Approaching Transportation Research: Our Step-By-Step Guide To Getting Started & Up-To-The-Minute Bibliographies For Hot Transportation Topics

Whether you need answers fast or you are not familiar with a subject or its terminology, a timely and effective quest for knowledge can be challenging. 

Transit and transportation research can be especially daunting. These fields of study are interdisciplinary in nature, encompassing seemingly diverse aspects of urban planning, engineering, sociology, finance, geology and politics as well as history and emerging technologies.

Adding to the difficulty is the fact that the nation’s network of transportation libraries and librarians is quite small compared to those available to the medical and agricultural industries, even though the impact of transportation on the economy is much larger than either one of them. 

While medicine and agriculture benefit from large well-funded national libraries, transportation has to rely on its independent network of information professionals, and a small and relatively new National Transportation Library that contains digital documents only.

So how can one feel they’ve done a comprehensive search for important transportation information?  Where does one even start? 

To assist our users as well as potential users, we’ve compiled a primer on Getting Started In Transportation Research.

This page on the Metro Transportation Library’s website walks you through an approach to finding what you’re looking for.

You will find out how to search TRID, the Transportation Research Information Database, for access to over 900,000 records of transportation research worldwide. 

This highly customizable resource allows you to search for records in just English, or full-text articles only.

From there, we explain how to find books, reports, studies, dissertations, journals and other works in both our collection and transportation libraries throughout the United States.

We discuss the publications of the Transportation Research Board and the TRB’s Research In Progress database, along with other full-text reports from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).

This guide to research continues on with how to find guidelines, policies, standards, conference presentations, government data and other information and much more.

Additionally, whether you have a topic in mind or are considering one to explore we have an extensive list of pre-assembled resources for current subjects of interest.

The literature search results on our “Current Bibliographies For Selected Transportation Topics” webpage are compiled at the time you click on them, so they never go out-of-date like traditional bibliographies and lists. 

Each subject area retrieves the latest publications added to the National Transportation Library (NTL) Digital Repository, The Transportation Research Information Database (TRID), our own Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library catalog, or the OCLC WorldCat member libraries’ collections.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of the search for information on high-profile topics, including:

  • Congestion Pricing
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Grade Separation
  •  High-Speed Rail
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Positive Train Control
  • Energy Conservation In Transportation
  • Tunneling
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems

and much more.

The NTL Digital Repository contains primarily technical, research and policy documents provided by federal, state, local, tribal and other government agencies.

 TRID, unveiled earlier this year, is a newly intergrated database that combines the records from the TRB’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database and the OECD’s Joint Transport Research Centre’s international Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database.

TRID provides access to over 900,000 records of transportation research worldwide, with search results presented in reverse chronological order to help you find the latest resources available.

WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services, allowing you to search the collections of libraries in your area and thousands more around the world for relevant information in every imaginable format, including books, audiovisual materials, scholarly articles, and digital resources. 

By entering your location, you can find the titles you want in library collections closest to you.

Bear in mind that keyword searches do not take into account variations in synonyms, acronym usage, pluralization, and any variant spelling. 

Also, several of these resources offer many additional citations and abstracts for documents which are not available with full-text and are not included in the search results presented in these one-click bibliographies. 

We invite you to familiarize yourself with these powerful, dynamic tools and explore these up-to-the-minute resources in addition to the overview Getting Started in Transportation Research.

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