What to do with all that data?

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Is there such a thing as too much data? In transportation, big data is being produced through smart technology in abundance. It’s being generated so fast it’s difficult to analyze and use. For just one autonomous vehicle, there is 4,000 GB of data produced each day. There is valuable information contained in all that data, but who oversees it and how does anyone sort through it? GBA’s Traffic Group Leader, Mandy Anderson, is researching this very issue. She wants to know what information can be gathered to improve data driven decision making. We need to be able to extract and transform transportation generated data more efficiently. Currently, there are many correlations being drawn from this data, but they may not be useful in achieving GBA’s priority, safer roads. Anderson wants to know what kind of useful information we can gather from big data for our clients. “Right now, one of the biggest hurdles being faced with big data is how to manage and store it. Many of our clients collect significant amounts of data from their transportation systems but have no way to evaluate the information collected.  Additionally, these clients only retain their data for a short period of time and then discard it,” said Anderson. Another hurdle is trying to figure what additional engineering resources we will need to manage this data, including staffing, computing, and storage needs. Once we figure out the best way to collect, organize and manage the data, we will be better able to use data collected from smart technologies. From traffic signal systems and connected and autonomous vehicles, we will be able to learn things like where road congestion is occurring, corridor travel speeds and special information or other possible roadway concerns. Big data will come from thousands of sources creating a composite that provides the most accurate and reliable information possible. GBA can then use this information to assist our clients with prioritizing projects and solving problems. Partnering with gba Systems Integrators, GBA’s Traffic group wants to get ahead of Big Data so we can start using it on our client’s projects. We are excited for where big data can take us.

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