Rudin researcher Sarah M. Kaufman attended the National Association of Regional Councils‘ Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, last week to present the Open Transportation Data Guide. With a crowd composed mainly of small city representatives, the presentation focused on traffic-related applications, like highway incident data, crowdsourced stop sign locations, and road condition alerts.
A common question following the presentation was whether a market existed for app development in rural areas: the answer is yes, mostly because transportation data usually exists in universal formats that can be plugged-and-played in many applications (which may already have been developed elsewhere, and could be tweaked for another location). To that end, transportation agencies of all sizes are encouraged to open their data in standard formats and let the developers modify it as needed.
Other presentations of note included a primer on transit project funding mechanisms by Kevin DeGood of Transportation for America, in which he discussed the pros and cons of federal grants and advocated for increased public-private partnerships. The presentation is part of a financing guidebook set for release this summer.
Finally, Kevin Harrison, Director of Transportation Planning at South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, presented an ongoing project that will use travelers’ mobile phone activity (anonymously) to track transportation around the region. This data will will used for travel demand forecasting, helping the region determine priority needs. The project will conclude in several months, but is already proving beneficial, Harrison remarked.
The NYU Rudin Center is eager to participate in future NARC events.