TRB Special Report 284: Transportation Knowledge Networks: A Management Strategy for the 21st Century, was published in 2006. This National Research Council policy study is the most recent of a series of studies focusing on the importance of managing information related to the transportation sector (see Special Note F). The study was a direct follow-up to NCHRP Project 20-07(142), Scoping Study for a National Strategic Plan for Transportation Information Management; a report on the findings of this study was released in 2003. The scoping study was conducted in response to a resolution from the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee, which recognized the importance of access to information and made recommendations to address deficiencies in the networks, funding, and expertise needed to make that information available in a timely and efficient manner.
The study that produced Special Report 284 was to provide strategic advice to the federal government and the states regarding a sustainable administrative structure and funding mechanism for meeting the information services needs of the transportation sector. The report made a number of recommendations for the governance, organizational structure, and funding mechanisms needed to implement transportation knowledge networks nationally. It is clear that secure, sustainable funding will be key to the success of this effort, along with strong national leadership and commitment from those who will champion the implementation of transportation knowledge networks across the country.
A concerted effort is needed to begin implementing the recommendations of the study. This NCHRP project will serve as a first step in what will be a long-term effort to gain increased efficiencies, cost savings, and quality through better management of transportation information. This project developed a business plan to initiate the implementation of transportation knowledge networks in the United States.
NCHRP Report 643 is available on the TRB website.
In a follow-up effort, the research team developed a Directory of U.S. transportation libraries and information centers that could be potential participants in the TKNs. This Directory can be found on the National Transportation Library website. The final report documenting how this Directory was developed and structured can be downloaded here.