AMS Announces Upgrades to its Agricultural Transportation Open Data Visualization Platform

July 13, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that it has upgraded its Agricultural Transportation Open Data Platform with new datasets and dashboards about the four modes—rail, truck, barge and ocean vessel—used to transport agricultural products. This is the second major expansion to the platform launched in June 2019 and maintained by AMS’s Transportation Services Division (TSD), which has more than 30,000 subscribers to its transportation-related data reports, such as the weekly Grain Transportation Report.

The updated platform, AgTransport 3.0 for short, includes new information that can help users visualize data about international transport costs, which could be used to help better understand international trade competitiveness. New interactive datasets also have been added related to highway infrastructure from the report, The Importance of Highways to U.S. Agriculture released in December 2020. The update also includes an online version of the 2021 Compendium of Agricultural Transportation Research, which was prepared for AMS through a cooperative agreement with the University of Georgia. The compendium offers insight on all major modes by highlighting the main findings and methods from recent research between 2015 and 2021.

The AgTransport 3.0 platform offers farmers, commodity analysts, elevator operators, shippers and other stakeholders access to USDA data that can help them make timely market decisions about moving agricultural products across the country and around the world. This free open data platform also gives customers an alternative to static PDFs and Excel versions of the data.

Other new features on the updated platform include: 

  • New Grain Transportation Cost Indicators and Global Competitiveness Dashboard with data on Brazil, Mexico, and Japan
  • Interactive report and datasets added on Importance of Highways to U.S. Agriculture
  • New Agricultural Rail Service Metrics Dashboard
  • New Port Profile Dashboards with additional, more granular data
  • An upgraded Barge Dashboard and additional rivers and locks added to the waterway Lock Performance Management Data
  • New Agricultural Transportation Research Compendium
  • New Bulk and Container Fleet Data
  • New Biofuels Dashboard, including new biodiesel datasets

AgTransport 3.0 facilitates easy analytics. Users can gain personalized insight through interactive charts, and, they can generate and save their own unique visualizations and data views that will be updated automatically over time. If they wish, users also can share their visualizations with others in the tool’s open data community. AgTransport 3.0 makes data available in many different, open formats and automatically generates and maintains an Application Programming Interface (API) for each dataset.

This announcement is aligned with the Biden Administration’s broader work on strengthening the resilience of critical supply chains as directed by Executive Order 14017 America's Supply Chains. USDA’s efforts to strengthen the food system dovetail with the Administration’s whole of government response to address near-term supply chain challenges to the economic recovery via the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, of which Secretary Vilsack is a member. Through this Task Force the Administration is convening stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions—large and small, public or private—that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints related to the economy’s reopening after the Administration’s historic vaccination and economic relief efforts.

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