WSDOT traffic data: missing in action

With the recent start of tolling on SR-520 here in Seattle, the public’s attention is suddenly on traffic volumes on 520 and I-90.  So, this morning, I went over to the WSDOT website to see if I could find a simple listing of traffic volumes for the past few weeks.  Nothing, just a few random numbers sprinkled in their press releases.

Obviously, WSDOT is collecting this data.  It’s ridiculous that it’s not being published in formats that would make it easy to read and analyze.  What a huge open government data fail.

3 thoughts on “WSDOT traffic data: missing in action”

  1. I get what you are saying but where do you draw the line. Does every government agency post every bit of data collected from each of the roads maintained? Good idea, but not practical to execute. You would be paying full time employees just to “publish” traffic volumes. Not a good way to spend my tax dollars.

  2. Ed-

    I agree: not every bit of data needs to be published. But data that is of significant public value ought to be. Given the automated nature of most data collection, and the fact that it is already sitting in networked computer systems, there is little risk of needing to pay full-time employees “just” to publish data. My feeling is: we’re paying for the data to be collected, so we ought to be able to easily access it to see whether we’re getting full value for our tax dollars.

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