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June 8, 2017 9:00 AM, EDT

Federal Highway Administration Partners With Inrix to Measure, Monitor, Report Health of Road Networks

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Traffic data from Inrix Inc., a Kirkland, Wash.-based global provider of car services and transportation analytics, will soon be helping to shape the federal government’s thought process on highway and driver issues.

Inrix’s data have been selected for inclusion in the Federal Highway Administration's National Performance Management Research Data Set starting in July, the company announced June 5.

Adding its data to FHWA's Research Data Set, which states use to monitor system performance, will assist federal, state and regional agencies in assessing travel reliability, congestion and emissions — and it will serve as the baseline for the national data set, Mark Burfeind, Inrix's director of public relations, told Government Technology magazine.

The company, a leading driving intelligence provider to automakers and transportation agencies, already shares intelligence with automakers, including BMW and Ford, state departments of transportation and the Denmark Road Directorate.

Beginning in July 2017, its travel time data will be available to all state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations to establish performance targets and report on progress.

“The contract with the federal government as it currently stands is only around travel times. What this program does is, it actually uses travel times as a way to measure, monitor and report the health of road networks back to the federal government,” Burfeind told Government Technology.

Inrix was selected based on the quality of its data to replace a previous provider, through its response to a request for information/request for proposal process, Burfeind said, and will be retained on a multiyear contract. Its data will be made available starting in the middle of July but will cover all of 2017 so far.

Scott Sedlik, vice president and general manager of global public sector at Inrix, said the company is proud of the new pact.

“This federal win is further proof of the breadth and quality of our world-class traffic services,” Sedlik said in a statement.

Inrix, which aggregates anonymous GPS probe data from a wide array of commercial vehicle fleets, connected cars and mobile apps, will partner with the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory at the University of Maryland and others to support the National Performance Management Research Data Set through 2022.

The company will provide data to a portal operated by CATT Lab and used by transportation planners nationwide to understand the performance of roads and highways.

Inrix and the University of Maryland have a long collaboration history, including work on the Interstate 95 Corridor Coalition’s Vehicle Probe Project in the eastern United States.

Other project contributors include Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which will help Inrix establish and maintain the Research Data Set geographic information system location-referencing network files based on a federal network.

In its own news release on June 5, University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering announced CATT Lab’s “lead” role in the multimillion-dollar contract to offer data and technical support to transportation administrators with the goal to “more accurately pinpoint where infrastructure improvements are needed most.”

During the project, funded by FHWA, the partners will begin managing the Research Data Set in July and incorporate Inrix data.

The team will use its hands-on experience and web-based tools to help states and regions that previously may have struggled to measure their performance using the data, CATT Lab Director Michael Pack said in a statement.

“Many states and metropolitan planning organizations have had to pay outside data experts to get the answers they need from NPMRDS,” Pack said in a statement, noting CATT Lab’s tools should “substantially reduce those costs and improve users’ access” to analyses needed to make informed decisions.

NPMRDS offers information on passenger and commercial freight roadway performance across the National Highway System and more than 25 Canadian and Mexican border crossings. It is considered the baseline data set for meeting new federal congestion and freight performance reporting regulations.

A webinar for state and regional transportation groups interested in learning about new NPMRDS data and their applications is scheduled for July 20.