Author Archives: Terry Bills

Terry Bills
Terry Bills is the global transportation industry manager at Esri. He has served as a Principal Planner with a regional transportation planning agency, and as President of a transportation-related GIS consulting services company. He has more than 20 years of experience in transportation planning and policy, information technology and GIS.

Recent Posts

Esri Map Helps DC Crowds Navigate Presidential Inauguration

Estimates place the crowds who are expected to turn out in the nation’s capital for the inauguration of Donald Trump at anywhere between 700,000 and 2 million, in addition to related events and protests. In order to help people stay informed, Esri and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation have created an interactive map using geographic information system (GIS) technology, combined with resources such as aerial high-resolution photos and street-level LIDAR imagery.

Users can access the map via any online browser or wireless device such as a smartphone or tablet, where they will be able to see important location information like addresses, street closures, transit stops, medical aid stations, and warming tents.

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GIS Shows Where to Effectively Target Infrastructure Spending

During rush hour on August 1, 2007, sections of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, began to collapse and fall into the Mississippi River, killing 13 people and injuring another 145. This was only one of a series of high-profile bridge failures that have resulted in lives being lost. The cause, according to many experts, is that the United States has been systematically underinvesting in infrastructure and maintenance for some time. In fact, recent figures indicate that state and local spending on infrastructure is at a 30-year low.

Effectively addressing America’s infrastructure needs begins with knowing where to make the most strategic investments. And that is where GIS can play an important role in understanding the condition of our infrastructure, where the largest bottlenecks occur, and where dollars should be targeted for the greatest benefit to the nation’s economy.

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Enabling Better Decision Making Among DOTs

Integrating enterprise data

For many Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and roadway agencies, the days of rapid highway construction have passed. DOTs now primarily focus on preserving existing investments and maximizing the performance of built infrastructure. Effective decision making with respect to the mix of operational improvements, investments to advance safety, and maintenance spending requires access to a wealth of information to help drive these decisions. And while almost all of this data is available within these larger organizations, few have been successful at bringing that information together in ways that could help foster more intelligent decision making. Continue reading

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Safer Roads Through Effective Traffic Safety Management

Empowering safety engineers

U.S. efforts to improve traffic safety have delivered considerable progress over the last five years. From 2005 to 2009, traffic fatalities have declined over 21%. The fatality rate has dropped from 1.46 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, to 1.13 – the lowest rate since 1954. While this success can be attributed to a variety of factors, the focus on safety by State Departments of Transportations (DOT) and State Offices of Public Safety certainly deserves some of the credit.

I believe there are four key areas where GIS has, and will continue to assist safety engineers in reducing traffic crashes and fatalities: Continue reading

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Transportation GIS: Promise and Reality

GIS promise and DOT asset management reality

Those of us in the GIS community take it for granted that the incorporation of GIS enriches effective asset management practices, to the point where we find it difficult to understand how good asset management could be practiced without GIS. In reality however, most departments of transportation (DOTs) report only limited success in both good asset management practice and incorporating GIS into their asset management practices. So, why the gap between promise and reality? Continue reading

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