Online data repository for statewide freight planning and analysis

Andre Y.C. Tok, Miyuan Zhao, Joseph Y.J. Chow, Stephen Ritchie, Dmitri Arkhipov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Freight transportation has a multifaceted impact on the economy, and the importance of understanding freight demand is increasing. There is a significant need to access a wide array of data sources for freight modeling and analysis. However, current data sources are not always easily accessible even with the availability of the Internet. Among the reasons are differing user interfaces, unavailability of data type definition, data format incompatibility, and inability to assess the scope of data conveniently. The repository developed in this study, the California Freight Data Repository, is a user-centered online tool designed from a systems perspective with several objectives. First, it facilitates convenient access, standardized interface, and a centralized location for obtaining freight data. Data dictionaries and lookup tables are provided for each data source to allow users to understand the scope of the data source and to give a clear definition of terms found in the data. A quality assessment summary is also provided to inform users of the strengths and limitations associated with each data source. Second, the repository is equipped with several geographic information system-based visualization tools intended to allow users to perform preliminary evaluation of data to determine their suitability for specific modeling or analysis needs. Third, the repository is designed with a customized search engine to retrieve web resources specifically associated with freight modeling and analysis. This paper presents the metadata architecture used for identifying data sources, the assessment framework used to evaluate selected data sources, and the system and interface design of the California Freight Data Repository. Several use cases are presented to demonstrate the applicability of this resource.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2246
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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