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Transportation Data Privacy Project
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 6:00:00 PM UTC - 8:00:00 PM UTC

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) is hosting a webinar which will update the public on the Transportation Data Privacy Protection Project.




Transportation safety and mobility applications rely on time-sequenced location data, which could allow bad actors to discover an individual’s travel patterns. Simply deleting identifiers such as names and addresses from the data does not eliminate the possibility that people’s identities could be inferred from their travel patterns. Concerns over safeguarding privacy lead organizations to limit data releases, thereby restricting efforts to openly share transportation data that can offer tremendous benefits.


To address this issue, USDOT has sponsored research in recent years to investigate methods to advance transportation data utility while mitigating privacy risk, particularly in the context of increasing vehicle and infrastructure connectivity. As this research wraps up, USDOT-sponsored researchers will share their findings and tee up potential future use of the methodologies and open source software developed through this work.


The USDOT has developed a method to protect privacy using a combination of map data and information theory. The result is context-specific strategies for hiding sensitive location and route information. This approach preserves precise location data characteristics that are necessary for effective safety and mobility applications but mitigates the risk of the data unintentionally revealing any individual’s travel patterns – protecting personal privacy. Moreover, it ensures that data quality remains high enough to support improved transportation operations and planning.


The USDOT has also developed a method to evaluate privacy designs intended to protect transportation data that enhance operational vehicle safety. This approach uses previously collected trajectory data to experimentally evaluate privacy design parameters, the placement of road side equipment, and travel patterns within a geographic area.


The target audience for this webinar includes software developers and researchers involved in intelligent transportation and data-management technologies, ITS Program Managers at the state and local level, agencies contemplating connected and automated vehicle deployments, transportation agency CIOs, and anyone interested in improving transportation data availability while safeguarding privacy. Learning objectives from this webinar will include:

  • Introduce time-sequenced geolocation data;
  • Discuss potential privacy risks;
  • Demonstrate the new method for selectively eliminating elements from geolocation data streams to balance privacy protection and data access;
  • Discuss validation testing and potential use cases for new approach;
  • Introduce a method to evaluate privacy designs for transportation data; and,
  • Discuss lessons learned and potential next steps for this area of research

To learn more about Managing ITS Data Privacy Risk please view the fact sheet at: https://www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/pdf/Managing_ITS_DataPrivacyRisk.pdf .


To learn about the ITS Joint Program Office’s research, please visit: www.its.dot.gov.


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