The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 53-14 [Final (Synthesis)]

Use of Probe Data for Freight Planning and Operations
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Research Agency: CPCS Transcom Inc.
Principal Investigator: Donald Ludlow
Effective Date: 1/20/2022
Completion Date: 7/20/2023
Comments: Published as NCHRP Synthesis Report 611: Use of Probe Data for Freight Planning and Operations
Fiscal Year: 2022

Final Scope
With the increased demand on supply chains, and factors such as resiliency and e-commerce, state departments of transportation (DOTs) rely more on probe data to understand the freight infrastructure needs, monitor freight infrastructure performance, and manage the demand. As the penetration of probe data has increased in the last decade, its usage in transportation planning and operations at state DOTs has become common. However, the application of probe data in freight is vastly different from traditional transportation planning usage. For instance, freight application tends to be specific to freight generators, freight attractors, and freight bottlenecks such as those near ports and borders, whereas the probe data may not be sufficient by itself.
The objective of this synthesis is to document current state DOT practices regarding the use of probe data in freight planning and modeling, and operations management applications.
Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):
  • Probe data providers for truck traffic that were utilized by DOTs and the range of applications for each and the observed limitations associated with the available probe data (e.g., applications near borders, ports, and other freight generators or attractors);
  • Use cases of probe data for freight planning/modeling, operations, and performance management (e.g., follow-up evaluations of infrastructure improvements);
  • Practices for fusing the probe data with other data sources (e.g., origins and destinations, commodity and load information, truck speeds and weather data, etc.).
  • Practices for conflating probe data network to DOT transportation networks (e.g., annual average daily traffic);
  • Practices on addressing biases in probe data;
  • Practices on probe data cleansing, analysis, maintenance, and stewardship;
  • Practices on funding the acquisition of, and navigating the procurement of, probe data and use restrictions; 
  • Uses or plans for probe data from emerging technologies (e.g., truck parking information management systems, connected and/or automated vehicles); and
  • Practices on building and leveraging partnerships (e.g., freight stakeholder groups, coalitions, vendors, metropolitan planning organizations, etc.).
Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.
TRB Staff
Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Phone: 202-334-2307
Email: twadsworth@nas.edu   
Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 26, 2021, Virtual meeting
Teleconference with Consultant: December 7, 2021
Second Panel: August 10, 2022, Washington, D.C.
Topic Panel Members
Kathleen Collins, Colorado Department of Transportation
Karen Faussett, Michigan Department of Transportation
Alexander Finch, Connecticut Department of Transportation
Fredrick Haith, North Carolina Department of Transportation
Habte Kassa, Georgia Department of Transportation
Geena Maskey, Texas Department of Transportation
Scott Weber, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
Jeffrey Purdy, Federal Highway Administration
Scott Babcock, Transportation Research Board
Published as NCHRP Synthesis Report 611: Use of Probe Data for Freight Planning and Operations available at https://doi.org/10.17226/27249. 

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