is a new website for transportation
researchers and analysts, aimed at providing “one stop shopping” for
transportation data. The premise
is fairly simple: By reducing the
time needed for data gathering, more time is available for analysis. And by providing easy linkages across
many data sets, we can help achieve new insights. Ultimately, this should result in more timely and more
informed decisions, and a better transportation system.
Up to now, the process of compiling
data to analyze a problem commonly has involved searching for data sources,
contacting various data providers to get the data, often repeated contacts to
get more information about the data, then sorting through the data and
integrating data from various sources for analysis. This can be a very labor-intensive process, often taking
months. TranStats is an
e-government initiative aimed at streamlining this whole process.
analysts several unique features:
searchable index of over 100 transportation-related
data bases across every mode of transportation — with many social and
demographic data sets that are commonly used in transportation analysis.
download—the ability to choose variables of interest and download
the data directly to your PC for analysis using any data base, spreadsheet, or
data documentation—profiles on each data base, summary
information about the tables that comprise a data base, data definitions and
code information for data variables.
analytical tools—the ability to do simple statistical
summaries, create time series or cross tabulations, generate graphics online,
and cut/paste results into reports.
mapping to help visualize geographic data
mapping center with the full National Transportation Atlas Data Base, as
well as applications for easily mapping DOT Grants and several other key data
Users can explore
the data by transportation mode or by subject area, use keyword searches to
find relevant datasets, and get online help. And since all the data in TranStats are indexed with a
transportation thesaurus, links to other transportation research are easy
through the National Transportation Library.
several side benefits as well.
It’s often said that data improve with use. Having all of the data in one place provides new
opportunities for improving data quality, comparability and coverage. It also provides an opportunity to more
easily develop standards for presentation and documentation, to make
transportation data more usable.