Recent technology has enabled the use of mobile phone applications to poll traffic and roadway condition data via crowdsourcing. Researchers from Iowa State University and Purdue University noted the possible application of this data to provide a framework for agencies to dynamically monitor changing road and weather conditions. The researchers compared qualitative assessments of snowplow dashboard images with recorded interstate vehicle speeds.
The image data, which consisted of approximately 1,120 geotagged images taken by snowplow cameras, was classified by users into seven different categories of road condition—e.g., "wet," "dry," "icy," and others. Then, connected vehicle speed data was used to analyze speeds at the tagged locations in a two-hour window around the images’ recorded times. This allowed for an analysis of the impact made by the snowplows.
The authors noted that the methodology could be extrapolated to explore future pairings of crowdsourced and agency-sourced data, as well as be used to schedule optimal snowplow deployment frequencies based on time-of-impact assessments.
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