National Academies Press: OpenBook
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information: Volume I—A Guide for State Transportation Agencies, and Volume II—Background Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24804.
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2017 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 RESEARCH REPORT 846 Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information Volume I: A Guide for State Transportation Agencies Volume II: Background Research Spy pond partnerS, LLC Arlington, MA i n a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h KapS Group Oakland, CA Subscriber Categories Administration and Management • Data and Information Technology 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 techniques—the 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 TRB’s 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; TRB’s 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 SCOR’s 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 research 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 RESEARCH REPORT 846 Project 20-97 ISSN 2572-3766 (Print) ISSN 2572-3774 (Online) ISBN 978-0-309-44635-8 Library of Congress Control Number 2017939177 © 2017 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously pub- lished 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 research 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 manufacturers’ 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. Marcia McNutt 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 Board’s varied committees, task forces, and panels 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 RESEARCH REPORT 846 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Andrew C. Lemer, Senior Program Officer Sheila A. Moore, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Sharon Lamberton, Editor NCHRP PROjECT 20-97 PANEL Area Twenty—Special Projects Richard Y. Woo, Maryland State Highway Administration, Baltimore, MD (Chair) Gordon Kennedy, Washington State DOT, Olympia, WA Chad T. Baker, California DOT, Sacramento, CA Matthew Barrett, Los Angeles County (CA) Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles, CA John Cherney, Wisconsin DOT, Madison, WI Margaret M. Steciuk, Satellite Beach, FL Sandra L. Tucker, Bryan, TX Ida van Schalkwyk, Washington State DOT, Olympia, WA Mary E. Moulton, OST-R Liaison Robert W. Turner, FHWA Liaison Lisa Loyo, TRB Liaison Thomas Palmerlee, TRB Liaison

NCHRP Research Report 846: Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Infor- mation presents guidance for state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other agen- cies for adapting and applying practices and tools to facilitate on-demand retrieval of useful information stored in project files, libraries, and other agency archives. Collecting, storing, preserving, and retrieving this information represent increasingly complex and costly chal- lenges for people at all levels of the organization. The guidance and background informa- tion presented here will be helpful to DOT staff and others responsible for developing and managing an agency’s information resources and for assisting information users to access the information they need when they need it in pursuit of the agency’s mission. DOTs and other transportation agencies are information-intensive organizations. All activ- ities of these organizations produce and rely on information in many forms: facility design and construction records, permits, environmental impact studies, asset inventories and condi- tion assessments, personnel records, public information queries and presentations, and much more. Collecting, storing, preserving, and retrieving this information represent increasingly complex and costly challenges for people at all levels of the organization. As the agency’s work advances, the quantities of information grow and the challenges of information management increase. Finding the right information when it is needed and then making it available to those who can use it, are often time-consuming and frustrating tasks. The term information encompasses a variety of content and formats, including printed documents, written and electronic data files, maps, images, audio files, and video files. Infor- mation collectively is a valuable asset for any organization, but making the right information available to support mission-critical analysis and decision making is often difficult. The infor- mation assets of a DOT may be managed (e.g., cataloged in a library or stored in a document management system or other formal repository) or unmanaged (e.g., miscellaneous docu- ments for field engineers and inspectors). Information may be both structured (e.g., records in a database) or unstructured (e.g., image files). By some estimates, 80% to 90% of an agency’s stored information is unstructured and the agency’s staff may spend up to 35% of their time looking for information they need. Information management technology and practices have advanced dramatically in recent decades and continue to develop. Such applications as search engines, optical character rec- ognition (OCR), and machine learning have made it possible for people to gain seemingly instantaneous access to vast amounts of information from ubiquitous computers and cel- lular telephones; they have raised expectations as well as delivered service. At the same time, most of us are confronted daily with the need to go through stacks of reports and drawers of paper files in search of information to help us answer a question or make a decision. F O R E W O R D By Andrew C. Lemer Staff Officer Transportation Research Board

The objective of NCHRP Project 20-97, “Improving Findability and Relevance of Trans- portation Information,” was to present procedures and tools to assist transportation agencies to improve information findability by (1) defining a management framework—including responsibilities of a transportation agency and its partners—for classification, search, and retrieval of transportation information; (2) documenting successful practices for organizing and classifying information that can be adapted to search and retrieval of the diversity of information a transportation agency creates and uses; (3) developing federated or enter- prise search procedures that an agency can use to make transportation information avail- able to users, subject to concerns for security and confidentiality; and (4) demonstrating implementation of the management framework, information organization and classifica- tion practices, and search procedures. The products of this work are a guide and report of background information designed to assist agencies to tailor findability procedures and tools to meet their particular needs. The research was conducted by a team led by Spy Pond Partners, LLC. The research team reviewed the literature and current practices for finding information in a number of fields and the types of information that transportation agencies produce and use. The team gave particular attention to the large and generally unstructured repositories associated with planning, design, and procurement of transportation facilities and equipment—project files. Several agencies participated in the research, providing both practical examples for characterizing the findability requirements of DOTs and test cases for application and refinement of the management framework and procedures the team developed. The result of this work, presented here, is guidance for how agency staff may improve their ability to find critical information.

V o l u m e I A Guide for State Transportation Agencies V o l u m e I I Background Research C O N T E N T S

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TRB's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 846: Improving Findability and Relevance of Transportation Information (Volumes I and II) provides practices and tools to facilitate on-demand retrieval of useful information stored in project files, libraries, and other agency archives. The report defines a management framework for classification, search, and retrieval of transportation information; documents successful practices for organizing and classifying information that can be adapted to search and retrieval of the diversity of information a transportation agency creates and uses; develops federated or enterprise search procedures that an agency can use to make transportation information available to users, subject to concerns for security and confidentiality; and demonstrates implementation of the management framework, information organization and classification practices, and search procedures. Volumes I and II provide guidance and background information designed to assist agencies to tailor findability procedures and tools to meet their particular needs.

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