GAO Report 11-290 underscores the importance of data provision in contributing to better decision-making. More specifically, the article highlights the data gaps responsible for limitations in benefit or cost forecasting that can further impede decision makers’ attempts to forecast transit demand. Models that lack the necessary data to predict ridership are fruitless attempts at making such analyses. The availability of a common data source is also important in maintaining accurate and consistent analyses, so projects can be readily compared to each other.
Geographic Information System (GIS) tools can assist in organizing and facilitating data sharing, thus promoting better decision-making. And by utilizing a standardized data format, a GIS allays concerns about system interoperability, and can have positive effects through the use of data benchmarking. Open data sharing can allow transit agencies to take advantage of beneficial practices implemented elsewhere.
In lieu of the GIS component to the open data sharing initiative, the Transit GIS Clearinghouse is in a key position to be a galvanizing force through which webinars and other tools that facilitate decision-making for agencies can be provided.
For the entire GAO report, please click here.