In mid-January, the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies held its 94th Annual Meeting in Washington DC. The conference attracted around 12,000 transportation researchers and practitioners from around the world. During the meeting, the TRB Executive Committee held a policy session on the impact of big data on transportation systems. I was one of three panelists invited to the session. Each of us made a short presentation which was then followed by an extensive discussion between the panel and the Committee.
Big data and related information-based disciplines, - e.g., data science, artificial intelligence, - are everywhere. Why are we so excited about them? Is it mostly hype, or is there something truly profound going on? In my presentation, I tried to briefly address these questions based on three key observations.