Management & Operations

NACTO, partner launch transportation data standard, platform

Posted on February 23, 2018

The SharedStreets data standard provides a new, global, non-proprietary system for describing streets that is designed to be compatible with any source of street data, public or private. Image: NACTO
The SharedStreets data standard provides a new, global, non-proprietary system for describing streets that is designed to be compatible with any source of street data, public or private. Image: NACTO

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Open Transport Partnership announced the launch of SharedStreets, a first-of-its-kind transportation data standard and platform for public-private partnerships that allows cities to work with companies to manage streets, reduce traffic deaths, and prepare for the unprecedented technological advancement emerging in cities’ transportation networks.

Currently, street-level data standards used by private companies and public agencies are incompatible, limiting the utility of current and future data-sharing agreements. The SharedStreets data standard provides a new, global, non-proprietary system for describing streets that is designed to be compatible with any source of street data, public or private. As a ‘connector,’ the data standard takes an innovative approach to streets — based around unique, simplified intersection-to-intersection characteristics, rather than relying on a full, complex base map. This method also protects intellectual property — key data points, not the often complex, proprietary methods used to obtain them, are matched and exchanged.

“The map of the city belongs to the people,” said Seleta Reynolds, GM of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and NACTO president. “SharedStreets sets first principles for smart cities and companies to partner rather than compete as we design streets to work for everyone.”

The full suite of SharedStreets tools also includes a new hub for industry-leading planning and analysis. Based on the possibilities opened by the open SharedStreets data standard, the SharedStreets data commons provides a neutral, anonymized clearinghouse for data, ensuring that numerous streams of street-level information collected by transportation providers, auto companies, tech companies, and government agencies are available for analysis, traffic planning, street design and development of new technologies. The platform overcomes legal, regulatory and technological barriers that have long created a digital divide between the public and private sectors.

Designed to expand as cities and companies import new types of data, the platform currently focuses on three crucial functions: traffic safety, real-time traffic monitoring, and curb management. Each of these features has been designed to be rapidly deployed in cities around the world as they sign on to the SharedStreets platform.

The platform will convert today’s ad hoc and disparate transportation data from public and private sector sources into a mutually readable, shared, global standard for the first time, providing a universal language for digitally describing every aspect of city streets, opening a new market to private sector innovators, and eliminating the need to manually “clean” and collate data sources, saving crucial public funds.

SharedStreets — through its data standard and platform — eliminates the need for companies to tailor communications and tools on a case-by-case basis for individual cities, and provides access to a global network of leading cities to enable technological advancements. The data standard is hosted on Github, the world’s largest repository of open-source software.


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