State transportation agencies and other transportation agencies produce, store, manage, and use substantial amounts of diverse data and information to support their transportation-system performance management, project delivery, asset management, public safety, environmental protection, and other business areas. Periodic assessment of their data’s costs and effectiveness, and management practices in supporting the agency’s business needs is a means for ensuring that their data are relevant, current, reliable, secure, well documented, and available for analysis and decision making; and that duplications of data collection efforts are avoided.
NCHRP research produced a guidebook, NCHRP Report 814: Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide, to help state agencies and metropolitan planning organization decision makers and data practitioners to evaluate and improve their data quality and data management practices. The guide was published in 2015. Supplemental materials produced in the underlying research—a PowerPoint executive presentation, a flyer outlining the data self-assessment process, and spreadsheet tools to assist agency implementation of a self-assessment process—were intended to facilitate application of the practices presented in the guidebook.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) collaborated with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to sponsor two workshops—in December 2017 and January 2018 engaging 12 states and one metropolitan agency—to encourage dissemination and application of the principles and practices presented in NCHRP Report 814 and the supplemental materials. An objective of the workshops was to encourage agencies to apply and demonstrate the benefits of these principles and practices and thereby attract other agencies to undertake data self-assessment. The Data Self-Assessment Workshops: Final Report documented this effort. (See Special Note B.)
The workshop participants indicated that agencies at current levels of maturity in data management need assistance—beyond that provided by NCHRP Report 814—to effectively adapt and apply the principles and practices presented in the self-assessment guide. Many of the participating agencies expressed interest in follow-up activities that could provide such assistance tailored to the specific characteristics and perceived needs of each agency.
The objectives of this research are to encourage dissemination and application of the principles and practices presented in NCHRP Report 814: Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide by (1) developing a plan to deliver professional services support for selected agencies undertaking to apply the principles and practices presented in NCHRP Report 814; (2) preparing guidance and communication materials, supplemental to NCHRP Report 814, on preparation for and support of the conduct of a data self-assessment; (3) providing limited assistance to each agency during the data self-assessment; and (4) documenting effective practices of participating agencies that could be transferrable to other agencies for adopting principles and practices for assessing and improving their data adequacy to support agency business needs. Upon completion of this research project, each participating agency should have developed and at least initiated action to follow a management roadmap for implementing unified, enterprise-wide governance of transportation system data self-assessment.