Transportation research and the public

In our work with Caltrans at CTMLabs, we are often confronted with the issue of whether or not to make information public.  Caltrans has as it mission the requirement to provide a safe, efficient, and economical transportation system for the state of California.  As academics, we think part of that should be to free up information flows and let all comers build new applications and services on that information.  But every once in a while a Caltrans engineer will remind us that because it is their job to provide the transportation system, and because no matter what accidents will happen and people will die, and because we live in a litigious society, they have to be very careful about what information goes out.

For this reason, we have to spend an enormous amount of time locking down our website and making sure single sign on and single sign off work properly.  In order to be transportation researchers, we have to first become web developers.