AASHTO Data Information TKN Recommendation

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AASHTO Data Information TKN Recommendation Powered By Docstoc
					                               AASHTO Research Team
                        Standing Committee on Research (SCOR)

Issue Area:     New Data and Information Title; Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Legislative Recommendations Summary: Establish a new title within the legislation
that covers “Data and Information”, including funding for the Bureau of Transportation

Policy Issue Discussion/Background
         Responsible and effective delivery of transportation programs requires robust and timely
data to support both planning and policy decisions. In theory, the Bureau of Transportation
Statistics is charged with handling national transportation data needs. However, lack of funding
has impeded the agency’s ability to carry out basic data collection and analysis activities in
areas as fundamental as travel behavior and commodity flow, among others. Strategic,
proactive efforts to collect and analyze data on new or emerging issues is nearly impossible. As
a result, Congress, the USDOT, and state DOTs are left without some essential tools to manage
a performance-based system that faces growing challenges in terms of increasing VMT, aging
infrastructure, and decreasing revenues.
       A separate title for data and information would give more visibility to these activities,
which are distinct from the types of data collection and analysis that are conducted in research

        More detailed recommendations may be prepared by other authorizations teams; SCOR
offers the following recommendations:

      Establish a new “Data and Information” title within the surface transportation legislation.
       BTS and related programs would be authorized in this title.
      BTS funding should be increased to ensure sufficient staffing levels.
      The National Household Transportation Study should be reinstituted to collect data on
       travel patterns on a regular basis
      Continuation of the Commodity Flow Survey to regularly collect freight data should be
      Fund the National Transportation Library.

                                                                                  Updated: 3-31-08
                               AASHTO Research Team
                        Standing Committee on Research (SCOR)

Issue Area: Training and Education

Legislative Recommendations Summary: Support for training and education
programs, including the National Highway Institute (NHI), Local Technical Assistance
Program/Tribal Technical Assistance Program (LTAP/TTAP), Garrett Morgan,
Eisenhower Fellowships, and other capacity building programs.

Policy Issue Discussion/Background
       Transportation Knowledge Networks: The advent of the Internet has made access to
information easier and it serves as the primary information resource for many transportation
professionals. Many organizations have reduced funding to libraries under the assumption that
information is readily available through the Internet at an employee’s desktop computer. This is
especially notable in the USDOT administration libraries which have all seen reduced budgets
and threats of elimination in recent years.
       Unfortunately, use of the Internet presents a number of challenges:
           The amount of information available is overwhelming, making it time-consuming to
            find relevant material.
           Resources are widely dispersed in web sites, paper and electronic publications,
            images, and databases, which can be difficult to navigate.
           Reliability of information and sources can be uncertain.
           Information published on websites is not stable: links may change or documents
            may be removed.

        There is a need to implement better strategies, based on the application of library
science, for managing transportation information. These strategies are known collectively as
Transportation Knowledge Management and include: information organization; access tools;
and management agreements among organizations. These strategies aim to: increase
efficiency of locating information, reduce user frustration, reduce storage space needs, and
ultimately support better decisions because of the availability of comprehensive and accurate
       The National Transportation Library is working with the USDOT Administrations; state
DOTs and others to develop working agreements and tools. However, the ability to deliver is
hampered by the lack of resources. This is particularly critical given the pending retirement of
the “baby boomers” and the concurrent anticipated loss of substantial institutional knowledge.
        Coordination and Collaboration of Transportation Research: Transportation research is
a highly decentralized enterprise, taking place in different modes, in agencies at the federal,
state, and local levels, and in both private sector and academic institutions. Many efforts are
made to coordinate these programs and support collaboration, but there is no one entity
responsible for overseeing and directing these efforts. Though a number of tools exist to

                                                                                  Updated: 3-31-08
coordinate transportation research and support collaboration, such as the Research in Progress
(RiP) and Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) databases, all entities do not
utilize these tools consistently.
       An ongoing, stable, funded effort to facilitate the coordination and collaboration of
transportation research could include components such as: a clearinghouse for transportation
research programs, projects, contacts, and funding sources; Transportation Pooled Fund
program and project management tools; performance measures, and tools for collaboration on
and coordination of transportation research nationally.
      In the proposed new “Data and Information” title, provide funding to support the
       development and implementation of Transportation Knowledge Networks under the
       direction of the National Transportation Library. Include seed grants to state DOTs to
       develop a library and enter their publications into the Online Computer Library Center
       catalog so that they can be found by other organizations. Proposed funding:
                FY 2010       $13.5 million
                FY 2011       $13.5 million
                FY 2012       $13.5 million
                FY 2013       $13.5 million
                FY 2014       $13.5 million
                FY 2015       $13.5 million

      In the proposed new “Data and Information” title, provide funding for the transportation
       sector in the coordination and collaboration of research. Funding should be provided for
       dedicated staff and resources to develop partnerships with organizations involved in
       transportation research; develop processes to better coordinate federal research and
       facilitate collaboration; and to understand the needs for, develop, maintain, and market a
       research collaboration website to exchange information on cross-modal research areas
       significantly impacting the transportation system. Proposed funding:
                 FY 2010        $5.0 million
                 FY 2011        $5.0 million
                 FY 2012        $5.0 million
                 FY 2013        $5.0 million
                 FY 2014        $5.0 million
                 FY 2015        $5.0 million

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