The overflowing inbox this morning brought a reminder of a tool to which in this age of info-overload we had not given much thought of late – the expanded and honed TRID database. This is not just a good database and handy resource – it is an EXCELLENT tool for planners, policy makers, academics, and quite possibly you. If you are not already using it, at the very least check out the quick presentation here. We shall shortly publish a more complete critical introduction to this excellent transportation research resource. In the meantime, here is a quick intro and key to putting it to work.
TRID is a newly integrated database that combines the records from TRB’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database and the OECD’s Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database. TRID provides access to over 900,000 records of transportation research worldwide.
* By way of a trial run (I had not used the TRB database much in recent years) I just popped in ‘walking’, ‘cities’, ‘China’ as key words. It gave me twenty focused sources, each of which worth at least a first scan and which I am sure that I might not have picked up otherwise. I am going to see if I can start to build this into my work routines now, and you may wisht to think about it as well.
Here is a bit of background on the TRB, the venerable institution behind all this.
The Transportation Research Board
The mission of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is to promote innovation and progress in transportation through research. In an objective and interdisciplinary setting, TRB facilitates the sharing of information on transportation practice and policy by researchers and practitioners; stimulates research and offers research management services that promote technical excellence; provide expert advice on transportation policy and programs; and disseminates research results broadly and encouraged their implementation.
TRB is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council— a private, nonprofit institution that is the principal operating agency of the National Academies in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The National Research Council is jointly administered by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. TRB’s varied activities—described below—annually engage more than 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest by participating on TRB committees, panels, and task forces. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation.
TRB was established in 1920 as the National Advisory Board on Highway Research to provide a mechanism for the exchange of information and research results about highway technology. Renamed the Highway Research Board (HRB) in 1925, the organization accomplished its mission through standing committees, publications, and an annual meeting. In the decades that followed, HRB steadily increased in size. Information exchange remained its sole mission until the 1950s, when it began to undertake management of ad hoc research projects. The first continuing research management activity—the National Cooperative Highway Research Program— started in 1962. During the 1960s, the Board’s activities became increasingly multimodal in outlook. In 1974 the Highway Research Board became the Transportation Research Board. Since then, TRB’s portfolio of services has expanded significantly—first in the early 1980s, when it began conducting studies of national transportation policy issues, and again in the 1990s, when Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the state departments of transportation asked TRB to undertake additional tasks, including management responsibilities for the Transit Cooperative Research Program, guidance of ongoing research programs such as the Long-Term Pavement Performance studies, and management of the Innovations Deserving Exploratory Analysis programs. More recent additions have included new cooperative research programs in airports, freight, and hazardous materials transportation, and the second Strategic Highway Research Program.