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Data Quality Failings Worsen DC Traffic
There's nothing like being caught in an extended traffic jam on a daily basis to make you appreciate the importance of data quality. The Pentagon's Inspector General recently issued a blistering report criticizing DoD's data and analysis used in traffic projections for a base realignment project.

The watchdog's report highlights the crucial role of data quality in ensuring government effectiveness and accountability - and the consequences of data quality standards not being met.

The IG report states that, "The traffic studies used to develop the Transportation Plan were based on faulty baseline data and application of non-standard methodologies to estimate site generated impact; thus, negating the value of any subsequent analysis of the traffic impact generated by the BRAC 133 Project Fort Belvoir - Mark Center." As a result of the data quality shortcomings, the "findings, conclusions, and planned actions, presented in the Transportation Plan, based on these analyses, are unreliable. "

The IG further states that failure to address the identified data quality problems "is likely to result in extreme traffic congestion with possible gridlock conditions during peak hours. The resultant congestion will constrain SOV traffic, emergency response, and undermine the efficiency of the high frequency express bus and shuttle services.... As a result, more employees will drive their vehicles and seek alternative routes through residential neighborhoods to avoid arterial congestion; emergency response time will be hindered impacting life safety...."

The Data Quality Act provides affected parties, such as communities and commuters, with an administrative mechanism allowing them to "seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by the agency" not meeting OMB-specified quality standards. If affected parties were to seek correction of the traffic study, they would need to give thoughtful consideration to detailing a requested correction that would at least partially remediate the harm from the asserted data quality lapse.

It is important to note that the Army strongly disagreed with the IG report. In event a DQA petition is filed, the conflicting views of the Army and IG would highlight the need for an active OMB role in resolving data quality petitions.

See the IG's report

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