T3 Webinar Overview

Learn from the Experts: Open Data Policy Guidelines for Transit - Maximizing Real Time and Schedule Data-Legalities, Evolutions, Customer Perspectives, Challenges, and Economic Opportunities - Part II

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Date:   Thursday, August 7, 2014
Time:  1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET
Cost:  All T3 webinars are free of charge
PDH:  1.5   View PDH Policy

T3 Webinars are brought to you by the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Professional Capacity Building Program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U. S. DOT) ITS Joint Program Office (JPO). References in this webinar to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. DOT.


“The transit industry is in the midst of a revolution from being data poor to data rich.”1 As a result, the need is greater for better management and policies to handle the newfound wealth.

As transit agencies continue to address increasing service demands and decreasing budgets, maximizing technology and data investments through open data policies is necessary to retain and attract customers. Webinar participants will be introduced to the opportunities that open data provide and the challenges to overcoming technology and implementation strategies. This session will also focus on the legalities of open data in transit, including copyright laws, licensing, political and legal barriers, customer perceptions, confidentiality, governance, and economic development.

Attendees should expect to learn about the benefits of open data policies and how transit agencies have successfully partnered with private entities to produce more real-time schedule information through the use and sharing of data. This informative webinar will serve as a foundation for developing transit agencies' guidelines to share schedule and real-time data. This session will highlight the experiences of several transit agencies that have had long histories of producing and sharing real-time and scheduled data for customers and private sector third party developers.

Part I of this webinar, “Learn from the Legal Experts: Open Data Policy Guidelines for Transit - Maximizing Real Time and Schedule Data Use and Investments,” was broadcasted on December 5, 2013. See T3 Webinar archive link: http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov/t3/s131205_open_data.asp.


Mr. Martin Catala, Manager, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Informatics Group, Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR), University of South Florida, will give a brief overview of the project underway with the Federal Transit Administration on “Open Data Policy Guidelines for Transit.” The webinar will focus on transit data relating to legal frameworks, 3rd party developers, schedules and situational status, such as passenger load, predictive arrival time, and vehicle location. The findings from this webinar will be incorporated into a guide for transit agencies interested in successfully implementing and sharing open data within the transit industry.

Dr. Larry W. Thomas, J.D., Ph.D, founder of The Thomas Law Firm in Washington, D.C., will discuss whether and to what extent there is legal protection for an agency's real-time or other data. Dr. Thomas will discuss whether data may be protected under the copyright laws and whether there are alternative means that agencies may use to protect their proprietary rights in data.

Mr. Lou Milrad, B.A., LL.B, founder of MilradLaw in Toronto, Canada, will relay an overview of the legal framework and economic development opportunities for open data. This will include open data opportunities for collaboration; differentiating open data terms' uses from commercial licensing, addressing privacy and confidentiality concerns, and economic development and community engagement.

Dr. Kari Edison Watkins, PE, PhD, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, will share her experiences working as the interface between developers and transit agencies both locally in Atlanta and nationally. She will discuss the evolution of the presentation of transit data, how data standards enable better communication to riders, and case study findings from discussions with transit agencies about open data.

Mr. Dan Overgaard, Supervisor, Systems Development and Operations, King County Metro Transit, Seattle, WA, will address King County Metro's evolution in providing real-time information, managing customer expectations, and the data management and organizational challenges involved in improving the quality of real time information.

Learning Objectives

This webinar will:

  • Offer guidelines for transit agencies seeking to share schedule and real-time data;
  • Provide examples of business models for data sharing and challenges through case studies;
  • Establish a long-term vision of moving beyond sharing data to measuring its impact;
  • Showcase the lessons learned and best practices of sharing open data;
  • Determine what characteristics are important to transit agencies when implementing new systems for data sharing; and
  • Discuss the sharing of open data, legal ownership of real-time and schedule information, legal challenges, and the political liability of open data.

Target Audience

  • Transit operations and customer information managers, developers of transit applications, consultants, vendors, academia, government officials, including those in local, State, and Federal Departments of Transportation (DOTs), and any other individuals or entities involved in the design, procurement, deployment, integration, management or evaluation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and traveler information technologies.
  • Those wanting to learn more about open data policies, state-of-the-art technologies, legal governance, economic benefits, licensing, copyrights of open data sharing and use.


Charlene M. Wilder, Transportation Management Specialist, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. DOT, (Washington, D.C.)

photograph of Charlene Wilder

Ms. Wilder is a Transportation Management Specialist for the Federal Transit Administration, in Washington, D.C. She manages ITS Projects for the Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation. Her areas of expertise include open data guidelines for transit; rural ITS coordination; advanced technologies for persons with disabilities; and traveler information systems, including 511 and real-time information systems. Ms. Wilder has a B.S Degree from Troy State University and an M.A. from Central Michigan University.

Ms. Wilder previously served as the Federal host for the following T3 Webinars:


Martin Catala, Manager GIS and Informatics Group, CUTR University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)

photograph of Martin Catala

Martin Catala has over 15 years of experience with GIS for transit analysis. His experience includes mobile data collection, transit GIS analysis, transit performance measures, livability, open-data policy development, database administration and design, and project management. He is the co-chair of the National Transit GIS Conference and National Center for Transit Research, Transit GIS Clearinghouse and a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Spatial Data and Information Science (ABJ60).

Dr. Larry W. Thomas, J.D., PhD, Founder of the Thomas Law Firm (Washington, D.C.)

photograph of Larry Thomas

Larry W. Thomas, J.D., Ph.D, founder of The Thomas Law Firm in Washington, D.C., is the author of numerous Legal Research Digests published by the Transportation Research Board, including one entitled “Legal Arrangements for Use and Control of Real-Time Data,” Legal Research Digest 37 (June 2011). Dr. Thomas is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, New York, and Virginia. He specializes in international commercial law and arbitration, as well as transportation law.

Mr. Thomas is a frequent presenter on transit data and organizational structures at national and international conferences.

Mr. Lou Milrad, B.A., LL.B, MilradLaw - Public-Private Technical Alliances (Toronto, Canada)

photograph of Lou Milrad

Prior to establishing MilradLaw, a business and IT law practice and advisory boutique, Mr. Milrad served as Associate Counsel at a Canadian national law firm. He served as Chair and as CEO to the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA), the Greater Toronto Area's (GTA's) Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) agency. At GTMA, Mr. Milrad, initiated and oversaw the development and launching of strategic plans and broadened the GTMA's public/private recruiting strengths with transit authorities, GTA colleges and universities, and technical and financial service sector partners.

In addition to actively practicing law, Mr. Milrad is the Creator and Editor of “Computers and Information Technology,” a 4-volume annotated series of technology legal contract precedents, published by Carswell, a Division of Thomson Reuters, and now into its 20th release. He is recognized by The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario as an Access by Design Ambassador for Open Data (ABD) and appointed as Canada's Associate General Counsel for the U.S.-based International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA).

Dr. Kari Edison Watkins, PE, PhD, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)

photograph of Kari Edison Watkins

Dr. Kari Edison Watkins is an Assistant Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She returned to her undergraduate alma mater to become a faculty member in 2011 after completing her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. Her teaching and research interests revolve around multi-modal transportation planning and the use of technology in transportation, especially as related to transit planning and operations and improved traveler information.

At the University of Washington, Dr. Watkins co-created the OneBusAway program (http://onebusaway.org/) to provide transit rider information tools and assess their impacts on riders in greater Seattle-Tacoma. OneBusAway has won numerous awards and Dr. Watkins dissertation was awarded the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) Wootan Award for best dissertation in transportation policy and planning. Dr. Watkins was recently recognized by Mass Transit Magazine as a Top 40 under 40, and she has twice been invited to a National Academy of Engineers Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium.

Dan Overgaard, Supervisor, Systems Development and Operations, King County Metro (Seattle, WA)

photograph of Dan Overgaard

Mr. Overgaard has over 35 years of experience in transit operations, project management, and supervision at King County Metro. He has been a project manager and project supervisor on several key technology initiatives at King County, including the implementation of Metro's first Computer-Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) system in the early 1990s; the implementation of smart card fare collection in the Puget Sound's multi-agency ORCA system; and the implementation of several other Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies, including Metro's recently deployed Bus Rapid Transit program, RapidRide. He was involved in the development of the Transit Communications Interface Profiles (TCIP) data standard.

Peter G. Furth, Brendon Hemily, Theo H.J. Muller, and James G. Strathman, “Using Archived AVL-APC Data to Improve Transit Performance and Management,” Transit Cooperative Research Program, TCRP Report 113, Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC (2006), hereinafter cited as “TCRP Report 113,” at 25, available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_113.pdf, last accessed on December 7, 2009.