Contracting Tools for Transportation Data

Troves of transportation data can be, and are, produced by smart infrastructure. Municipalities collect various kinds of transportation data, including traffic information such as accidents, flows, and volumes; bicycle information such as bike counts; pedestrian information such as pedestrian counts; smart bus stop information; street mapping information; location information for traffic signals; mapping details such as the miles of city streets; and information on roadwork and infrastructure planning such as construction or road closures expected to affect traffic.

Governments, educational institutions, non-profit enterprises, and businesses find transportation data useful for purposes such as improving infrastructure, reducing traffic congestion, improving vehicle and pedestrian safety, providing public security and emergency services, making transportation services more accessible, improving civic planning and design, research and development of new mobility products and services (including machine learning), and researching other potential uses for the data. Wider availability and sharing of transportation data would help to facilitate the development, testing, and adoption of smart infrastructure and connected and automated modes of transportation (collectively, “smart mobility products and services”).

However, there are barriers to the accessibility of transportation data for these purposes. One is that there is a lack of standardization and clarity in the permissions granted when transportation data is made available, and another is that privacy and other concerns prevent much of the data that could be useful from being made available; an example of the latter is the discontinuation of a smart streetlights project in San Diego due to concerns about the potential use of transportation data for surveillance purposes.

This paper explores license provisions and contracting tools that data providers can consider using when making transportation data publicly available. Part II describes the kinds of provisions that data providers typically include in the licenses or other terms and conditions that they apply to transportation data. Part III examines the agreements under which specific municipalities in four states (Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona) make transportation data publicly available, including pursuant to template agreements. Part IV identifies additional template agreements that are available for use by data providers when making data publicly available. Finally, Part V sets out key considerations for data providers in choosing the terms under which they make their transportation data available.

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