Data Rodeo: How Texas corrals its transportation data

Connect with state & local government leaders
 

Connecting state and local government leaders

The Data Rodeo project aims to synthesize existing transportation data and make it useful for transit agencies, researchers and third parties.

Cities collecting data to improve their transportation systems are rounding up public and private data from street sensors, GPS-enabled buses, automated vehicles and ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. But how can that data be most efficiently managed?

In Texas, it goes in a rodeo, of course.

The University of Texas at Austin's Data Rodeo project aims to corral and synthesize existing transportation data and make it useful for transit agencies, researchers and third parties.

The idea for the rodeo came a few years ago when the university's Center for Transportation Research was developing planning models for the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Some of the data required for the models came from the city of Austin, some came from surrounding Travis County, and some came from the state.

“We had to talk with 10 different people for over three weeks to get the information we needed,” said Natalia Ruiz Juri, a research associate at the CTR and director of its Network Modeling Center.

So rather than asking for data every time they needed it, the researchers centralized the information in the Data Rodeo.

The rodeo played a key part in Austin’s final application for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The city described it as a two-way open data management system "that enables travelers, public agencies, and Smart City partners to archive, analyze and access meaningful data and decision-making tools.”

The Data Rodeo collects various disconnected public and private data sources, tools and technologies for analyzing transportation data. It has three objectives: data archiving, data analysis and data accessibility, with an ultimate goal of delivering real-time access.

But rather than create a regional transportation dashboard, the Data Rodeo is "trying to be one step removed from that,” Juri said. The project is more about working with governments to open up their data to make it available for developers and researchers and centralizing application programming interfaces and other access points that are now dispersed across multiple agencies. 

The data will be coming from a variety of sensors that the region already has deployed, including those that count traffic, control signals and measure travel time. It could also store data from transit, like location of buses, and data from ride-sharing services like Lyft. Texas is also going to have some automated and connected vehicle test beds, and Juri said the data from those could be included in the rodeo.

“Because that’s very, very important for understanding how the vehicles may affect the transportation system in the future and this is a lot of data,” she said about the data from automated vehicles.

The Data Rodeo has been featured in hackathons that gave citizens a chance to provide ideas and insight. One event opened up anonymized Bluetooth data that estimates individual travel time to see what use cases developers could come up with. Another was an effort to see whether Raspberry Pis could provide as much accuracy as more expensive sensors. The less expensive alternatives are in the field, and researchers are comparing results to ensure they’re accurate enough to use going forward, Juri said.

As sensors bring more data to transportation agencies, there is a hope that the data will answer questions and solve problems. The Data Rodeo is just part of that effort, Juri said.

“We want to … understand how to get more value out of the data,” she said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.