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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Use of Vehicle Probe and Cellular GPS Data by State Departments of Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26094.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Use of Vehicle Probe and Cellular GPS Data by State Departments of Transportation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26094.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

1 This synthesis documents how state departments of transportation (DOTs) are applying vehicle probe and cellular GPS data for monitoring, planning, and real-time information, and provides 19 short case examples from a diverse set of agencies covering a wide range of topics. The synthesis further summarizes the • Number of agencies currently making use of vehicle probe and cellular GPS data, • Number of agencies planning to make use of vehicle probe data in the near future, • Uses of data (e.g., operations, planning, performance management, maintenance, and modeling activities), • Data acquisition (e.g., sources and ownership), • Barriers that might be affecting the use or acquisition of said data, including concerns over privacy, the ability to manage the data, or cost considerations, • Mechanics of how the agencies were purchasing data and whether or not their data use agreements allowed for sharing of data with agency partners, and • Data analysis methods and tools. Probe and cellular GPS data in this synthesis include timestamped location information collected from cellular phones, other mobile devices/tablets, or embedded devices in vehicles (like navigation systems or telematics). They also include similar information from Location- Based Services (LBS) providers that collect data from mobile applications already installed on smartphones (like weather, fitness tracking, or social media apps). However, this synthesis does not cover crowdsourced incident data like those collected by Waze, Twitter messages, or similarly crowdsourced map-data created from GPS-enabled devices. The synthesis was performed in three parts. First, a comprehensive literature review sum- marized key information regarding the history, descriptions of types, and documented uses of probe and cellular GPS data. Researchers examined more than 100 references and selected 64 for the literature review. Second, the results of the literature review and expert panel members’ input were used to generate a survey that was distributed to the DOTs of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with 46 responses received (90% response rate). Finally, follow-up inter- views with select state DOTs were used to document relevant case examples of the use of probe and cellular GPS data. Survey results show that at least 88% of responding DOTs are using probe-based speed data, with the most prevalent use case being for federal performance reporting. Nearly 30 additional uses of probe-based speed data were documented, including project prioritiza- tion, before-and-after studies to evaluate the effectiveness of major projects, signal studies, and real-time operations and traveler information, including conducting incident after action reviews aimed at the improvement of DOT processes and investments. S U M M A R Y Use of Vehicle Probe and Cellular GPS Data by State Departments of Transportation

2 Use of Vehicle Probe and Cellular GPS Data by State Departments of Transportation Beyond probe-based speed data, other state DOTs are also using Origin-Destination (O-D) (53%), trajectory/trips (20%), and LBS (31%) data. The barriers to the adoption of probe and cellular GPS data were small, with nearly 60% claiming no barriers. For those who did struggle to adopt, the chief concerns included quality and/or accuracy, cost/budget issues, the lack of capacity to work with large data sets, or the effort required to integrate into existing platforms. Eighty percent of the respondents access, analyze, and otherwise work with probe data through third-party analytics platforms, either directly or by hiring consultants who use the platforms on behalf of the state DOTs. Only 40% of the responding DOTs are doing some form of in-house processing and analysis with their own agency staff. The follow-up interviews were used to generate 19 short case examples covering the use of probe and cellular GPS data across several modes (automobile, bike, transit, and freight) for operations, performance management, planning, traveler information, signals, safety, bike, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The case examples showed both well-established uses of data and several innovative approaches that are saving agencies money, increasing capabilities, and answering questions that would have previously been unanswerable. Future research could look at how the data described in this synthesis can be leveraged to solve specific ongoing challenges that agencies are facing, including the response and recovery efforts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, lowering the cost of doing business, and being able to respond to citizen and elected official inquiries regarding transportation investment decisions. As shown in the Chapter 4 case examples, several states are already engaging in unique activities surrounding these areas, and peer agencies may find value in these approaches.

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Over the last decade, state departments of transportation (DOTs) have begun to use vehicle probe and cellular GPS data for a variety of purposes, including real-time traffic and incident monitoring, highway condition, and travel demand management. DOTs are also using vehicle probe and cellular GPS data to inform system planning and investment decisions.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 561: Use of Vehicle Probe and Cellular GPS Data by State Departments of Transportation documents how DOTs are applying vehicle probe and cellular GPS data for planning and real-time traffic and incident monitoring and communication.

In December 2021, an erratum was issued.

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