T3 Webinar Overview

Using Crowdsourced Data from Social Media to Enhance TMC Operations

View Webinar: link to this webinar's archive materials

Date:   Wednesday, March 11, 2015
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.


Crowdsourcing has been identified as one of the top trends and technologies that traffic management agencies can adapt and take advantage of from outside the transportation community to improve data quality, coverage, and cost. The growth in popular social networking tools is apparent in transportation, and many agencies employ social media as a customer networking resource but not a major source of real time information. The amount of information that can be generated, communicated and processed in real time by these systems will significantly impact TMC operations in the years to come. Transportation Management Centers (TMCs) should consider using the data from social media and turn it into information to support decision making in an operational context. The promise of advances in the ability to extract meaningful information from social media platforms and other ways to gather crowdsourced data for TMCs will undoubtedly make transportation safer and more efficient.

The purpose of this webinar is to assess the opportunity for agencies to work with crowdsourced data. The webinar features four case studies, presented by knowledgeable agency staff who will describe examples of active projects from different states to integrate crowdsourced data into TMC operations.


John Horner will present the highlights from the state of the practice review for TMC use of crowdsourced data, focusing on the findings from the study’s survey, interviews, and workshop.

Sinclair Stolle will discuss the case study in Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT). IDOT has a strong social media engagement program. It has grown to be a great asset in using it to gather and respond to information on traffic operations in Iowa.

Rakesh Nune will discuss social media initiative taken by District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT). As a part of the research program, DDOT looked at extracting and analyzing social media for incident management and incident collection. This is relatively a new concept and not much literature was available to do it. A new algorithm was developed to carefully retrieve incident tweets from the twitter stream. The algorithm extracts the right geographically based key words and ranks them based on the relevance to get traffic information. The project work was presented at TRB 2015 Annual Meeting.

Elizabeth Birriel will discuss Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT’s) experience with integrating WAZE data into Transportation Management Center operations and the Florida 511 Traveler Information System.

Lisa Miller will discuss the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Citizen Reporter program. This program was launched in 2012 as a way to get additional information on road conditions through Utah. Since its launch, UDOT has gathered thousands of reports from trained citizens who submit road/weather data through an industry-first smartphone app. Additional program enhancements are planned for the future.

Jeff Adler will present a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) model framework to provide guidance for agencies who want to advance crowdsourced data projects. Within the SWOT model, the strengths and weaknesses are used to assess the internal readiness of a TMC. Focus is on the operational, institutional, and technical considerations that would influence how successful an agency would be in planning and executing crowdsourced data projects.

Learning Objectives

Attendees of the webinar will expect to learn about:

Target Audiences


James Pol, HRDS Technical Director, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), (Washington, D.C.)

photograph of James Pol

James Pol is the Technical Director for the FHWA Office of Safety Research & Development. Mr. Pol coordinates activities with the FHWA Office of Safety, the FHWA Resource Center, and other national associations to ensure that Safety R&D products and services meet customers’ needs. He provides technical advice to the Office Director and to the Director of the Research, Development, and Technology (RD&T) on new opportunities, trends, and emerging technologies, and potential applications to the Safety and other research programs. Mr. Pol has a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master's in Computer Systems Management from the University of Maryland, and he is a registered professional engineer in Delaware. He is also a certified Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute.


Greg Hatcher, PMP, Senior Transportation Engineer, Noblis

photograph of Greg Hatcher

Greg Hatcher is a project manager and senior transportation engineer for Noblis in Washington, DC, with 24 years of ITS experience. Mr. Hatcher served as the project manager for the task that is the subject of this webinar, “Estimate Benefits of Crowdsourced Data from Social Media.” He currently provides technical and management services to the USDOT ITS program on tasks including the Evaluation Program and Integrated Corridor Management (ICM), and manages the team of analysts and developers responsible for operating, improving, and maintaining the ITS Benefits, Costs, and Lessons Learned Knowledge Resources for the ITS Joint Program Office.


John Horner, P.E., Principal Systems Engineer, Open Roads Consulting

photo of John Horner

John Horner offers a unique combination of experience in transportation systems engineering, and software development. He has worked as a software developer for over 20 years, and has significant experience working with transportation operations systems. At Open Roads, Mr. Horner serves the dual role as technical lead and transportation consultant for ITS application design and systems integration. He holds degrees in both Computer Science and Civil Engineering and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

Jeff Adler, PhD, Director of ITS Business Development, Open Roads Consulting

photo of Jeff Adler

Dr. Adler joined Open Roads in 2008. He oversees business development and marketing activities for the ITS Division focusing on managing the continued growth and expansion of Open Roads products and services both nationally and internationally. Dr. Adler has over 25 years of experience in Intelligent Transportation Systems, software engineering, management consulting, and technical project leadership. He Holds a PhD from the University of California Irvine and a B.S. from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in four states and is active in several professional organizations. Dr. Adler serves as the co-chair of the TRB Advanced Traveler Information Systems subcommittee and is a member of the User Information Systems Committee. He is also the Immediate Past President of ITS-Alaska.

Sinclair Stolle, Traveler Information Program Engineer, Iowa Department of Transportation

photo of Sinclair Stolle

For the past five years, Sinclair Stolle has been the 511/Traveler Information program engineer in the Office of Traffic Operations at the IDOT. She has 12 years of experience in urban freeway design and pavement rehabilitation design along with the past seven years in ITS. Before becoming the 511/Traveler Information program engineer, Ms. Stolle was introduced to the ITS field as the Des Moines Metro Area ITS Engineer with the IDOT.

Ms. Stolle is currently the Vice-Chair of the ENTERPRISE Pooled Fund and recently served on the ITS Heartland Board of Directors for five years. She has a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Iowa.

Rakesh Nune, System Engineer, District of Columbia Department of Transportation

photo of Rakesh Nune

Rakesh Nune works for District of Columbia Department of Transportation as System Engineer and has seven years of experience with ITS systems. He is currently involved in new Advanced Traffic Management System development and deployment for DC, developing Asset management software, cyber security assessment, deploying fiber and some big data projects to utilize transportation data for developing performance measures.

Previously Mr. Nune worked on design and construction of Toll roads using a Public-Private Partnership arrangement on 495 and 95 knows as HOT lanes. Mr. Nune completed his Bachelor’s from IIT Guwahati, INDIA and Master’s from Virginia Tech in 2008.

Elizabeth Birriel, P.E., Deputy State Traffic Engineer, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

photo of Elizabeth Birriel

Ms. Birriel works for the FDOT as the Deputy State Traffic Operations Engineer and as the Statewide ITS Program Manager. With over 21 years of experience in the transportation industry and with FDOT, program areas under her responsibility include deployment of 511 Advanced Traveler Information System in the state of Florida, creation of the SunGuide® software to be used in all 12 FDOT transportation management centers in Florida and Florida DOT’s Connected Vehicle Program. Ms. Birriel received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Transportation Engineering. She is also a graduate of the Certified Public Manager (CPM) Program and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Florida.

Lisa Miller, Traveler Information Manager, Utah Department of Transportation

photo of Lisa Miller

Lisa Miller is the Traveler Information Manager at the UDOT. Lisa works out of the UDOT Traffic Management Division and is responsible for all traveler information resources including the UDOT Traffic app, website, 511 phone line and Citizen Reporter Program. Ms. Miller also acts as the Public Information Officer for the Traffic Management Division and interacts with local media during large scale special events, severe weather and for project updates. She is responsible for ensuring that all traveler information disseminated from the Traffic Management Division is accurate and in real-time as well as educating and maintaining relationships internal to UDOT.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Miller was with TranSmart Technologies, Inc. for three years. In that role, she was an on-site consultant program manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. She was responsible for the traveler information network within the Lake Michigan Interstate Ga teway Alliance (LMIGA) – formerly the Gary-Chicago-Milwaukee ITS Priority Corridor. Ms. Miller worked for URS Corporation for six years before joining TranSmart Technologies, where her duties involved communications, traveler information, grant writing, Traffic Management Center operations and media relations.

Ms. Miller completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2003. She also holds a minor in Architectural History and Urban Planning.