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Field data acquisition technologies for Iowa transportation agencies.
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Field data acquisition technologies for Iowa transportation agencies.
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    Final report.
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  • Abstract:
    This report describes the results of the research project investigating the use of

    advanced field data acquisition technologies for lowa transponation agencies. The

    objectives of the research project were to (1) research and evaluate current data

    acquisition technologies for field data collection, manipulation, and reporting; (2)

    identify the current field data collection approach and the interest level in applying

    current technologies within Iowa transportation agencies; and (3) summarize

    findings, prioritize technology needs, and provide recommendations regarding

    suitable applications for future development. A steering committee consisting of

    state, city, and county transportation officials provided guidance during this project.

    Technologies considered in this study included (1) data storage (bar coding, radio

    frequency identification, touch buttons, magnetic stripes, and video logging); (2) data

    recognition (voice recognition and optical character recognition); (3) field

    referencing systems (global positioning systems [GPS] and geographic information

    systems [GIs]); (4) data transmission (radio frequency data communications and

    electronic data interchange); and (5) portable computers (pen-based computers). The

    literature review revealed that many of these technologies could have useful

    applications in the transponation industry.

    A survey was developed to explain current data collection methods and identify the

    interest in using advanced field data collection technologies. Surveys were sent out to

    county and city engineers and state representatives responsible for certain programs

    (e.g., maintenance management and construction management). Results showed that

    almost all field data are collected using manual approaches and are hand-carried to

    the office where they are either entered into a computer or manually stored. A lack of

    standardization was apparent for the type of software applications used by each

    agency--even the types of forms used to manually collect data differed by agency.

    Furthermore, interest in using advanced field data collection technologies depended

    upon the technology, program (e.g.. pavement or sign management), and agency type

    (e.g., state, city, or county). The state and larger cities and counties seemed to be

    interested in using several of the technologies, whereas smaller agencies appeared to

    have very little interest in using advanced techniques to capture data. A more

    thorough analysis of the survey results is provided in the report.

    Recommendations are made to enhance the use of advanced field data acquisition

    technologies in Iowa transportation agencies: (1) Appoint a statewide task group to

    coordinate the effort to automate field data collection and reporting within the Iowa

    transportation agencies. Subgroups representing the cities, counties, and state should

    be formed with oversight provided by the statewide task group. (2) Educate

    employees so that they become familiar with the various field data acquisition


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