Two state DOT’s launch ‘open data’ portals for public access


As part of an increasing trend toward the accountability and availability of information, two state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) in the USA have launched new ‘open data’ portals for public and business access.

Less than a month after Governor Tom Wolf announced steps to make Pennsylvania’s data more transparent and accessible to the public, Pennsylvania DOT (PennDOT) has launched an open data portal housing data ranging from roadway pavement conditions to rail facility locations. The portal uses the ArcGIS platform that has already been deployed by several states and helps local government, planning and business partners, as well as the public. The data, grouped by roadways, bridges, rail, facilities, boundaries and projects, can be used for mapping, sharing, charting and other uses. The majority of the available data is updated daily, with some more static data, such as boundaries, facilities and railways, receiving periodic updates. The site is compatible with any device or platform.

Data available for PennDOT’s construction projects is also used through the department’s projects website, which was launched last year to increase public information and transparency on active projects and those in the DOT’s Four and Twelve Year Plans. The public can also request access to PennDOT’s real-time, streaming video from its more than 700 traffic cameras, as well as its Road Condition Reporting System Data, which provides real-time traffic incident, roadwork and other data.

“At PennDOT, we’ve taken the governor’s mission of transparency and customer service to heart and this is one more way we’re demonstrating principles of a government that works,” noted PennDOT Secretary, Leslie S Richards. “Transportation is vital to our way of life and the more people can use our data, the better our overall services will be for Pennsylvanians. The data also offers an opportunity for application developers, students and others in private industry to analyze or pursue infrastructure issues and opportunities.”

Oklahoma DOT (ODOT) is also increasing transparency by providing a more interactive approach to many types of state maps and data through a new online portal. Designed as a one-stop, all-inclusive data experience for public use, the ODOT Map and Data Portal includes more than 30 interactive maps and data sets, such as the planned highway projects in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan, current construction updates, every railroad crossing in the state, bridges, live traffic times and cameras, as well as traffic counts for state highways, mileage chart generators and other information, including historical and population data going back to 1890. The online portal was created by ODOT in-house using the same ArcGIS Online industry-standard mapping platform as PennDOT. The new online portal also enables the DOT to maintain and update public data closer to real time. Some data will be updated weekly while other maps and data sets will be updated as needed.

“We create and maintain a tremendous amount of data about our state highway system that we want to make more readily accessible,” said Dawn Sullivan, ODOT’s director of capital programs. “This portal will be useful to contractors and vendors, as well as the general public wanting to learn more about construction plans and highway conditions for their area.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).