Friday, September 2, 2016

US Statistical Transit Map Bores into Freight and Logistics Data

New Online Tool Gives Overview of American Transport
Shipping News Feature
US – Say what you like about the American public service sector, it rarely does anything by halves as the latest project from the US Department of Transportation’s (DoT) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) goes to underline. Whilst of most use to statisticians concerned with the movement of passengers the just released National Transit Map is certainly not short on air freight and road haulage information and all of it, by definition, concerned with the business of logistics as a whole.

The site is a geospatial database containing the information submitted by almost 200 transit agencies that provides open, machine-readable data about their stops, routes, and schedules. In passing it also covers things such as cargo and postal tonnages moved from major centres such a airports. The national, openly available map of fixed-guideway and fixed-route transit service in America will be used by the DoT to identify and address gaps in access to public transportation.

BTS has worked jointly with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the DOT Office of the Chief Information Officer to develop and release the inaugural map. This first version of the National Transit Map contains data for 84% of the top 25 urban transit agencies with fixed route service, 74% of the top 50 agencies, and approximately one-third of all urban transit agencies with fixed route service. DOT is currently working to bring additional transit agencies on board for the second version of the map, scheduled to be released in late 2016.

The March 2016 request for the data from US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx resulted in the near 200 transit agencies responding and submitting data on over 385,000 stops and stations and 10,208 routes. This data will also support research, planning and analysis on the benefits of transit, such as the economic impacts of transit on a community’s economic development, or on reducing poverty in low-income neighbourhoods.

The National Transit Map will be a National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) within the National Transportation Atlas Database (NTAD) and will shortly include Interactive Mapping Apps that provide tools such as calculators for distances from transit stops, trip frequency and time of day coverage.