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StreetLight Data launches latest set of granular traffic metrics

The mobility analytics specialist is making new annual average hourly traffic and monthly annual daily traffic counts available for US roads.

The new counts help allow for seasonal changes in traffic or even from storms
The new counts help allow for seasonal changes in traffic or even from storms

Mobility analytics specialist, StreetLight Data, is making new annual average hourly traffic (AAHT) counts and monthly annual daily traffic (MADT) counts available.


It means transportation planners, engineers and other industry experts can now access hourly, daily, weekly and monthly traffic metrics using the cloud-based software platform, StreetLight InSight.


Changing traffic patterns


CEO and co-founder, Laura Schewel, explained that in the past, most traffic "peaked" in regular morning and afternoon/evening time periods but patterns are now shifting and getting wider, more like "shoulders."


“Hourly metrics will allow planners to really understand how travel patterns change by time of day,” she said. “It’s possible the composition of travellers on road A is totally different at a typical 8am and 1pm. Thus, infrastructure decisions (like stoplight timing, one-way permissions, bus routes) might need to be time adaptive.


“As a recent example, a few midday crashes had occurred on a highway managed by one of our state DOT clients. The question was, ‘why?’ Even after watching videos the answer wasn’t clear. So the client used StreetLight InSight with hourly analytics and discovered that most weekdays there was a big slug of traffic that merged onto the highway midday creating unsafe patterns.

“Infrastructure decisions like stoplight timing, one-way permissions, bus routes might need to be time adaptive”

“When they designed it, they assumed all the traffic would only merge on during the traditional PM rush. Thus, the ‘ramp metering’ lights were not activated midday. After the hourly analysis, they changed the time of day the ramp metering lights go on.”


Similarly, a community in Florida may gather traffic information during April, for example, then extrapolate monthly traffic metrics from that data. However, those results may not account for heavier tourist traffic in winter months and lighter travel mid-summer. Also, they cannot reveal changes in road usage during storms and other unusual events.


"Now, with StreetLight Data’s new AAHT and MADT metrics, communities are able to access this information more accurately and with near real-time results."


365 days of data


Based on more than one trillion annual location records across Canada and the US, StreetLight Data’s algorithms draw on 365 days of data on more than 4.5 million miles of roadway. The new AAHT and MADT counts are available for both large urban streets as well as small rural roads.


Introducing more granularity such as this was a natural progression that StreetLight Data’s clients had started asking for.

“Transportation planners have always found it difficult to deliver accurate monthly and daily traffic data due to technological constraints, increasingly tight budgets, small survey response numbers and data sets, as well as complex seasonality factors,” said Schewel.


“We are excited that StreetLight Data now has the capability to offer this level of detail almost immediately, wherever and whenever it’s needed.”


Streetlight Data has worked with governments and engineering firms across all of the lower 48 states, from helping Toronto with multi-modal planning, to enabling California identify locations for bike infrastructure improvements.


“Impacting congestion happens one project at a time, and we now service more than 3,000 such projects every month,” said Schewel.


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