Saturday, December 29, 2012

Traffic Data Collection Tools - Bluetooth, GPS, & Cameras

The Green Lane Project asked its resident blogger to ask me about my efforts on our recent cycletrack project on NE Multnomah. The focus of the blog post from Michael Andersen was on the work we're doing on NE Multnomah to monitor traffic conditions, optimize movement on the corridor, and be responsive to the public comments. The tools we're using include Bluetooth data collection for estimating arterial travel times, a GPS to get data from individuals, and video cameras so we can observe the experience on the corridor, especially if we're called from the field. This article scratched the surface of some of the work to harness data to make decisions.

We have been working closely with the PORTAL group at Portland State University for establishing permanent locations for Bluetooth devices that we can use to measure arterial performance and use the information for monitoring. On Multnomah Blvd, we used temporary devices and it was helpful to understand whether there was any specific issues we should address.

I recognized this is an area I haven't written a lot about, so here's a little more background on Bluetooth travel time analysis we have completed. The first example was some research conducted on comparing vehicle travel times with bus Automatic Vehicle Location data. The initial work I did on this topic was with Kittelson & Associates on Bluetooth data with vehicle travel times, which was also published at the 2010 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting. Most of this work has to be attributed to the brilliant minds at Purdue University, specifically Darcy Bullock who shared the concept with the Transportation Research Board meeting in 2009?

Back to Portland, we have rolled out these devices where we have had something new going on and resources to spare. The Federal Highway Administration acknowledged the robust nature of the data we have created by awarding us a grant to document the extensive data as a Model for others to follow. The report on this can be found here.

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