Data analytics is at the core of the supply chain for both products and services in modern economies and societies. Big data workloads, however, are placing unprecedented demands on computing technologies, calling for a deep understanding and characterization of these emerging workloads. In this paper, we propose ShenZhen Transportation System (SZTS), a novel big data Hadoop benchmark suite comprised of real-life transportation analysis applications with real-life input data sets from Shenzhen in China. SZTS uniquely focuses on a specific and real-life application domain whereas other existing Hadoop benchmark suites, such as HiBench and CloudRank-D, consist of generic algorithms with synthetic inputs. We perform a cross-layer workload characterization at the microarchitecture level, the operating system (OS) level, and the job level, revealing unique characteristics of SZTS compared to existing Hadoop benchmarks as well as general-purpose multi-core PARSEC benchmarks. We also study the sensitivity of workload behavior with respect to input data size, and we propose a methodology for identifying representative input data sets.