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November/December 2009
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Truth-in-Data

A proposed new standard being developed by ASTM International Committee E17 on Vehicle-Pavement Systems will be the first to describe how truth-in-data should be applied to traffic monitoring data collection, summarization and reporting.

WK25280, Practice for Highway Traffic Monitoring Truth-in-Data, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E17.52 on Traffic Monitoring.

Current traffic monitoring standards, such as E2667, Practice for Acquiring Intersection Turning Movement Traffic Data, are based on the principle of truth-in-data, which states that the opportunity to collect data that advise safe and efficient transportation carries with it the obligation to report how the data were collected, edited, summarized and reported.

“The proposed standard will help ensure traffic monitoring data are understood and can be compared within and among agencies now and over time,” says David Albright, E17 member and transportation safety program manager, Bernalillo County Public Works Division, Bernalillo County, N.M.

“It is imperative to meaningfully compare among highway projects because there are more needs than funds,” says Albright. “Projects are compared using traffic monitoring data that indicate the need for lanes and trails, traffic signals and improvements to reduce crash probability and severity. A traffic monitoring truth-in-data standard will ensure these data are consistent and comparable.”

WK25280 will affect highway investment and ongoing operational and safety decisions, and ultimately every person who travels, according to Albright.

Albright notes that potential users of WK25280 include traffic monitoring system developers, traffic data collectors and traffic data users who will be able to integrate their separate but related activities through use of the proposed standard.

Subcommittee E17.52 encourages involvement in the development of WK25280 from both public and private sector organizations.

“Public sector interests are found at all levels of government: local, state and national,” Albright says. “A truth-in-data standard will involve personnel from the field technician who collects data to the policy maker who uses the data to select a project for funding.”

Regarding the private sector, Albright points to technology-based companies with products to collect traffic data; system developers with products to accept, summarize and report traffic data; and engineering consulting firms with services to apply traffic data to solve operational and safety problems, as being among those who could contribute to the development of WK25280.

CONTACT

Technical Information: David Albright, Bernalillo County Public Works, Albuquerque, N.M.

Phone: 505-848-1516

ASTM Staff: Daniel Smith

Phone: 610-832-9727