Research Impact

The REACTOR Lab has more than two dozen active and ongoing projects that focus on providing data-driven decision support through the use of innovative analytics with large-scale transportation data.

The work can vary depending on production demands, from months to hours, and serves as a resource across the DOT toward aligned practices, procedures, data, and performance measures.

The work includes analyzing data to provide tools to monitor traffic conditions in real time, proactively control risk using advisory control, quickly detect traffic incidents, identify the location and potential cause of incidents, suggest traffic control alternatives, and minimize bottlenecks for traffic incident management operators.

The lab has been successful in leveraging these innovative and unique high performance computing activities to bring in outside funding, which advances the capabilities of REACTOR to support DOT. One example is the National Science Foundation grant, A Smart Service System for Traffic Incident Management Enabled by Large-data Innovations, or TIMELI, that will transform current TIM systems by creating a smart and reliable decision-assist system.

Active Projects
  • Quality Control
  • GIS Support
  • Interstate Congestion Reporting
  • Linear Referencing System (LRS) Conflation
  • Travel Time Accuracy for Traffic Management Center (TMC)
  • Maintenance Material Heat Map
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Waze Clean Data Feed
  • Road Weather Condition with Closed-circuit Televisions (CCTV)
  • Smart Truck Parking
  • CCTV as a Sensor
  • Open Data Service
  • Traffic Critical Program
  • Highway Helper
  • LRS Conflation – Weather
  • TMC Performance Reporting
  • INRIX Latency and Speed Bias
  • National Weather Service (NWS) – Weather Impacts
  • Congestion Causation Analysis
  • Capacity in Work Zone
  • I-380/80 Transportation Management Plan (TMP)
  • CAV TSMO Service Layer (SPaT, Data Standards, Traffic Signal Performance Measures, Work Zone Innovation)
Ongoing Projects
  • Ad-Hoc Data Request
  • Server Management
  • Office of Location and Environment (OLE) Performance Feeds
  • Technical Outreach
  • Lane Closure Planning Tool

Office of Location and Environment (OLE) Performance Feed
The REACTOR Lab is calculating performance measures statewide for project prioritization by the Office of Location and Environment. These performance measures are calculated on a daily and monthly basis for all segments where private data is collected by the firm INRIX XD, and adapted into an interactive interface for traffic management center operators. Performance measures calculated include historical average speed, total hours of delay for a given time period, number of bottlenecks during that given time, and number of incidents or events during a given time.

Quality Control
Assist the Iowa DOT’s effort to improve quality control functions by monitoring sensor and probe data, developing clean datasets for sharing, and incorporating additional data feeds for more accuracy. The quality control focus will improve agency actions including response, preparation, planning, and operations for both today and the future.

GIS Support
Offer Iowa DOT support activities that include developing GIS applications, creating dashboards, and maintaining REST services. Specific goals include finalizing traffic incident management plans, identifying bridges and roadways susceptible to flooding, and developing reporting tools for impacts and predictions.

Interstate Congestion Reporting
Quantify Iowa interstate performance using a data-driven approach that relies on big data analytics, high performance computing, and interactive reporting choices to support improved decision making. The Interstate Congestion Report provides a snapshot, specific to road user experience, as measured through interstate mobility and reliability.

Linear Referencing System (LRS) Conflation
Support robust data analytics through conflating targeted traffic operations data to the Iowa DOT linear referencing system, which provides a uniform network to ensure that any information can be integrated to other data available within the DOT.

Maintenance Material Heat Map
Support improved operational decision-making for winter maintenance, specifically by developing a heat map, visualizing maintenance impacts to provide a better understanding of the impact of winter maintenance on mobility and safety; and conduct an analysis to understand plow blade performance based on wear.

Predictive Analytics
Develop models and tools to predict speeds and crash potential based on data streams both internal and external to the Iowa DOT.

Waze Data Feed
Quantify the value of Waze application data for the DOT by determining the number of incidents that would not otherwise be detected by the Traffic Management Center, and then create a clean data feed of the Waze data, which eliminates duplicate events and adds the geographical extents of the reports rather than a single point, which can be used by operators.

Smart Truck Parking
Support the evaluation of Iowa’s smart truck parking deployment.

Open Data Service
Provide a high quality, near-real time, Open Data Service, which is available for any commercial, public or private entity. These data feeds and services will support both agency and external users over a wide range of potential use categories. The sources are varied and can include traffic operations, roadway, weather, maintenance, and safety data.

Traffic Critical Program
Evaluate work zone performance through data analytics to provide near-real-time operational awareness and annual reporting in order to assist the Iowa DOT’s Traffic Critical Program. Projects identified as Traffic Critical require enhanced traffic impact mitigation strategies, such as: Intelligent Work Zones (IWZ), limited construction hours (including night work), innovative contracting mechanisms, and Traffic Incident Management (TIM) plans to mitigate traffic impacts.

Highway Helper
Support the DOT’s decision-making through developing optimization strategies, performance measure metrics, and benefit-cost analysis of the Iowa DOT Highway Helper Program, which provides responsive assistance to motorists on the freeway and interstate systems in the Des Moines, Council Bluffs, and Cedar Rapids/Iowa City metros. The focus of the Highway Helper program is on getting people out of harm’s way and maintaining traffic flow.

TMC Performance Reporting
Work with Traffic Management Center staff to automate the calculations for monthly performance measure reporting, including a monthly report, near-real-time performance reporting, real-time performance reporting, and other ongoing support.