Digital Innovation in Transportation

Technology-based solutions deliver efficiency, data-driven decision making

Transportation leaders face increasing pressure to deliver objective decision making and to meet higher expectations for transparency – and all amid limited resources. Digital innovation is important for driving technology-based solutions that can help overcome these challenges and deliver more efficiency and data-driven decision making.

Key challenges that can be solved with digital innovation
The need to do more with less and an enhanced expectation of transparency require a higher level of stakeholder coordination, information sharing and faster, more objective decision making. Currently, there also is the need for enhanced knowledge capture due to the rising level of expertise leaving organizations as employees retire.

Agencies can struggle to understand what data they have and even whether they can rely on that data. Data can be so duplicative, unorganized and dense that it is nothing more than digital “exhaust." Take that same data but transform it into actively managed and organized information, and you can incorporate it into your organization to consume in a more meaningful way. Structuring data to create a scalable, modern enterprise data architecture, ongoing advancements will make it easier for DOTs and transportation agencies to leverage into significant operational gains.

Implementing technology-based solutions
When launching an enterprise initiative, it helps to start with strategic planning. And at implementation launch, the use of pilot projects or small, incremental roll-outs are effective ways to encourage cultural adoption and get employees on board.

There are some innovative approaches to resource and fund digital transformation projects, including grant and shared-funding opportunities. The U.S. Department of Transportation offers advanced technology grants, mostly around ITS and mobility. A lot of other agencies, especially tollways and turnpikes, have flexibility within capital projects to fund startup initiatives. And because most technology implementations result in improved efficiencies and cost savings, there can be a way to shift the operating budget to fund technology-related initiatives while also reaping more savings in the future.

If decision makers can put the tools, processes and people in place that are connected to trustworthy and meaningful information (not just “data”), that helps improve efficiency and the ability to do more with less. Whether it’s putting in place off-the-shelf tools, building your own solutions, or using automation, artificial intelligence or machine learning, getting your organization to the point where it can trust and rely on its data is key.