ITS Data Needs: How Much Do We Really Need to Know? - FY11 TechPlan

Principal Investigator:

Frank Douma, Director, SLPP, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project Summary:

Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) need vehicle location, speed, and route data to function. While often these data include little or no information about the users of the transportation system, many ITS applications require some data about the users, including information about their specific location, travel patterns, and/or identity. Realization of the need to share these data has led to some opposition, or at least political controversy over whether the benefits of the ITS application outweigh the costs of the loss, or perceived loss, of privacy to the user. This work analyzes where the law allows those involved in the ITS development and deployment process to achieve their goals, and where the law and/or these goals come into conflict. In the latter situations, the research will identify what types of data, or methods for obtaining it, create the conflict and provide recommendations for resolving these conflicts by suggesting alternative data collection methods and/or a means of shielding the identity of the user that achieves similar ends without the level of specificity that originally created the conflict. As of June 30, 2012, researchers had completed updating the toolbox and taxonomy to increase the specificity of how privacy concerns are raised depending on what data are collected and how they are used, as well as recognizing that the distinction between "public" and "private" actors is more of a continuum than a distinct difference; they also continued to define the particular points where the data needs and privacy concerns come into conflict. Additionally, researchers identified and recruited a panel of experts in ITS and privacy issues and were completing a draft report of various actors and their points of view in this discussion. This draft was reviewed by the panel for accuracy and improvement and was revised accordingly. This process informed the creation of schematic illustration of the "web of interests," a table articulating potential methods for mitigating conflicting interests, and recommendations for achieving these ends.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 01/2011
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Research Implementation