Transportation databases expand

Transportation databases expand

The Transportation Department yesterday released its 2003 National Transportation Atlas Databases, a collection of 23 geospatial databases for all modes of transportation and associated networks and infrastructure.

The latest version adds four databases about metropolitan planning organizations that fund transportation projects within their boundaries. Also, 14 databases have been updated.

Department secretary Norman Y. Mineta said the national database atlas brings closer to reality 'the potential power and promise of geographic information systems as the ultimate visual and spatial transportation planning tool.'

The national freight road database analyzes by state the spatial characteristics of national highway freight flows. Data components can be linked to show freight movements across the nation's transportation infrastructure.

The databases are downloadable in Shapefile format and are compatible with most GIS software, as well as available on CD-ROM. See the Mapping Center at TranStats at transtats.bts.gov/mappingcenter.asp (select the "Geospatial Data" link). And the CD-ROMs may be ordered from www.bts.gov/btsprod (select the "Geospatial Information and Maps" link). For technical information, contact Matt Sheppard at 202-309-0936.

Separately, Transportation is partnering with Geographic Data Technology Inc. of San Diego to improve bridge location data in its National Bridge Inventory for better reporting and investment planning.

GDT, a developer of map databases, already provides Transportation agencies with a common street, highway and address database. The bridge inventory includes data about physical dimensions and condition of every bridge in the United States. Individual states collect and submit the information annually to the Federal Highway Administration, which uses it for reports and infrastructure investment planning.

GDT will match its nationwide street and address database against Transportation's nearly 500,000 bridge inventory records. The street and address database is the foundation for accident reporting systems of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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