S. 654: The COMMUTE Act creates a pilot project to supply states and local governments with access data to help better plan transportation networks and connect residents with every day destinations - such as jobs, schools, health care, and grocery stores.
The U.S. Department of Transportation already supplies states with congestion data, and investments are often guided by cost-benefit analysis based on anticipated improvements to congestion due to freer flowing vehicles. Until recently it has been difficult to analyze the cost-benefit of new projects based on improved access due to the ability of people to more easily reach destinations.
Today, the private sector offers these tools, and a few states are using it already. However, the data is expensive and not available to everyone. The COMMUTE Act creates a pilot project to make that data available to 5 States, 10 metropolitan areas , and 5 rural areas to test how that data can be used to optimize transportation systems across modes and communities. Access to this data can help states and communities make investments on the basis of providing new connections for people to destinations rather than only helping people move swiftly to them.