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TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH DIGEST

ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

e-mail jsemmens@cox.net

NOVEMBER 2005

Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Transportation Organizations, Conference Proceedings 31 (Transportation Research Board, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20418; ph. 202-334-2934; http://www.national-academies.org/trb/bookstore) (2004).

Highlights

“Geospatial data” means information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features.

The role of government should shift from implementer to facilitator/enabler and role model.

Current and future transportation professionals at all levels should be well grounded in geospatial information.

Making well-informed, responsible decisions is critical to shaping the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Geospatial data are a foundation for relevant and critical information for planning, engineering, asset management, and operations associated with every transportation mode at all levels of government and administration. One definition of geospatial data is found in the executive order on coordinating geographic information and access: “Geospatial data” means information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on the earth. This information may be derived from, among other things, remote sensing, mapping, and surveying technologies. Statistical data may be included in this definition at the discretion of the collecting agency. Extracting these data, transforming them, and making them available to decision makers has dramatically increased in importance as all modes and levels of government face increasing responsibility for

improving efficiency while maintaining mobility, improving safety, and anticipating and addressing security threats.

Recommendations address strategies to enhance the interoperability of geospatial information among and across modal and multimodal transportation organizations. The committee believes that USDOT needs to take a leadership role for the transportation system as a whole. Likewise, each modal administration should develop capabilities to use these technologies and provide leadership within its mode.

Institutional Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of decision makers must evolve if we are to leverage geospatial information and tools to best advantage. This entails building and maintaining different relationships and enabling new and creative ways to do business. To accomplish this,

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The role of government should shift from implementer to facilitator/enabler and role model, allowing agencies to become more flexible and responsive;

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Different relationships should be established, both horizontally across functions and vertically across levels of government and the private sector, to ensure that resources are used most effectively;

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The transportation sector should play an active role in national and international activities associated with the establishment of standards and other

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