In the face of rising demand on the Puget Sound Region’s transportation system, data has emerged as a source of new insight to better leverage existing infrastructure and resources. While public transportation agencies require detailed data to foster access to transit and mobility services, vendors and third-party service providers are also making choices as to how data is distributed, protected, and stored.
I ask, How do public transportation agencies work with private firms to enable policy programs that rely on continuous or geospatial data? What contextual and historical factors led to current system design and institutional configurations? How do stakeholders define the roles of their respective organizations?
This research project aims to advance knowledge about public sector and private sector data relationships in three ethnographic case studies describing stakeholders’ experiences with transportation data requests, collection, and use. The outcome of this research will provide thick description of ‘actually existing’ smart cities programs, in response to calls for richer empirical accounts (Shelton et al. 2014). It will also inform policymakers hoping to derive best practices in the governance of such programs.