State of Transportation Statistics - Box 3

State of Transportation Statistics - Box 3

Categories of Data Users and Their Needs

Policymakers in government or business make transportation decisions at the local, state, or federal level. Many groups-lobbyists, opinion makers, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations-closely monitor or seek to influence such decisions.

Planners-public and private, government and business-need data collected over time for longer term purposes such as carrying out cost-benefit analyses, allocating resources, promulgating regulations, or planning programs and projects.

Operators include government representatives (e.g., air traffic controllers or emergency responders) and industry personnel (e.g., freight dispatchers). They run day-to-day operations and often require real-time data about specific locations, vehicles, events, or conditions to make on-the-spot decisions to control operations and to provide information to transportation system users.

Enforcers are generally government officials, although there are private security organizations that have similar responsibilities. They need data to ensure the safety and integrity of the transportation system by monitoring and controlling the transportation system users. They can accomplish this with a mix of real-time and historical data about individuals, events, and locations.

Academics doing basic or applied research in support of one of the other four categories. They generally use very detailed data, often collected over time, that allow them to hone in on a specific issue.