Iowa DOT Traffic Operations Open Data Service

Project status

In progress

Start date: 08/01/16
End date: 12/31/17


Principal investigators:

Co-principal investigators:

About the research

The Iowa DOT is committed to reducing commercial vehicle crashes related to work zones and incidents by implementing a new program providing a high quality, near real-time, free open data service. This open data service would be available for any commercial, public, or private entity to develop their own applications or integrate these data into their existing hardware/software and logistics systems. The one-stop data service will provide considerable savings to DOT and local agency staff who currently have to seek out and access this information from multiple sources and formats.

The goal of this effort is to establish the Iowa DOT open traffic data service, which will allow vendors and agencies to provide near real-time, proactive alerts to commercial drivers regarding traffic conditions along their routes. The Iowa DOT is not expecting to create end-user applications for this data service; rather, the goal is to make the data service available and allow third-party vendors the opportunity to develop their own end-user applications.

The Iowa DOT anticipates consideration and capturing data from a number of existing DOT data sources, including the following:

  • Iowa’s statewide 511 Traveler Information System
  • Iowa’s Advanced Traffic Management System (TransSuite software) used by the Traffic Management Center
  • Iowa’s Road Weather Information System (RWIS)
  • Bridge clearance/weight restriction data
  • Timely crash data in an appropriate format
  • Iowa’s lane closure system (in development)
  • Weather Data provided by MesoNet fusing multiple data sources

The data will be processed through a load and accuracy verification procedure to clean the data and ensure a high quality data service. It is envisioned that once created, the system will live in the cloud and function continuously and autonomously.

Documentation of all project activities will be in the form of an accessible user’s guide, which will describe overall data architecture, the data which are included, who the data are governed by, who has access to the data, data update cycles, etc. The guide will be written in a format for ease of modification over time.

With access to these data, vendors can create systems that provide near real-time, proactive alerts to commercial vehicle drivers as they are approaching a work zone, incident, or congestion.  These alert systems could be broadcast through commercial vehicle transponders and other on-board electronic systems, as well as via smartphones and motor carrier routing/dispatch systems.

These results will serve to benefit all road users’ safety and mobility. In addition, the data service has the potential to provide considerable cost savings across all freight systems utilizing the Iowa transportation network.


Sponsor(s): Iowa Department of Transportation