North Carolina uses new SAS analytics platform to improve transport network

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is deploying the latest in analytics software from SAS to stay ahead of rapid growth, evolving infrastructure demands, and disruptive developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous vehicles (AVs).

NCDOT is extending its use of the SAS Platform to include the company’s Viya software platform that adds capabilities for artificial intelligence (AI), open access to all data types, open language processing, and cloud deployments, to power its pioneering Transportation Analytics Center, which integrates data from multiple agencies to improve customer service and reduce costs across NCDOT.

The agency’s use of additional SAS software builds on the previous success of a budget and revenue forecasting project, which used analytics to forecast the costs of more than 1,300 projects and revealed that NCDOT could plan for US$267m over two years in new road projects, while still meeting the cash amount requirements that must kept in its highway fund at all times.

Using SAS Viya in its Transportation Analytics Center, NCDOT can improve operations in a number of areas, including:

• Reducing traffic accident fatalities by analyzing crash data and contributing factors, and providing counter measures, with the information reported to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA);

• Collecting, analyzing and reporting on data on highways, freight movement and bridge and roadway conditions, as mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21);

• Providing real-time analysis of traffic data to make more informed decisions about mobility, rerouting and traffic congestion in cases of rush-hour traffic, road construction, weather and other traffic incidents;

• Improving response time in clearing traffic congestions and bottlenecks on a state’s roadway network;

• Improving roadway project visibility by being able to pull up a section of road on a map and see data regarding the current and future projects planned for that area;

• Tapping into the IoT by collecting data transmitted from signal cabinets, instead of manual collection, to better manage signal timing on roadways; and

• Enabling a platform to get more involved in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), including collecting safety messages from vehicles.

“We saw the power and potential of analytics through our early projects with SAS,” said Frank Winn, NCDOT’s acting chief information officer. “The Transportation Analytics Center will transform operations by allowing us to leverage existing data in ways we never have before, and by leading us to manage and govern new data that will increase standardization and utilization.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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