What Kind of Data is Traffic Data?

An aerial view of a traffic data of a busy city street

Traffic data provides significant decision-making information for many entities, including local municipalities, city government, state government, as well as any state highway departments, road management departments, and local contractors that are working on a particular road segment.

Often, when recurring transportation problems occur over and over again, traffic data for that area is collected and studied to propose a solution. Typically, the idea is to reduce traffic congestion or traffic accidents by using appropriate traffic signs (like those from Worksafe Traffic Control Industries) in accordance with the Model Uniform Traffic Code.

Many options can be considered when all traffic data is analyzed, including the addition of mass transit capacity, creating alternate road paths or additional travel lanes, and posting traffic signs that can reduce bottlenecks by guiding drivers and pedestrians safely through an area.

How Traffic Data is Collected

All traffic data such as travel speeds, travel direction, and the number of vehicles entering and leaving a road section can then be analyzed and used to determine what type of traffic control devices and equipment is necessary for proper traffic control. A traffic study can be requested by local residents, a public official, any qualified transportation entity that is affected by traffic congestion, vehicular noise, or concern for public safety.

All traffic data methods will utilize some type of traffic data collection device or human surveyors to collect and track data on the number of vehicles/pedestrians, driving or walling speeds, and the time it takes a vehicle or person to traverse a specific roadway section.

Traffic detection devices will use sensors, magnetics, radar, or imaging analysis (machine vision) to collect the traffic data in the most efficient manner. The data is then analyzed to discover the intensity of the traffic and the propensity for accidents on roads and highways and at intersections traveled by passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, and other vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles.

Traffic Data Classifications

Traffic data comprises many types of data, including point aggregation data to summarize or simulate traffic flow. These geoanalytical tools use specific algorithms in addition to the collected point data that is input using the traffic data collection devices.

One aggregate point is assigned to each vehicle passing or leaving a certain point. The end result can be summarized as traffic volume, vehicular count, or area congestion which is a count of all pertinent entities within an area which may include commercial business fronts, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

There are many types of supporting traffic input data, geographical data, and road data that is needed to analyze road traffic situations, including road data:

  • road material and dimensions
  • road geography or topography
  • road location and function
  • road or traffic type

The road location will be subcategorized as:

  • state highways
  • local or district roads
  • rural or village roads

Additionally, the road’s function will be taken into account when collecting traffic data:

  • Interstates
  • Other Arterials
  • Collectors
  • Local roads

Supporting data may also include the road materials, which is often found to be a contributing factor when analyzing frequent road damage, delays, or high incident area:

  • flexible roads (asphalt etc.)
  • rigid roads (concrete, etc.)
  • other roads (dirt, gravel, etc.)

The road data can now be used in connection with all traffic data that is collected to obtain a full picture of road conditions (including roads with complicated geometries) and road utilization for vehicles and passengers. Traffic and road data will also include the road crash history, proposed road or community developments, and any expected traffic growth due to an increasing population or commercialization in the area.

The end result of all the data from traffic detection trailers and other devices is to make improvements within communities. With information about existing or forecasted traffic, city planners and commercial developers can make informed decisions about appropriate lane markings, traffic signs and traffic signals, roundabouts, sidewalk dimensions, bike paths, roadway and sidewalk lighting, or adding additional lanes

Contact us at Worksafe Traffic Control Industries to learn more about traffic control products that are produced in accordance with, and certified by, the Model Uniform Traffic Code. We are a women-owned business, with a keen focus on customer service. This includes a 7-day turn around on customer orders while providing the highest quality in every order.

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