There is a wealth of available information that can help agencies address critical challenges, but managing and making use of these resources presents its own set of obstacles. Transportation practitioners need better ways of finding relevant information on demand and agencies are seeking more effective and efficient means for managing and sharing information across the enterprise.
SPP led an effort that identified critical transportation agency challenges and packaged a set of pertinent information resources into a Knowledge Portal. This Portal provides a structured, searchable, and extensible web-based repository designed to help agencies quickly find relevant information for diagnosing and addressing specific issues. The Portal serves as a resource base to support strategic planning and help agencies respond to specific operational needs as they arise. It recognizes the diversity of agency needs and situations and does not attempt to provide a single prescribed approach to challenges.
The Knowledge Portal has been developed with 4 key features:
- Faceted tagging approach. Each information resource is tagged based on several different facets or categories of interest – type of need addressed, source of the information resource, target audience for the information resource, and type of resource.
- Central metadata repository. The core of the Portal is a repository of resources relevant to transportation agency management issues. This repository provides a common structure for describing each information resource, including an abstract that allows the user to quickly discern the relevance of the resource to their particular need.
- Multiple views. The Portal provides multiple ways to access the repository. This collection of views allows different types of users to narrow down the set of resources to those that are most relevant for their specific need, and to find information in the way that works best for them.
- Extensibility. The Portal is designed so that items in the information repository are not directly linked to the views. When a user selects a link, the metadata repository is queried based on a combination of facet tag values assigned to that link. This decoupled approach allows for new resources to be added and included in the existing views where applicable without any changes to the Portal website.
For more information, click here for a recent article by SPP president Hyun-A Park, published in TR News. The article describes a practical toolkit to help transportation agencies find and share relevant information for diagnosing and addressing specific workforce issues.
TR News © National Academy of Sciences, posted with permission of the Transportation Research Board.