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Virginia taps into traffic intelligence

The InSight platform transforms big data from mobile devices into useful mobility metrics and travel pattern analyses

The technology allows VDOT to gain a much clearer picture of how the state moves
The technology allows VDOT to gain a much clearer picture of how the state moves

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has chosen mobility analytics company StreetLight Data to provide on-demand traffic and transportation intelligence.


Local, regional, and state planning agencies across Virginia utilise VDOT’s regional subscription to the online StreetLight InSight platform to transform big data from mobile devices into useful mobility metrics and travel pattern analyses.


Since 2015, StreetLight Data has supported VDOT on several major initiatives on a project basis. Projects ranged from a statewide travel demand model to transportation demand management projects in Northern Virginia.


Based on those successes, VDOT signed on for StreetLight Data’s Regional Subscription, which provides all planning agencies and designated consultants across the state with unlimited access to transportation studies. VDOT has now executed the second year of a three-year contract. In the first year, VDOT executed more than 360 studies using its StreetLight InSight Regional Subscription, realising over $14 million in savings over pay-per-use projects and traditional methodologies.


“Working with StreetLight Data has provided VDOT excellent opportunities to deliver on our goals of mitigating travel congestion and improving transportation offerings for the benefit of all Virginians,” said Nick Donohue, Deputy Secretary of Transportation.


“Using StreetLight InSight, we now have the ability to collect up-to-date mobility data for any project, no matter the size. Different agencies and consulting firms are all working with the same set of data, so everyone is on the same page. This power and flexibility help us maximise our efficiency and gain a better overall understanding of how our State moves.”


VDOT’s StreetLight InSight subscription provides unlimited analyses of real-world travel patterns in Virginia, and is available to designated employees of planning agencies and engineering firms. Projects currently underway using the platform include, but are not limited to:

  • Congestion busting: consultants are using StreetLight InSight to evaluate congestion mitigation tactics on I-95 and other key corridors
  • Travel demand modelling: StreetLight InSight origin-destination flows are being used to update the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Travel Demand Model
  • Commercial truck studies: StreetLight InSight commercial truck metrics are being used to evaluate the impact of heavy-duty and medium duty trucks on congestion through I-66.

“VDOT is using our StreetLight InSight platform to put big data to work for their core transportation projects like travel demand modelling, congestion busting, and commercial truck studies,” explains CEO and co-founder of StreetLight Data, Laura Schewel.


“That’s very typical of the work we do with smart cities elsewhere, but it’s more akin to a process change than a single project. We think of it as a systemic collaboration designed to bring Big Data into all of the different types of work that VDOT does.”


Schewel added that the main challenge in working with VDOT and clients more generally is education and training because the technology is relatively new. “The technology we offer is different from historic data collection methodologies. That means it’s on us to ensure that our clients have the tools they need to take advantage of the transportation analytics platform.


“With quick and easy access to actionable transportation analytics, VDOT can make data-driven transportation investments that are guided by real-world travel behaviour data. The key benefit of VDOT’s regional subscription to our on-demand platform is the ability to use up-to-date, real-world transportation analytics for planning future infrastructure and policies. Transportation data collection is traditionally expensive, time-consuming, and complicated, but it’s not with our platform.”


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