For years, data used in traffic operations came from sensors and cameras that monitor traffic conditions at fixed locations. Now, State and local transportation agencies can use crowdsourcing for operations to turn system users into real-time sensors on performance, providing low-cost, high-quality data on traffic operations, road conditions, and travel patterns. Integrating crowd-sourced data (e.g. data concerning speed, travel time, and incident type, such as a crash, a stalled vehicle, or debris on the road) with an agency’s existing systems, can help expand geographic coverage, improve the timeliness of data feeds, and overcome jurisdictional stovepipes, which will lead to more effective operations strategies.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) buys real-time crowdsourced probe vehicle speed data from a third party traffic data service that aggregates traffic speed data on more than 2,000 interstate segments from a variety of sources, ranging from personal GPS units to fleet vehicle information, into one-minute representative speeds. This probe data is represented in a real-time dashboard, known as the Traffic Ticker,
The Traffic Ticker proved useful during the unplanned closure of a bridge on Interstate 65 between Indianapolis and Chicago that necessitated a 60-mile diversion route. Driving the detour took up to 4 hours on the first day. Using its Traffic Ticker dashboard to process and visualize crowdsourced data, INDOT made operational changes to reduce detour driving time, such as retiming traffic signals and adding temporary signals.
- The Traffic Ticker dashboard helped reduce detour driving time from 4 hours to 62 minutes, a reduction of nearly 75 percent.