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Joseph Schofer Co-authors Op-ed about the Need for Federal Transportation Data

A $109 billion highway finance package passed last week by the U.S. Senate did not include funding for the National Travel Data Program, a program that would have required the collection of passenger and freight travel data to guide future policies.

That was a mistake, argues Joseph Schofer, professor of civil and environmental engineering, associate dean for faculty affairs, and director of the Infrastructure Technology Institute at the McCormick School of Engineering who co-authored an opinion piece on the issue.

“It’s a time for smarter decisions – especially transportation investment and policy choices based on independent and objective information,” states the op-ed, which was published on Streetsblog. “We must understand where and what the needs are, what works and doesn’t, and where the payoffs are greatest. That takes data – and good data are hard to find.”

“Yet in passing the long-overdue two-year, $109 billion highway finance reauthorization bill, the Senate dropped a modest provision to assure timely travel data needed to make the smart choices that will keep people and freight moving safely and efficiently,” it continues.

The statement was co-authored by Johanna Zmud, director of the transportation, space, and technology program at the RAND Corporation, and Mortimer Downey, the former deputy secretary of transportation during the Clinton administration. It was signed by fellow members of the Transportation Research Board Policy Committee on Strategies for Improved Passenger and Freight Travel Data.

Read the op-ed.