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Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory

The WisTransPortal System

The WisTransPortal system serves the computing and data management needs of the Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Laboratory. The project scope includes support for ITS data archiving, real-time traffic information services, transportation operations applications, and transportation research. Learn more.

About the WisTransPortal

The WisTransPortal Data Hub has been developed through ongoing collaboration between the Wisconsin Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Bureau of Traffic Operations (BTO) to support emerging requirements for transportation operations, planning, and research. The system provides a central source of traffic operations, safety, and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) data for Wisconsin highways, with specific capabilities for data archiving, real-time services, and server applications development. In recent years, the WisTransPortal has been expanded to support research and analysis capabilities along the local road network as well, particularly in the area of traffic safety.

The WisTransPortal ITS project architecture, part of the larger Wisconsin Statewide ITS Architecture, provides a complete description of existing and planned elements, interfaces, and operational requirements of the system. Connections between the WisTransPortal and other major ITS systems such as the Wisconsin 511 traveler information system and the WisDOT Traffic Management Center (TMC) Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) are also represented. The WisTransPortal has been operational since 2003 and is used throughout Wisconsin and regionally by state and local governments, law enforcement, universities, engineering firms, and others.

Data Archiving

The WisTransPortal manages a wide range of transportation data within a modern data center environment. The TOPS Lab maintains WisTransPortal data for research purposes and as a service to WisDOT. Data resources available on the WisTransPortal include:

  • Safety Data. The WisTransPortal contains a complete database of WisDOT MV4000 Traffic Accident Extract information for 1994 to present. This database contains information on all reported crashes in Wisconsin, including the location of each crash, vehicles involved, and general crash attributes. Personal data has been removed. Additional crash data resources include MV4000 crash report image files for 2000 to present, and statewide crash mapping applications.

  • Traffic Data. The WisTransPortal contains a complete database archive of TMC ATMS traffic detector data (volume, speed, and occupancy) for 1997 to present. This archive includes detector data from all five transportation regions, with the largest concentration in the Milwaukee and Madison metropolitan areas. Additional traffic data resources include hourly traffic volume data (short-term and continuous) from the WisDOT Bureau of State Highway Programs (BHSP) for 2000 to present and TMC travel times for 2012 to present.

  • Work Zones. The WisTransPortal contains an archive of all work zone information from the Wisconsin Lane Closure System (WisLCS) for 2008 to present. The WisLCS serves as WisDOT's central scheduling and reporting system for all highway lane closures and restrictions statewide. Long term flooding, emergency closures, and major events are also included. The WisLCS also provides real-time lane closure information to the Wisconsin 511 traveler information system.

  • Operations / Dispatch. The WisTransPortal contains archived data from a variety of TMC control room and public safety dispatch center data sources including the Traffic Incident Alert (TIA) system for 2010 to present, the InterCAD traffic incident data exchange system for 2009 to present, and the 511 Winter Roads System (WRS) for December 2013 to present. Additional resources include a repository of 511 XML traffic data from November 2010 to present.

  • Winter Maintenance. The WisTransPortal contains archived data from a variety of winter maintenance data sources including atmospheric and road surface weather data from the WisDOT Road Weather Information System (RWIS) for January 2006 to the present, WisDOT Bureau of Highway Maintenance (BHM) Winter Storm Report System data for November 2013 to present, and a repository of WisDOT Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS) and aggregated snow plow AVL / GPS data from 2010.

  • Roadway Inventory. The WisTransPortal contains a variety of WisDOT roadway inventory information including the ITS Inventory "SpatialINFO" database and WisDOT State Trunk Network (STN) and Wisconsin Information System for Local Roads (WISLR) spatial and database annual extracts.

Real-Time Services

The WisTransPortal provides several real-time data feeds to support center-to-center data sharing, traffic incident management, and 511 traveler information.

  • 511 Traveler Information. The WisTransPortal serves as a backend system for several Wisconsin traveler information data sources including statewide lane closure information and winter road conditions. This data is transmitted in real-time to the TMC in XML format based on the ITS Traffic Management Data Dictionary (TMDD) standard for use by Wisconsin 511 and other information service providers.

  • Traffic Incident Management. The WisTransPortal supports center-to-center data exchange for Traffic Incident Management (TIM) purposes through the InterCAD system. This system provides automated XML data exchange from public safety computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems to the TMC ATMS based on the IEEE 1512 standard for Common Incident Management Message Sets. The InterCAD system currently includes CAD XML incident data from Wisconsin State Patrol and Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Dane Counties.

  • WisDOT Traffic Video. Up until December 2022, the LINK system provided real-time WisDOT CCTV traffic video, incident reports, event information, and freeway travel times to members of the Traffic Incident Management Enhancement (TIME) group and others. Traffic cameras from all five transportation regions were organized into "tours" that cycled through individual cameras along select highway corridors. This function is now moved fully over to the 511 Wisconsin - Traveler Information pages.

Applications and Data Processing

An important objective of the WisTransPortal system is to develop web-based applications to support transportation research, planning, operations, maintenance, and public information dissemination. These applications are used extensively throughout Wisconsin and regionally by state and local governments, law enforcement, universities, planning organizations, engineering firms, and others. Most applications implement individual user account-based access levels. Information on WisTransPortal users accounts is provided below.

  • Data Archiving and Retrieval. Examples of WisTransPortal web applications that provide online access to archived transportation data include the MV4000 Crash Data Retrieval Facility, the V-SPOC Traffic Detector Database retrieval system, the Wisconsin Hourly Traffic Data Portal, and the RWIS Weather Station Database retrieval system.

  • Operations and Planning. Examples of WisTransPortal web applications that support WisDOT operations, maintenance, and planning activities include the Wisconsin Lane Closure System, the Traffic Incident Alert system, the 511 Winter Roads System, and the Winter Storm Report System. The WisTransPortal also supports hosting of third party applications such as the SpatialINFO ITS Inventory system. Most of these systems include online, web-based retrieval interfaces to access historical application data.

  • Data Processing and Dissemination. The WisTransPortal also supports TOPS Lab data processing applications and public data request processing on behalf of WisDOT. Examples include monthly aggregation of travel times and travel rate indexes for WisDOT TMC performance measures, run-off-the-road crash analysis, annual High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) statewide ranking for WisDOT HSIP project identification, and MV4000 crash data request processing.

See the WisTransPortal Applications page for a complete list of available web applications.

Information Technology

As described, the WisTransPortal system has been developed through ongoing collaboration between TOPS Lab and WisDOT BTO to support traffic operations and safety data management and data integration objectives. Starting out in 2003 as an Archived Data Management System (ADMS) for ITS traffic detector data, the WisTransPortal has evolved to support a range of real-time and archived data applications that are used extensively by WisDOT, TOPS Lab, and other organizations for research, planning, operations, and public information dissemination.

In order to meet evolving requirements for data archiving, system performance, reliability, and continuity of operations, TOPS Lab has started a significant enhancements and modernization project to upgrade the WisTransPortal server infrastructure and hosting environment. These enhancements include migration to cloud based technologies such as server virtualization and enterprise storage arrays, and upgrades to the Oracle Database server components to better manage very large transportation related datasets.

Additionally, the WisTransPortal was physically moved in August 2012 from its original location in B245 Engineering Hall to the UW-Madison campus Data Center at 1210 West Dayton Street. The Data Center provides a state-of-the-art server room environment including 24/7 network operations, security, cooling, and back-up power. The Data Center also provides an array of enterprise data storage capabilities which have been leveraged to provide further redundancy and efficiency to the WisTransPortal data backup processes.

Key software and system technologies employed on the WisTransPortal include Oracle Database, ESRI ArcGIS Server, and open source Java Server technologies including JSF, Struts, Axis, and Hibernate. Key system infrastructure components include Dell EqualLogic SAN storage and VMWare server virtualization. The WisTransPortal is also physically connected to the WisDOT ITSNET fiber network.

User Accounts

Access to many parts of the WisTransPortal requires an active login account. Accounts are provided to government agencies, universities, engineering consultants, and others to support WisDOT and TOPS Lab operations, planning, and research activities. See the WisTransPortal Data Services page for information on new and existing user accounts.

Citation Guidelines

The TOPS Lab requests that authors making use of WisTransPortal resources in their research include a reference to the system in any resulting journal articles or related publications. See the WisTransPortal Author Information page for citation guidelines.

Contact Information

WisTransPortal contact information is provided below. General information regarding the activities of the Traffic Operations and Safety (TOPS) Laboratory, including additional staff profiles, is available on the TOPS Lab website.

Steven T. Parker, Ph.D.
TOPS Lab IT Program Manager
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1206 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 265-4921

David A. Noyce, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, TOPS Laboratory
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1204 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 265-1882

For technical support, see the WisTransPortal Contact Information page or email

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