control Number 2015951937 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, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC 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 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 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 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 Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway 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 NCHRP REPORT 814 Christopher W. Jenks, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Christopher Hedges, Manager, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Andrew C. Lemer, Senior Program Officer Sheila Moore, Program Associate Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Hilary Freer, Senior Editor NCHRP PROJECT 08-92 PANEL Field of Transportation PlanningâArea of Forecasting Johanna P. Zmud, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Washington, DC (Chair) Jack R. Stickel, Alaska DOT and Public Facilities, Juneau, AK Jonathan N. Ehrlich, Metropolitan Council, St. Paul, MN David W. Gardner, Ohio DOT, Columbus, OH Michael Hibbard, Virginia DOT, Richmond, VA Gordon Kennedy, Washington State DOT, Olympia, WA William E. âBillâ Knowles, Texas DOT, Austin, TX Shashi S. Nambisan, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville, TN Craig P. Secrest, High Street Consulting Group LLC, Denver, CO Greg Slater, Maryland State Highway Administration, Baltimore, MD Ed Christopher, FHWA Liaison Matthew Hardy, AASHTO Liaison Mindu Liu, Bureau of Transportation Statistics Liaison Thomas Palmerlee, TRB Liaison
NCHRP Report 814: Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide presents guidance to assist decisionmakers and data practitioners at state depart- ments of transportation (DOTs) in evaluating and improving the value of their data for decision making and their data-management practices. Agency practitioners rely on a wide range of data to support decision making about policy choices, infrastructure investments, and other agency functions. The self-assessment process described here may also be useful to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). Transportation agencies are increasingly reliant on rapidly growing data resources to provide the bases for making critical decisions about how best to allocate available resources to build, operate, and maintain safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation systems to serve their communities. Technologies for collecting, storing, and manipulating data have advanced dramatically, potentially enhancing the timeliness and sophistication of management informa- tion while increasing demands on responsible agency staff to ensure that their data are current, accurate, reliable, and available. Data collection and maintenance can be costly, and agencies have sought ways to evaluate their data programs and improve the programsâ effectiveness. The objectives of NCHRP Project 08-92, âImplementing a Transportation Agency Data Self-Assessmentâ were to (1) test the feasibility of the data self-assessment process proposed in previous NCHRP research and (2) produce a guidebook for transportation agencies under- taking to implement this process. The guidebook was envisioned to be useful to decision- makers and data practitioners at state departments of transportation (DOTs) for evaluating and improving the value of their data for decision making and their data-management practices. However, the process and guidance may also be useful to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), who face many of the same sorts of data challenges as DOTs. The research was conducted by a team led by Spy Pond Partners, LLC, of Arlington, MA. The research team completed their work in three phases. Phase 1 comprised a review and refinement of the data self-assessment process origi- nally formulated in NCHRP Project 08-36/Task 100, âTransportation Data Self-Assessment Guide,â completed in 2011. Refinements reflected practitioner comments on the earlier work, subsequent work on related topics sponsored by the FHWA and others, and inter- views with currently serving senior agency managers, data practitioners, and data customers at DOTs and large MPOs. In addition, Phase 1 included design of case studies (to be per- formed in subsequent phases) to effectively test the guidance being developed and provide examples of how agencies might efficiently implement the self-assessment process. In Phase 2, the research team conducted the case studies with two DOTs. The research team documented lessons learned about the feasibility of the data self-assessment methods, By Andrew C. Lemer Staff Officer Transportation Research Board F O R E W O R D
considering such factors as DOT staff time used, meaningfulness of results, and effective- ness of the implementation process. In Phase 3, the research team used the preceding work to prepare a guidebook to assist agencies with implementation of data self-assessment. The guidebook is aimed at helping agency decisionmakers and data practitioners to evaluate and improve their data to better support effective decision making. This document, NCHRP Report 814: Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide, is the guide. In addition, the team prepared a final report describing their work and presenting information from their research that may be useful to practitioners and other researchers. The report, published as NCHRP Web-Only Document 214, is available for download from the TRB website by searching for NCHRP Web-Only Document 214. Available through the NCHRP Project 08-92 web page are supplemental materials that may be useful to agencies undertaking data self- assessment: (1) three spreadsheet tools (Excel files) implementing the self-assessment process, (2) a slide deck (PowerPoint file) executive presentation on the objectives and steps in data self-assessment, and (3) a flyer (PDF file) succinctly presenting the assessment process to staff.
C O N T E N T S 1 Summary 3 Chapter 1 Introduction 3 Transportation Data: The Invisible Asset 4 Purpose of the Guide 6 Intended Audiences 6 Structure of the Guide 7 Chapter 2 The Assessment Process 7 Overview 9 Options for the Assessment Process 10 Chapter 3 Phase 1: Preparing for the Assessment 10 Overview 10 Step 1: Identify a Lead 11 Step 2: Develop an Inventory of Data Programs 11 Step 3: Identify Goals and Candidate Focus Areas 16 Step 4: Obtain Management Support 17 Step 5: Assemble the Planning Team and Finalize Scope 20 Step 6: Identify Assessment Participants 20 Step 7: Select and Prepare Facilitators 22 Chapter 4 Phase 2: Conducting the Assessment 22 Data Value Assessment Tool Overview 23 Data Management Assessment Tool Overview 26 Assessment Phase Guidance 27 Step 1: Conduct Assessment Preparation Meeting 34 Step 2: Assessment Workshop 42 Step 3: Gaps and Candidate Actions Workshop Preparation Meeting 44 Step 4: Gaps and Candidate Actions Workshop 47 Step 5: Assessment Results Analysis and Summary 48 Chapter 5 Phase 3: Improve and Monitor 48 Overview 48 Step 1: Consolidate Data Improvement Recommendations and Ongoing Initiatives 49 Step 2: Prioritize New Improvements and Assign Responsibilities 51 Step 3: Create/Update Action Plan 51 Step 4: Monitor Progress 52 Accommodating Decentralized Models of Improvement Planning
53 Appendix A Glossary 57 Appendix B DOT Data Program Inventory 62 Appendix C Data Management Assessment Elements 90 Appendix D Data Improvement Catalog