Press Release

UMD-Led Transportation Data Project Will Help Officials Prioritize Infrastructure Improvements

A more robust national data set and cutting-edge analysis tools will make identifying areas and times with the highest traffic congestion easier.


Anjanette Riley
301 405 2057

The Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab) at the University of Maryland (UMD) will lead a multi-million dollar contract to provide transportation administrators with data and technical support to more accurately pinpoint where infrastructure improvements are needed most.

The five-year project, funded by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and conducted in collaboration with INRIX, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and KMJ Consulting Inc., will also bolster efforts by federal, state, and regional officials to maintain safe, efficient transportation networks and make it easier to comply with federal reporting requirements.

In July, project partners will take over management of the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS), beginning with the substitution of existing GPS probe data with a more robust data set. NPMRDS is designed to reveal high congestion areas and times—information states and metropolitan planning organizations rely on when allocating funds to improve road safety, provide all-weather road connectivity, and promote the efficient movement of passengers and goods.

But its size and complexity has made harnessing the full power of the existing data set difficult.

“In addition to providing a more complete and representative data set, our team brings to bear our hands-on experience of assisting states and regions who were struggling with the prior data set and performance monitoring. We will provide web-based tools that make it substantially easier to work with the data,” said CATT Lab Director Michael Pack, adding that the lab previously worked with FHWA to improve NPMRDS by analyzing gaps, outliers, and the impact of differences in contributing data.

CATT Lab, part of UMD’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is the largest big data transportation operations research and development center in the world. With a team of more than 100 engineers, software developers, and researchers, the lab develops analysis, visualization, training, and educational tools that transform transportation planning, resource use, coordination, and real-time operations by local, state, and federal agencies as well as private companies.

Real-time location and speed data from a broad array of commercial vehicle fleets, connected cars, and mobile applications will be provided by INRIX, a leading transportation analytics company. INRIX and UMD have a long and successful partnership delivering projects and services to public agencies, including the I-95 Corridor Coalition Vehicle Probe Project.

“We are proud to supply the underlying traffic data that will be used to monitor, measure, and improve many of our nation’s key roadways,” said Scott Sedlik, vice president and general manager – global public sector at INRIX. “This federal win is further proof of the breadth and quality of our world-class traffic services.”

Transportation experts at Texas A&M will stitch this data together with another FHWA roadway database to enable agencies to better integrate NPMRDS congestion data into their decision-making, while KMJ Consulting Inc., also a contributor to the I-95 project, will triage customer support and aid in project management.

As the prime contractor, CATT Lab will deliver cutting-edge online software that empower officials to deftly access and analyze the new data. Tools will be provided through the NPMRDS Analytics website.

“Many states and metropolitan planning organizations have had to pay outside data experts to get the answers they need from NPMRDS,” said Pack. “Our tools can substantially reduce those costs and improve user’s access to the location- and time-specific analysis needed to make informed decisions.”

One in particular could help transportation network officials save thousands as they work to meet new requirements administered through federal legislation commonly known as MAP-21. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act requires state and regional agencies to report on transportation performance measures—including highway congestion and reliability for passenger and freight vehicles—based on NPMRDS or a similar data set.

CATT Lab’s MAP-21 widget makes it possible to quickly and easily gauge progress on these performance measures and generate the charts, maps, and data files required for federal reporting.

State departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations interested in learning more about the new NPMRDS can register for a webinar scheduled for July 20, 2017 at 1–3 p.m. ET.


Part of the A. James Clark School of Engineering Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Maryland, CATT Lab supports national, state, and local efforts to provide safe and efficient transportation systems through improved operations and management by means of research and development, technology implementation, training, and education. The CATT Lab is supported by an interdisciplinary staff of graduate and undergraduate student researchers, affiliated faculty of the Department of Civil Engineering, and a permanent team of ITS professionals.