The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program, or BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant, provides a unique opportunity for DOT to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve national goals. The Congress has dedicated nearly $8.9 billion over twelve rounds of national infrastructure investments to fund projects with significant local or regional impact.
However, obtaining grants can be challenging due to the strong competition. So, how can we create a winning application and stand out among many other submitted projects?
Geospatial Big Data can provide valuable insights for urban and rural areas to get funds and improve transportation infrastructure. We have picked some key metrics that can boost most of the grant applications:
1. Traffic Counts
Geospatial Big Data analysis enables vehicular or pedestrian traffic counts. Any type of roadway traffic can be analyzed, from the busiest highways to rural roads where counting is not available or is still done by more traditional methods. Local councils and planners can leverage these insights to improve infrastructure, provide alternative routes if traffic is high, and identify which routes are most used. However, Geospatial Big Data also provides an environmentally useful way to analyze vehicle miles traveled to assess the air quality benefits of planned projects.
Learn about how Geospatial Big Data helped increase the efficiency of the Winnipeg transportation system in one of our case studies.
2. Population density and walking patterns
With Geospatial Big Data, we can analyze places with high population density, build dynamic heatmaps of human movements that can be transformed into bike lanes or walking paths, thus reducing motorized vehicles’ use while providing immediate health benefits.
3. Trips origins and destinations
Analyzing trips, from the origin point to the destination, can help understanding, for instance, the travel timing or the potential issues in the routes. This data is used as a foundation to improve roadway planning by forecasting more efficient routes, optimize existing routes and infrastructure, and diversify modes of transportation to reach a given destination.
4. Freight Travel Patterns
We can observe the benefits of Geospatial Big Data not only in public and private transportation but also in commercial travel. Tracking freight routes from point A to point B, observing their travel time, parking data, or segmenting commercial trucks from personal vehicles helps optimize travel patterns, congestion rate and ensure efficient logistics across the nation.
5. New traffic peaks and pollution areas
Especially in big cities, which are increasingly crowded and polluted, it’s important to identify areas with the highest traffic and pollution peaks. Geospatial Big Data has a positive effect on specific neighborhood analysis, allowing planners to make more targeted decisions on traffic flow management, new road infrastructure development, and new low-emission zones introduction.
6. New demand for bikes and pedestrian infrastructure
An increasing number of travelers opt to use micro-mobility services, such as bikes, e-bikes, scooters, or simply walking to move around the city. Transportation planners, however, have many open questions in this regard. Where is the highest demand for bike lanes or pedestrian space? What operational area is suitable for a new bike share service? What is the best location for docking stations or a scooter lane?
Geospatial Big Data analytics can answer these and many other questions, help city planners improve existing infrastructure increasing environmental benefits, and identify areas with a strong demand for new spaces and lanes for non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians.
7. Audience information
Demographic data and psychographic insights into who visits a specific location can help define the economic benefits gained from tourism. These data also enable the establishment of goals that focus on a more equitable distribution of transportation projects.
8. Study analysis
Knowing which are the most common routes, we can assess the travel market and identify where a structural improvement or new infrastructure is needed. Moreover, with Geospatial Big Data, transportation engineers can simulate the impact on the traffic during and after the construction. A detailed analysis of project goals and predicted benefits can show why one project should be prioritized over others.
Creating a winning application is not easy but possible. Knowing the intensity of congestion on a given roadway network, analyzing the economic benefits of projects, simulating improved traffic, and quantifying reduced travel times are valuable insights obtained from Geospatial Big Data analysis that help grant applicants to stand among the competitors.