Traffic Analysis in Real Time

Until recently, geospatial experts have been unable to truly record traffic data because there hasn’t been a way to get a near-perfect record of traffic data at the lane level. Yet, it’s more evident now than ever that the need for near-perfect data is becoming a critical requirement for the connected city of the future.

The Google Self-Driving Car and other autonomous vehicles can consume more data in a minute than the average human can in an hour.  The problem with that data is the lack of accuracy and completeness of today’s existing data sets.

Most people don’t understand why Google Maps and Waze are so inaccurate even though they claim they operate in “real time.”  The reality is that those data sets are based on fleet telematics and probe data, and probe data represents only 5-10% of the actual picture and is usually delayed at a minimum of 15-30 minutes.  When you analyze this data set in major urban centers, the picture becomes even more distorted.

Nevertheless, all of us technophiles use Google Maps and Waze, which are based on these inaccurate data sets. If I were to ask you if you trusted Google Maps or Waze with your life, my guess would be a resounding “No.” Yet, as we move to a world where machines will be making a lot of these critical decisions that run our infrastructure and lives, near-perfect data is not a “nice to have” but a necessity.

This is where a method to record the history of traffic data comes in. We at Metrotech are recording it every minute of every day, and we’re starting to analyze it in real time and can truly leverage the power of predictive analytics to make cities run more efficiently and safely.

Traffic Data Value Pyramid

Traffic Data Value Pyramid

The best way to bridge this gap is to create private/public partnerships with the government and the existing infrastructure to ensure that existing data can be transmitted to the government agencies, businesses, and consumers who need it.

We are still at the dawn of the autonomous vehicle movement, but every auto manufacturer, mapping company, telecom carrier, and logistics company I have spoken with over the past two years is eagerly awaiting the day that they can get access to this data and make a better experience for their constituents, plus save time and money for their shareholders.

Traffic Analytics Dashboard

Traffic Analytics Dashboard

To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, The Matrix: “Do you hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.”


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