Develop collaborations with probe and crowdsourced data platforms to manage traffic in real-time, make better infrastructure decisions, and provide accurate and relevant travel information directly to citizens.

This report presents challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s experience establishing a program collaboration with third parties and use of crowdsourced data through Waze’s Connected Citizens Program.


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Lesson Learned

Develop collaborations with probe and crowdsourced data platforms to manage traffic in real-time, make better infrastructure decisions, and provide accurate and relevant travel information directly to citizens. The collaboration was championed in 2016 by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as part of Waze's Connected Citizens Program. Crowdsourcing is a way for agencies to listen to customers, letting them share their data and wisdom with other customers to manage expectations and provide information, while at the same time gaining valuable insights from data analysis.
  • Clearly articulate the opportunities of partnerships to induce change in agency mindsets. Many agencies and their staff are more comfortable owning and controlling data sources and traveler information systems. Internal agency coordination helps agencies and staff to understand the opportunities that different models offer and when trading off some of the cost and control can lead to more effectively meeting agency goals.
  • Implement flexible procurement practices. Agency procurement methods have mostly been developed around purchasing goods or services in which interested companies actively seek to enter into contracts. While some probe data providers are well equipped for this type of procurement, a company such as Waze may not be looking for any payment, yet want to enter into a legal agreement. One possible mitigation is bringing knowledge of the strategic underpinnings, and their champions within the agency, into discussions with procurement staff to consider requests outside normal processes.
  • Bridge gaps between agency staff and third-party company staff. The Port Authority has found it valuable to add staff who are experienced working in the tech sector to be embedded in the agency to develop an understanding of agency needs and goals while also being able to speak with the tech companies in their own language. This language goes beyond technical terms into understanding the motivations and work flow processes that can be very different from most agencies.
  • Revisit roles and responsibilities of agency information technology and traffic staff. The influx of data into agency functions, including traffic engineering and operations, has induced a need to revisit the roles and responsibilities of agency IT staff (in the Technology Department at the Port Authority) and traffic engineering/operations. Data has been transitioning from relatively smaller data sets used by specialized software within various departments to enterprise level, with new data sources needing sophisticated procurement, storage, analysis, and fusion.
  • Develop data visualizations so that it is actionable for planning and operations. The power of data comes from analyzing, interpreting, and applying it. For many audiences, an easy to understand visual representation is most effective. Different audiences and different purposes can require different types of presentations. Understanding the intended applications and seeking user feedback can improve the quality of materials presented.
  • Set open and robust data standards. The Port Authority is pursuing the SharedStreets vision for an open API as a "shared language for the world’s streets," and is looking to incorporate the interface in its advanced traffic management system (ATMS). SharedStreets is a project of the National Associate of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Open Transport Partnership.

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Opportunities and Challenges of Probe and Crowdsourced Data Initiatives for MultiModel Planning and Operations: Insights from the Experience of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Author: Kaplan, A.; R. Laub; F. Ijaz; B. Kaplan; and K. Swindler

Published By: ITS America Meeting 2019

Source Date: 03/01/2018

URL: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/59c3ed7b197aeabbd2a51a3b/t/5b2a51b970a6ad7b5280a7e0/1529500090132/TS19_Paper15645.pdf

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Lesson ID: 2019-00894