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Traffic Data-as-a-Service — How elected council officials can win the project management trifecta with ease

By Roger Rooney

Time, cost and quality.

Traffic Engineers and middle management will say ‘you can’t have all three’.

But senior executives and elected officials will invariably demand that you do deliver on this project management trifecta because you’re looking to

  • make changes to speed limits
  • improve road safety at blackspots and have to investigate complaints about speeding near school zones
  • introduce bike lanes or clearways on busy roads, and
  • prioritise the funding wave for traffic and infrastructure builds and maintenance

How have you done it in the past? Usually, through a patchwork quilt of data sources — driver street intercept surveys, car counters, traffic and parking surveys, sensors and SCAT data to estimate your baseline to measure against.

This approach is time-consuming, costly and only delivers part of the picture while imposing the maximum administrative burden on time-poor staff.

What’s needed is someone to do the heavy lifting, procuring, collecting, harmonising and quality controlling to produce one ‘single source of truth’ that includes car probes, fleet data, SCATS data and intersection data.

That’s what Intelematics have done, which is great news for traffic engineers, transport planners, smart mobility consultants and anyone wanting to improve speeds, safety, reduce congestion at peaks and at the destination — All this without having to ‘handraulic’ the data into a digestible and searchable format to enable data-driven decision making.

New to the market, Intelematics have just released their NSW road traffic database (Victoria’s to follow soon) of traffic volumes and speeds at scale. The data is updated regularly; granularity is down to 15 minutes, mid-flow and turn speeds are included, with AI used to harmonise the data sources for main roads and back street traffic speeds and volume.

Cutting edge, INSIGHT with its easy to use visualisations, includes the ability to analyse origin and destination data to assess the ‘last mile’ pain of congestion and parking — two of the major problems facing the government, business and the community.

Cars are us

Car vehicles are still the number one mode of transport in most councils, as it’s the most flexible form of transportation.

Public transport patronage is expected to return to only 70 or 80% of pre-COVID patronage, while car travel is already back up to above 85% of pre-COVID levels in some cities, the pressure is back on roads and the curbside (especially for getting take-away food).

Councils and transport authorities still have to deal with the same issues that revolve around vehicles, roads and getting safely from point A to B on time.

Even with COVID and restrictions, all the big policy questions and aspirations remain. Transport and car travel is still a hotly contested policy space. Some stakeholders want to take away on-street public parking in CBDs, usher in pedestrian first street activation projects and anti-parking ‘car sewer’, while others are promoting climate change considerations and advocating bike lanes and clearways.

Many of these goals conflict with each other, such as increasing rideshare but lowering congestion. Yet many of these aspirations have found their way into Smart City Strategies. But like these strategies, the traffic and transport goals are different in each city and region.

The City of Melbourne wants to become the #1 Bike City in Australia, whereas Adelaide just held ‘Car Month’ in an attempt to get shoppers to travel downtown again. At the same time, Canberra recently released its 50 page ACT Transport Strategy 2020 with only passing mention of cars and parking even though the city witnesses over 1 million car trips per day.

That’s where Intelematics INSIGHT comes in, with its at scale traffic data cutting through the peak hour fog and providing sound evidence for making, implementing and explaining decisions on how the council plans to help people move around cities and suburbs while delivering on safety, travel times, lowering emissions and supporting retail during these challenging economic times.

Huzzah! You don’t need to be a data specialist anymore

Intelematics INSIGHT lets you ‘map it and then track it’ so that you can assess impacts, take corrective action and see if your project is scalable.

As a single source of truth, Intelematics ‘Traffic Data as a Service’ portal INSIGHT, allows councils to deliver inward-facing efficiencies and transform business operations and outward-facing services, freeing-up the front line managers so they can focus on evaluating project impact and keep people informed about disruptions and travel times — aka help deliver the ‘City as a VIP experience’.

So win that time, cost and quality trifecta by registering for INSIGHT’s free trial, and kick-start your single source of truth, data-driven decision making to help build smart cities of the future.

Article Authored by Roger Rooney — Managing Director, BTS Advisory. Former Director Digital Canberra, CBRfree WiFi and Smart Parking ACT Government



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