Federal Highway Administration seeks no-cost cloud for transportation data

FWHA seeks no-cost cloud for transportation data

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a request for information for developing a streamlined, one-stop shop that would open up its transportation datasets for broad analysis and economic development by commercial and other government groups.

One option being considered is the use of no-cost agreements wherein the data hosting company could  create and charge for value-added services.   

The cloud-based repository would open the agency’s vast holdings of information on road and bridge inventories, travel and operational data, system user data, fiscal data and pavement research, all of which the FHWA says provide economic value and promote environmental awareness. 

Currently only a small percentage of FHWA's data is posted on public servers and websites. In many cases the data is hosted on multiple servers in various formats, making it difficult to find and integrate data from these sources for analysis and decision making.

Additionally, the FHWA's large datasets require users to have substantial network, storage and computing capabilities of their own in order to work with the data. FHWA wants to reduce the bulky government framework in order to make its information more readily available for integration into business applications.

Besides surveying industry for a suitable cloud hosting solution, FHWA is interested in the feasibility of collaborating with companies using no-cost agreements to make FHWA’s data more publicly accessible and usable.

The idea calls for companies seeking to partner with FHWA to be responsible for funding the data shift to the cloud and costs related to their own technology infrastructure. 

The FHWA data moved to the cloud is expected to remain free to the public in its original, unaltered form. And though the agency wants to move its data to the cloud, it would still retain and maintain a “reference copy” of data provided to industry partners.

In return, the hosting partner can establish and perhaps charge for new value-added services and products.

Proposals are due by March 26. 

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.

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