Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Visualization tools are being applied and used in other transportation-related activities such as project planning and design, performance measurement reporting systems, and Advanced Traveler Information System activities. Those other areas of application have their own needs and requirements and different audiences for whom the visualizations are being prepared. As such, the resulting visualizations tend to be organized, formatted, or structured differently from those presented in this state-of-the-practice review.
It is beyond the scope of this review to also explore and cull out useful methods and techniques from those other areas of application to see how they might also apply for use in the CMPs prepared by MPOs. Nevertheless some MPO staff indirectly appear to have been doing that and the evolving state-of-the-practice is beginning to reflect that of other areas and the overall state-of-the-art in the visualization of the use and performance of transportation systems. There are textbooks and nationally held workshops on the use of visualizations in the analysis of quantitative information. While the methods and techniques still have many aspects of an art, they are becoming more of a science that is based on the psychology and physiology of the perception of visualizations of data and information.
It is also important to note that in recent years a Committee on Visualization in Transportation was formed at the Transportation Research Board. That Committee has co-sponsored workshops and sessions with other Committees including those on: (1) Performance Measurement, (2) Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations, and (3) Metropolitan Policy, Planning, and Processes. Further, a biennial conference is organized by the Committees within the Data and Information Systems Section, termed the North American Travel Monitoring Exposition and Conference (NATMEC), and supported by other organizations, including FHWA. At that conference in recent years, new state-of-the-art visualizations of data about congestion of the transportation system have often been presented and highlighted. Staff from MPOs who are involved in CMP activities attend and present improved methods, techniques, and data sources associated with the visualization of congestion.