Tuesday , October 23 2018

Developing an Interactive System to Provide
Management Support for
Transportation Research Organizations

Doina BANCIU, Ionut PETRE, Dragos Marian SMADA, Monica ANGHEL
I C I Bucharest
(National Institute for R & D in Informatics)
8-10 Averescu Blvd.
011455 Bucharest 1, Romania
{doina.banciu; ipetre; dsmada; monica.anghel}@ici.ro

Abstract: This paper covers the process of developing and populating the TransNEW international database designed to assist management from transport research organizations in providing the means for research to support decisions. The process ranges from database and tables creation to the setting up of relationships between database elements and web forms so that database fields may be populated and the information can be easily managed. The next phase involved inputting information gathered by TransNEW Partners. The described processes and procedures involved choosing the appropriate platform, and designing an information management system for this databas

Keywords: Transport, database, MySQL, transport infrastructures, researcher database.

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CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Doina BANCIU, Ionut PETRE, Dragos Marian SMADA, Monica ANGHEL, Developing an Interactive System to Provide Management Support for Transportation Research Organizations, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 20 (4), pp. 421-428, 2011.

1. Introduction

In accordance with the objectives of the Framework Programme 7 – FP7, the transport domain has been very well represented through research sub domains financed by different calls.

In this respect, the FP7 Action Support has also been sustained by different projects which were developed by large consortia having partners all over Europe. This approach is not unusual, taking into consideration the development of the transport domain and its importance in the development of the economy.

Some figures illustrate this reality: in the EU, 44% of freight is carried by road, compared to 39% on short sea routes, 10% by rail and 3% by inland waterways. Regarding passengers, road transportation accounts for 81%, compared with 6% by rail and 8% for airways.

On the other hand, road safety is a major issue in EU policies. In 2009, over 35,000 people were killed on EU roads, and over 1.5 million people suffered injuries in traffic accidents. The estimated cost for road incidents accounted for about 130 billion Euros in 2009.

Starting from this reality, the research area has to play a very important role due to the innovation elements which can provide the necessary safety and security of road traffic.

Intelligent transport systems – the usage of ICT technologies in transport – appear as a normal approach in achieving the requirements presented above.

At the same time as Europe has to represent a single market for ICT innovation, it is quite normal that all the actors in the transport domain have to be well and consistently informed.

It is unanimously recognized that sometimes there is a lack of information between research and innovation and implementation outcomes into reality.

The project TransNEW aims to cover at least a part of this inconvenience.

TransNEW is a Coordinating and Support Action aimed at supporting transport research activities in New Member States. TransNEW stimulates and facilitates the participation of the New Member States and especially the involvement of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises – SMEs in transport research. TransNEW encourages the participation and the collaboration in transport research at a national, regional and European level. The projects’ objectives are: to assess transport research capabilities, to foster cross-border integration, to create a database of expertise and capability per country and dedicate focus to SMEs’.

This article will focus on the creation and design of the TransNEW database accomplished by joint research.

The TransNEW Partners have gathered data from 26 participant countries. The data concern actors involved in transport research and projectsconcerning transport research. All the data will be used to facilitate the participation of the organizations from the New Member States, especially SMEs, to collaborate in transport research, encouraging them to become major actors atnational or regional level, and to extend their activity area in the transport research.

The database will be divided into fields and activities and the data was acquired by using questionnaires, which contained specific questions addressing both organizations and researchers. The content of the questionnaires was decided by the TransNEW Consortium and the questions aimed to gather information that was relevant for the purposes of TransNEW. The standardized questionnaire was emailed to respondents who were encouraged to fill it in and email it back.

The responses to the questionnaires are put together for each country in Excel files. This means that for each of the 26 countries participating in TransNEW, there is an Excel spreadsheet containing all the data about the organizations, researchers and projects involved in transport research. After this step, all the information from the spreadsheets will be placed inside a single database, and will be available for public use.

The database will provide access to specific details about the organizations involved in transport research; moreover, it will facilitate the collaboration between organizations and will be the bridge that allows the potential partners for transport research projects to search at a national, regional or at European level.

After analyzing the questionnaires, several solutions for implementing the database have been considered.

The main criteria for narrowing the search for solutions were:

  • the database must accept a large amount of record (tens or even hundreds of thousands);
  • the database must have/accept a management system for handling the large amount of information contained in it;
  • the tables must be flexible, since the data is not uniform; the organizations are of different type, statute, etc.;
  • the database must handle relations between tables, since the information cannot be properly managed by using just one table;
  • the database must provide support for filtering the information, using diverse searches/filters.

Since the TransNEW project is also focused on SMEs involved in transport research, special attention was paid to the structure of the “Organization” category. This structure includes all the details of a SME that are of interest for transport research and moreover the structure must provide support for other types of organizations.

Because one of the project’s goals is to encourage the collaboration between SMEs and other national organizations involved in the transport research, the structure for the organization must be split into a higher number of tables, in order to make the search and the filtering more accessible, using fixed criteria such as transport themes or transport modes. The filtered results must reflect the areas of interest and the potential of each organization, in general, and SMEs, in particular, in order to establish potential partnership proposals for the benefit of transport research.

After carefully weighing in the advantages and disadvantages of each of those solutions, the software solution chosen to build the database was MySQL.

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https://doi.org/10.24846/v20i4y201110