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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