351 McCormick Dr.
P.O. Box 400742
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4742
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)
VDOT has made and continues to make significant investments in data collection. These efforts have resulted in a wealth of information that is used to support agency wide asset management and decision-making. However, to most effectively utilize these data it will be important to integrate data collected and maintained by individual Divisions of the agency. Sharing data across Divisions is often difficult and there are a variety of reasons for this difficulty. Despite the difficulty, there is significant potential that the agency would benefit in the long term from data integration efforts. Some of the potential benefits include (i) maximizing the value of often expensive data collection efforts, (ii) reducing data collection costs by organizing cross-divisional data collection efforts, and (iii) providing an integrated view of VDOT assets to support decision-making during day-to-day operations and extreme event management. Furthermore, there is a high likelihood that integrating data resources across the agency will lead to innovative analytical tools that improve management and operation of VDOT assets. This high level of potential, and clear linkages to addressing sustainability issues ranging from extreme event management required by more severe weather and the enhanced management of assets in regions experiencing sea level rise, make an exploration of this topic ideal for the MATS UTC/VCTIR partnership.
The objectives of this research are to recommend methods for agency-wide data integration and to demonstrate the value of integrated data management for VDOT. The demonstration will focus on a case study for the Hampton Roads region. We propose to focus on Hampton Roads because the region faces complex challenges including sea level rise impacts on transportation infrastructure and extreme event management from hurricanes. These challenges make data integration across divisions particularly valuable for this region. The specific research tasks to be performed are described below.
- Identify key VDOT databases. We will work with VDOT to identify key databases, at least one from three or more Divisions, which would be useful for decision making outside of the Division collecting and maintaining the data.
- Design data integration method. We will research and recommend an approach for integrating the data across the databases. The approach must acknowledge and accommodate for the fact that each Division maintains control of their own data, but that the data is integrated within an agency-wide system. We have collaborated with VDOT’s Information Technology Division in prior research and propose to work with this Division to leverage existing approaches so that our recommendations are in line with the Division’s current capabilities and future plans.
- Test and demonstrate data integration through case studies. Create case studies that demonstrate the value of data integration for various VDOT needs including asset management. The case studies will be designed to illustrate one or more of the following ideas: (i) leveraging data integration to support day-to-day decision making, such as better management of stormwater outfalls within the context of transportation infrastructure, (ii) leveraging data integration to support decision making during extreme events where having an integrated view of the system in pre and post disaster recovery is critical, and (iii) illustrating the ability to better support collection of new datasets by better understanding existing information and gaps in current understanding. Different case studies or project goals may lead to the identification of different data and integration needs.
The primary deliverable from this work will be a report that outlines the following.
- The motivation for VDOT to invest in data integration.
- Specific case studies that illustrate to a non-technical audience of potential advantages of data integration for the agency in terms of improved assessment management.
- Recommendations for improving data integration that will leverage and complement existing efforts by VDOT’s IT Division.
We will also deliver to VDOT the example integrated datasets created for the Hampton Roads region to support the research aims.
Web Links to Reports and to the Project website
Final Report as submitted to VTRC in May, 2016: