By Emily Gerson, Content Marketing Specialist
A "data silo" is collected data contained in and separated from an organization's other data. Data in a "silo" is unable to interact with other collected data.
The transportation industry and Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are notorious for being stuck in these data silos, and it can be detrimental. For example, if traffic sign locations are collected in one platform and work zones are tracked in another, then there is no method of combining that information short from manually entering it into a separate spreadsheet. With the silo mindset, it is nearly impossible for transportation agencies to tell how different sectors impact one another.
What it means to be trapped
Data silos hinder your transportation organization through the disadvantages below.
Incomplete view of problems. In addition to the inconvenience of storing information in several systems, the disjointedness prevents you from seeing infrastructure problems holistically. Alone, collected data can do good, but together they can do the unimaginable. When you can overlap multiple sets of data, you illuminate helpful patterns that would have stayed invisible otherwise.
Lack of collaboration. The transportation industry could grow its potential exponentially if organizations could interact internally and externally. Shared information could bring the industry together in an unprecedented way; agencies could work together to act proactively instead of reactively and solve problems quicker
Waste of time and resources. Imagine the headache of manually combining data from various systems that was all collected differently. In addition to hand cleaning that information, you often must enter it by hand into a spreadsheet. It is labor- and time-intensive.
Inaccurate results. When transportation workers manually collect and combine data from multiple sources, the margin for human error raises significantly. After all the work that goes into a manual data combination, nothing is more frustrating than to think the result is incorrect. Frustrations aside, those overlooked errors can significantly affect the project's outcome.
Think outside the silo
The world continues to breed connectivity and databases are no exception. Seeing this gap in the transportation industry, we created one interconnected platform called NueGOV. Our system can pull old data from other platforms and it serves as a "home base" for all the information. It operates on a low code environment, which means there is very little intricate coding involved to add or remove data to the system.
The system is also interactive, which means you can overlay two sets of data of your choice (e.g., number of accidents and number of work zones) to see patterns between the two. Additionally, the manipulatable view allows for a lot of customization.