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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." 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:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." 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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3 Background Over the last 15 years, a growing number of state departments of transportation (DOTs) have leveraged vehicle probe and cellular GPS data for a variety of uses. In recent years, these data have been put into mainstream use, propelled in part by the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS), which consists of speed data from vehicle and cellular GPS probes and is provided free to state DOTs. For purposes of this synthesis, probe data refer to the following three classes of data: • Speed Data, which describe real-time or historic average speeds on one or more road segments. • Origin-Destination (O-D) data, which describe the origin and destination of a trip. • Trajectory data, which describe the path and routes of a trip from an origin to a destination from either of the following: – Vehicle Telematics-Based data, which is obtained from vehicles equipped with GPS and other geolocation sensors and devices, or – LBS data, which is obtained from third-party apps on smartphones that periodically report the location of users. All probe data referenced in this synthesis include some form of timestamped information collected from vehicles and mobile devices. These data are sourced from cellular phones, other mobile devices/tablets, or embedded devices in vehicles (like navigation systems or telematics). They can also include similar information from LBS providers that collect data from mobile applications already installed on smartphones. However, this synthesis does not cover crowd- sourced incident data like those collected by Waze, Twitter messages, or similarly crowdsourced map-data created from GPS-enabled devices. Synthesis Objectives The objective of this synthesis was to document the state of the practice regarding how state DOTs are applying vehicle probe and cellular GPS data for monitoring, planning, and real-time information. The synthesis also explored barriers that might be hindering some agencies from utilizing GPS-sourced data. Synthesis Scope This synthesis documents and summarizes the • Number of DOTs currently making use of vehicle probe and cellular GPS data, • Number of DOTs planning to make use of vehicle probe data in the near future, C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

4 Use of Vehicle Probe and Cellular GPS Data by State Departments of Transportation • Uses of data (e.g., operations, planning, performance management, maintenance, and modeling activities), • Data acquisition (e.g., sources and ownership), • Data analysis methods and tools, and • Any barriers that might be affecting the use or acquisition of said data, including concerns over privacy, ability to manage the data, cost considerations. Agencies were also asked about the mechanics of how they were purchasing data and whether or not their data use agreements allowed for sharing of data with agency partners. Methodology A literature review was conducted to summarize the qualities of vehicle probe and cellular GPS data and to identify the state of the practice. The literature search results and panel member inputs were used to develop an agency survey of the state of the practice. The survey was distrib- uted to AASHTO Council on Highways and Streets members and known probe-data users in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey included 11 questions about state DOT use of vehicle probe and cellular GPS data for monitoring and planning activities. The goal was to determine whether agencies are currently using GPS-based data, and if so, what type of data, for what purpose, and how. After the completion of the survey, follow-up interviews were conducted with willing agencies to further garner data related to their uses of probe data, barriers, and lessons learned. The information obtained from the literature review, the survey of practice, and the follow-up questions provided the basis of this synthesis. Report Organization This synthesis is organized into the following chapters: • Chapter 1 — Introduction. This chapter provides background information and synthesis objectives, and summarizes the scope, approach, and organization of the document. • Chapter 2 — Literature Review. This chapter summarizes the findings of the literature review including a history of probe data, descriptions of different types of probe data, and documented uses. • Chapter 3 — State of the Practice. This chapter summarizes the agency survey results. • Chapter 4 — Case Examples. This chapter provides a high-level overview of select agency use cases for probe and cellular GPS data. • Chapter 5 — Summary of Findings. The synthesis concludes with a summary of key observa- tions and suggested areas for further research and outreach that could improve the use and adoption of probe and cellular GPS data. • Appendices — Appendix A includes the full questionnaire that was distributed electronically to the state DOT respondents. Appendix B summarizes the individual agency responses to each question of the survey. Appendix C is a list of anticipated use cases collected from agency representatives who were interviewed after the survey was administered.

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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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