This week in Atlanta, Georgia, I attended the Conference on Performance and Data in Transportation Decision Making hosted by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The conference featured researchers, consultants, and state and local Department of Transportation (DOT) leaders sharing how better using data and quickly innovating to turn data into actionable insights is contributing to more efficient public transportation systems.
The immediate standout concepts for me were the two distinct aspects of a government data strategy. The first aspect is what the data is being used for, and the second aspect is how the agency is going to adapt people, process, and technology to support a real strategy that turns data into an asset. In a session titled, “Lessons Learned on Data Governance,” speaker Richard Boadi opened by covering both areas, speaking about how a successful data governance strategy is critical to improving policy development and informed decision-making for public sector transportation departments—and he affirmed that this cannot be done without significant investment.
Among all speakers in this session, including Michigan DOT’s Enterprise Information Management Director Tarun Malhotra, the consistent theme around the what and how of a data governance effort was the quality of information. For decision-makers, the challenge is genuinely trusting the data that has been output from analytics efforts to impact major transportation changes. For those performing the analytics, a major challenge is standardizing and cleaning up data that has been collected by siloed groups across the state, which often has unique types of data errors and formats. Because of this many agencies lamented the majority of time is spent preparing the data and only a minority of time is spent carrying out impactful analytics work. This spurred the question about how to eliminate these roadblocks to achieve faster and more accurate outcomes.
This was Experian’s first year attending a TRB-hosted event and we could not have been more thrilled with the level of engagement and expertise from the conference attendees. Our company works with public sector agencies to drive efficiency and make better decisions with our data quality software, and we are always excited about the opportunity to support transportation departments across the country. If your agency or consultancy group is experiencing challenges with poor data quality, we’re happy to start a conversation!