Nearly every element of the transportation system produces voluminous quantities of data. Vehicle telematics systems generate data on vehicle operation, condition, incidents, and often location. Taxis produce data on location, pick-up, and delivery. Public transit systems generate data on scheduling, routes, and location of transit vehicles. Traffic control systems produce data on traffic speeds and volumes, system performance, and incidents. Freight vehicles create data on pick-up, trip, delivery status and route and tolling systems produce volume and speed data, while smart parking applications monitor parking availability and pricing. Even VMT pricing schemes are interested in miles traveled by zone, road class and perhaps time of day.
These data are controlled by a range of private and public entities whose policies for access, and business models, vary. In a limited number of cases, open data policies are followed. In many cases, data are being monetized and form the basis of new transportation enterprises. Generally speaking, the use of such data is in its infancy.
This Town Hall will present the case that we are rapidly approaching prime time for big data in transportation. Big data represents a new, differentiated set of transportation values for individual travelers as well as businesses across the industrial spectrum. Big data also represents a common set of values – safety, traffic efficiency, energy, environmental sustainability, and economic development – in a way that has not been possible prior to the current technological age.
Who will represent the individual, as well as the collective, interests in the roll-out of big data in transportation? How will value be created, and will we have sufficiently stable business models? How will we deal with the risks inherent in creating reliable information from multiple data streams? And what milestones do we envisage in deploying big data?