The world of “big data” has flooded the transportation community with new data types, technical terms, analytical techniques, and specialized skills. Even the most technically savvy can find that making sense of new and emerging freight data sources is like drinking from a firehose. This Guide synthesizes much of the discussion around new freight data sources and distills salient information about them in a consistent, accessible, and easy-to-use “reference” format.
For executives and decision-makers who would like to revisit past research on freight data topics, or become acquainted with policy issues and technical implementation challenges involving freight, our annotated list on relevant NCFRP research can help.
If you are a transportation decision-maker who wants to learn about the attributes of a new freight-relevant data source – for instance, Computer Vision or Inductive Loop Signatures – you can selectively refer to the succinct descriptions contained in this Guide, organized as a “library” of sources.
If your agency is ready to explore and integrate a new data source into your existing operations, you might find inspiration in the case vignettes and best practices organized by thematic area.
The Guide includes a Source-Use Concept Map to make it easy to see how different types of data, analysis, and challenges are linked. On the left of the figure, the five challenge areas are shown (‘Challenges Addressed’). Emerging and new data sources, of which there are primarily eight types, are shown on the right of the figure (‘Data Sources’). The middle of the concept map links data sources to challenge areas via the analytical approaches which transform data into insights for decision-making (‘Analytical Uses’).
The interactive version of the Guide available online allows you to navigate the Source-Use Concept Map by hovering and clicking on each of the elements. Individual pages contain video vignettes, page downloads, and other valuable resources.