Center Identification Number: 77604
Project Title: The National Smart Transportation Archive Researcher (NSTAR) Program
Nevine Georggi, Research Associate
Sara Hendricks, Senior Research Associate
Sean Barbeau, Visiting Research Associate
Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
External Project Contact:
Public Transportation Office / Transit Planning
I. Project Objective/Problem Statement
Develop and maintain National Smart Transportation Archive Researcher (NSTAR) database. The database is intended to increase the adoption of demand management strategies by employers and localities through providing employers with useful data on successful TDM programs at other similar employment sites. The adoption of such programs will increase benefits to businesses, commuters, and communities resulting from reductions in traffic congestion, emissions, and dependence on foreign oil.
II. Project Abstract
At the 2004 TRB meeting, the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) identified five key long-term goals. At the top of the list was the collection of data and case studies reflecting the effectiveness of TDM strategies and providing a source of reference to practitioners to solve transportation problems including mode shifts towards transit, vanpool, carpool, biking and other commute alternatives.
Currently, the Florida Department of
Transportation has been working with the Center for Urban Transportation
Research (CUTR) and Urbantrans (a Colorado based consulting firm) to develop
a similar resource for the state of Florida. The Florida Smart
Transportation Archive Researcher (FSTAR) is an online, searchable database
of TDM case studies – an easy-to-use, web-based resource tool allowing users
to search for Florida-specific TDM case studies through a variety of search
These case studies provide sample models for inference by TDM practitioners who over time have been constantly searching for proven strategies. This is especially evidenced by the large amount of requests for various case studies received on the NCTR National TDM and Telework Clearinghouse listserv hosted by CUTR.
This proposal is timely since, 1) it complements an existing Florida initiative by expanding the scope to a national level, 2) meets an identified top priority of TDM practitioners, and 3) takes advantage of the existing infrastructure at CUTR and FSTAR to attract and host a national initiative.
The proposed scope of services for this project consists of the following tasks.
Task 1: Review of FSTAR System Design and Literature review
1.1 Obtain copy of the existing Florida Smart Transportation Archive Researcher (FSTAR) system from the Association for Commuter Transportation’s contractor, UrbanTrans and review its design. Staff will research advantages/disadvantages of different systems and whether to purchase a server to have on-site or have the server hosted remotely through a dedicated server plan. Options include retaining the system design by UrbanTrans or revising it. Considerations include an option to design the NSTAR as an application that can be added to web sites of targeted groups. This could be in the form of a text link that is embedded into highly targeted websites and appear on search engines as sponsors. In other words, instead of targeted groups needing to know about the NSTAR before they can search for it, the NSTAR would appear as a box on the web sites of selected organizations, such as that for the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) and sites of other organizations whose members would be interested in this information. Another consideration is the possibility of creating separate graphical user interfaces (GUI) for different groups. For example, a GUI for employers might need to be different from that for TDM professionals. Another consideration is to organize, store, present and filter the data, based upon a tracking of how people use a search string. Staff would examine the Google model and other user-friendly web sites to identify general search principles. This would inform how to craft a database design that maximizes functionality. If staff chooses to retain the existing design, UrbanTrans may need to be retained to convert their database which is currently on a LINUX-based system to a SQL server application.
1.2 Create a peer review panel to advise the research team working on NSTAR,
with invited peers including representatives from ACT, APTA and an end user
of the database, such as a TDM practitioner.
Task 2: Case Study Database System Design
The quality of case studies is highly variable. Many of the current TDM case studies are anecdotal in nature. While such case studies are illustrative of the possibilities that can be achieved, they often lack a comprehensive view of the program, including the context of implementation. Usually the case study also examines only one clearly defined time period. Thus, the case studies have limited ability to be generally applied.
We will use the following definition used by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) for a case study to help guide the ultimate system design and determine what case studies will be included in “Best Practices” report (Task 4): “A case study is a method for learning about a complex instance, based on a comprehensive understanding of that instance obtained by extensive description and analysis of that instance take as a whole and in its context.” However, a tiered approach for “case studies” may be pursued (e.g., Level 1 “anecdotal” to Level 5 “comprehensive”)
2.1 Create criteria for assessing the tiered system.
Deliverable: Technical Memorandum 1 – Literature and Case Study Review and System Design
Task 3: Database Development and Data Collection
Depending on the system design specifications, the team will either need to modify an existing database and/or create a new design. The database will be web based.
3.1 Review and respond to peer review comments and suggestions.
Deliverable: Technical Memorandum 2 — Database User Guide and System Documentation
Task 4: Develop Best Practices Report and Technology Transfer
The final task will be to develop a Best Practices Guide, CUTR will:
There will be three deliverables for this project. Technical Memorandum 1 – Literature and Case Study Review and System Design will be submitted at the completion of Task 2. Technical Memorandum 2 – Database User Guide and System Documentation will be submitted at the completion of Task 3. Final deliverables will include a streaming media presentation, a website, and the Best Practices Final Report, in both draft and final forms. Once approved by the FDOT Project Manager and the Research Office, 12 copies of the Final Report, an electronic version, and an electronic version of the project summary will be submitted to the Research Office.
V. Project Schedule
VI. Project Budget
Notes: This budget does not reflect any federal participation. The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above. Budget requests includes salaries for clerical and administrative staff, postage, telephone calls, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.
It is possible that a decision will be made to purchase a server to have on-site.
This research project is intended to result in a user-friendly searchable on-line database for the transit industry and for TDM professionals in particular. As such, an implementation plan is not necessary.
IX. Student Involvement
Graduate students may provide assistance with the literature review, database and graphical user interface design, data collection, qualitative and quantitative analyses, and/or report writing.
X. Relationship to Other Research Projects
This project extends the original FSTAR project for Florida into an archive of case studies nationwide. It will encompass previous data collection efforts by Tucson, Los Angeles and the Puget Sound region of Washington State as well as case studies collected by other organizations, such as the Association for Commuter Transportation.
XI. Technology Transfer Activities/Peer Review
The results of this analysis will be provided to the FDOT through a series of technical memoranda and a final report, as outlined above. Copies of the final report will be provided to the Research Office, the State Public Transportation Administrator, the Manager of the Transit Office, and those organizations that significantly contributed with data from multiple sites. Information will also be made available through the CUTR and NCTR websites and presentations at state and national conferences.
XII. Potential Benefits of the Project
The potential benefits of the project include the increased adoption of and expansion to demand management strategies by employers and localities. It can save transportation professionals significant time and resources in locating examples to help guide program design. The adoption of such programs will increase benefits to businesses, commuters, and communities resulting from reductions in traffic congestion, emissions, and dependence on foreign oil. The project will also benefit TDM groups to help define the role and explain the impact of TDM strategies to both local and national policy makers.
XIII. TRB Keywords
Transportation demand management, transit, qualitative analysis, TDM performance
National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · www.nctr.usf.edu · Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org