Lack of Data Still Impedes Multi-Modal Trip Navigation
"[Transportation] Agencies must help create a culture of information sharing in which standardization and openness are top priorities," according to the argument of an article by Chris Hamilton.
Such open data practices, according to Hamilton, are critical for finding new ways to balance demand for the use of roads and transit.
Hamilton goes on detail the example of Arlington County, Virginia, which is developing a CarFreeAtoZ app as part of its Transit Tech Initiative. In the attempt to bring together all of the user's options for getting around into one place, the developers of CarFreeAtoZ discovered that acquiring data ontransit, walking, and biking was relative easy. Finding data about carpools and vanpools, however, was a disjointed and time-consuming.
Hamilton describes how such lack of transparency fails to achieve the levels of public service that should be expected of publicly funded initiatives:
"Our frustrating experience with vanpool data and CarFreeAtoZ illustrates the challenges we face when important public-information resources become bottled up in closed, proprietary technology platforms. Much of the time – as in the case of the Vanpool Alliance – the data in question is collected and maintained as part of a public initiative and funded by public dollars. The fact that partner agencies – and the public itself – are unable to access this information without paying exorbitant fees indicates that the current system is broken, and needs to be fixed."