The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) has embarked on a transformative journey to harness and leverage its data more effectively, addressing the challenges associated with processing a staggering 200 million toll transactions annually. As an independent government agency overseeing toll roads in and around Austin, CTRMA realized the inefficiencies in relying on third parties or consultants to analyze its own data, prompting the initiation of a project aimed at building a robust cloud-based data platform.
Greg Mack, the Director of IT and Toll Systems at CTRMA, highlighted the need for an improved process to derive insights from the massive volume of toll transaction data. In the initial state, the authority outsourced data analysis, incurring expenses and encountering obstacles in obtaining the data in a format conducive to their requirements. Recognizing the need for a more streamlined and cost-effective solution, CTRMA embarked on a mission to repatriate its data by developing a cloud-based data platform capable of handling both computing and data storage.
Unlike some entities that manage customer accounts directly, CTRMA operates differently. It bills agencies that issue transponders, and through APIs, the newly established data platform seamlessly connects with these third-party account systems. This integration allows the platform to generate its own comprehensive record of transactions, creating a direct and efficient pipeline for billing processes.
The centralization of data and the direct connection with account systems empower CTRMA to build informative data dashboards, providing insights into cash flow and improving the quality of information presented to bondholders financing capital projects. The ongoing efforts align with CTRMA’s broader vision of modernizing stakeholder communications through enhanced data presentation.
However, the vision extends beyond dashboards, with the flexibility and scalability of the data platform positioned to accommodate future use cases. One such exploration involves utilizing the platform to process payments for various transactions beyond toll payments. The transponders could potentially be used for transactions like paying for parking or ordering food at a drive-through.
Additionally, the platform plays a pivotal role in shaping future road development, with ongoing projects utilizing data to determine optimal locations for new roads and assess their capacity requirements. Safety considerations also come into play, as the platform could potentially facilitate sending safety updates directly to drivers based on real-time traffic conditions and incidents detected through existing road sensors.
Tracie Brown, Director of Operations at CTRMA, emphasized the forward-looking flexibility of the cloud-based platform and its potential to support a myriad of emerging business opportunities. Beyond its current role as a toll road operator, CTRMA envisions becoming a comprehensive mobility facilitator, guided by smart decisions derived from effective data utilization.
In essence, the cloud-based data platform represents a strategic move for CTRMA, not only to enhance its present operations but to future-proof its capabilities, ensuring adaptability and responsiveness to the evolving landscape of mobility and data utilization. This initiative underscores the authority’s commitment to leveraging technology to make informed decisions, keep customers satisfied, and position itself as a key player in the ever-evolving realm of regional mobility.