Applying Big Data to Small Projects


  • How to use big data to both diagnose mobility problems and gather evidence that justifies implementing small, but impactful, policies and projects
  • How to make big data “small” and actionable by transforming it into specific metrics that are useful in the planning process
  • Best practices for coordination across academia, consultancies, agencies, and private sector corporations that are broadly applicable to the planning community beyond transportation 


One of the greatest obstacles to effective planning has been a lack of knowledge about how people move around at a local scale. Big data from mobile devices can be a powerful tool for transportation planners who don’t have the resources for intensive travel studies. Yet the industry needs a blueprint for integrating this new type of information into their time-tested planning processes.

This course highlights projects in California and Virginia to show how to gather and deploy big data. Learn how key project players collaborated to transform archival data from mobile devices into useful metrics, used those metrics to diagnose transportation challenges, and finally evaluated and planned solution-oriented projects with community engagement and support.  Learners will gain a deeper understanding of how big data can help you identify relatively small multimodal projects that can add great benefit, given new knowledge about people’s travel patterns.