The mobility big data specialist provides on-demand traffic volumes for more than 4.5 million miles of Canadian and US roadway, based on 100 billion location points every month.
StreetLight Data, the big data analytics mobility specialist that aims to helps cities make better decisions over transport and infrastructure, has launched its Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) metrics for Canada on its InSight platform.
The company now provides on-demand traffic volumes for more than 4.5 million miles of Canadian and US roadway, spanning 2018 and 2017. The counts claim to outperform industry standard accuracy targets.
"We recognise the challenges of securing accurate road counts for one of the largest but most sparsely populated nations in the world,” said Laura Schewel, CEO and co-founder of StreetLight Data. “With our AADT Canada release we can now bring complete traffic data sets to planners covering both Canada’s largest cities and extensive rural areas.”
Historically, AADT counts have been measured manually and at high cost. The process of getting approval, training staff, collecting actual counts, and validating the data can typically take months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
StreetLight Data collects data from over 100 billion anonymised location points every month from 4.5 million miles across Canada and the US from smart phones and navigation devices in connected cars and trucks. It adds context from numerous other sources like parcel data and digital road network data.
Its proprietary data processing engine, Route Science, then algorithmically transforms trillions of location data points over time into contextualised, aggregated, and normalised travel patterns. These are validated using thousands of traffic counters and embedded sensors which can be further enriched by a city’s own data sources, like transit ticketing, shared mobility, or Internet of Things data.
With the StreetLight Insight platform, users can query the software for accurate AADT counts for virtually every Canadian and US road, with results delivered in minutes.
“Despite being used across every single state, big data is still quite new, with agencies needing more experience using it, and needing more education”
Schewel said that since launching the Insight platform, the company has seen a lot of excitement around being able to measure counts across entire neighbourhoods, cities or across a state: “The most exciting development is actually the ability to get more ’surgical’ and solve individual problems more quickly.
She said: “Being able to get immediate counts for a congested offramp and the surface streets it feeds, for example, allows a metropolitan planning organisation (MPO) to avoid adding lanes and focus instead on signal timing and other mitigation tactics.”
Trained and tested using more than 9,100 and 1,800 permanent loop counts respectively in the US and Canada, StreetLight’s AADT can be rendered for bi-directional traffic, or zero in on traffic moving in one direction on a roadway, including ramps, freeway-to-freeway connectors, and local/minor roads. Each analysis also includes a “confidence range” (or prediction interval) for the metrics provided.
Data has always been important to departments of transportation (DOTs) but the availability of data at scale without enormous cost was a challenge. With big data, Schewel explained that you can scan every roadway in your network, replacing outdated, limited, or extrapolated data with real-world information that many DOTs and MPOs are using internally and to communicate with communities and other stakeholders.
“The most exciting development is actually the ability to get more ’surgical’ and solve individual problems more quickly”
She added: “Despite being used across every single state, big data is still quite new, with agencies needing more experience using it, and needing more education for their teams and their constituents.”
Going forward, Schewel said that the company will continue its focus on delivering an expanded array of metrics for non-vehicle modes such as bikes and pedestrians, as well as driving adoption of vehicle metrics beyond AADT, such as top routes. "And other more sophisticated metrics that help our customers solve ever-bigger problems more quickly," she exlained.
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