Harmonizing Data in an Evolving World

The top priority for the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO) is and always will be safety. The need for safety underlies all our program areas, including our focus on enabling access to core transportation data across the ITS ecosystem. Data access is crucial to the development and integration of innovative ITS technologies, such as connected and automated vehicles, that promise to drive our transportation into the future. This future vision is one of reduced crashes and enhanced mobility options for all travelers, but it won’t be realized without a massive effort to bring about broad access and exchange of harmonized ITS data.

The ITS JPO’s Data Access and Exchanges program is working across U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) modes and Office of the Secretary offices to develop and coordinate ITS data access and exchanges. For example, access to data is a critical enabler for the safe, efficient, and accessible integration of automated vehicles into the transportation system. In particular, up-to-date information about the location and characteristics of work zones can help both automated driving systems and human drivers travel more safely. Thus, the U.S. DOT launched the Work Zone Data Exchange (WZDx) to enable infrastructure owners and operators to make harmonized work zone data available for third-party use. This summer, the U.S. DOT issued a $2.4 million Notice of Funding Opportunity for WZDx Demonstration Grants for public roadway operators to make unified work zone data feeds available for third parties to improve roadway safety.

In addition, the ITS JPO’s Data Access and Exchanges program developed several key tools to support access to ITS data and code such as ITS DataHub, the Secure Data Commons (SDC), and ITS CodeHub. ITS DataHub provides open ITS research data to the public, while the SDC offers access to sensitive, transportation-related information to approved researchers in a private, secure cloud-based analytics platform. ITS CodeHub is a resource that provides open source code, software, and more to the ITS community and enables code collaboration and re-use. All three of these tools improve access to ITS data and source code from multimodal ITS research investments.

These advances in data access and exchange allow both the public and private sectors to improve transportation services and better target investments. They also have a positive impact on innovation; accountability; and, most importantly, safety—all of which are essential for the next generation of transportation.

Until next time, let’s focus on creating a better future for all.

Ken Leonard
ITS JPO Director

Posted 9/10/20