6 mins read

They say that sometimes it takes a crisis to spur action and push people to look for new, more efficient ways of doing things. At Intelematics, we see evidence of that, our engineering and infrastructure planning customers looking at how they can conduct a traffic analysis for their projects, despite COVID-19, both muddying real-time traffic samples, and restricting traditional on the ground traffic evaluation work. 

To help traffic engineers know more about how Intelematics’ historical road traffic data can be used at such times, we held a webinar recently, where my colleagues Denise Christie, John Cardoso and Jerri Zhao, helped participants understand how our road traffic data can inform: 

  • Infrastructure projects at the planning, analysis and assessment stage  
  • The benefits of having instant access to years of high-velocity, high-resolution traffic data; and how to utilise historical traffic data now with a live demonstration, so you’re a step ahead when life goes back to normal.  

 Here are my top five takeaways from the webinar

#1 Intelematics’ data is comprehensive

In my four years at Intelematics, one question always comes up: where do we get our data from?  

The answer is multiple sources: 

  • Intelematics rich transport and traffic data is collected through thousands of sensors located on roads, in vehicles and infrastructure with collections as rapid as per second frequencies. 
  • Intelematics enriches its data using multiple proprietary sources and machine taught algorithms. We have minimal thresholds of data quality that ensure our services are reliable. If one particular source of data doesn’t meet our minimum threshold, our system automatically calibrates the results to ensure quality and safeguards the data from being skewed. 
  • Intelematics specialises in historical and real-time traffic data for traffic speed and congestion, traffic count (queues), and incident data having recorded over 200,000 incidents to date. This holistic approach ensures that the most up-to-date traffic information is captured and recorded. It is the comprehensive nature of our data that means we can offer historical traffic data at such a granular level. By default, we offer data in 15-minute intervals. But this can be reduced to three-minute intervals if required. 

By comparison, most of our competitors, as well as open access data, is often aggregated into six-monthly or annual blocks, meaning that planners don’t get the full picture. 

#2 Intelematics’ data is available in four distinct variants

Intelematics INSIGHT data is available in four distinct variants: Traffic flow, Traffic count, Traffic origin and destination, and Traffic incidents.

Traffic Flow Data (In-store, Available for 2000+ Australian suburbs) – is the best for travel times and understanding delay across the network. It looks at the speed that cars are travelling along certain sections of a road and is produced from the greatest data set. Each probe is de-identified and doesn’t have origin and destination information built in. We use this data for our SUNA traffic system [LINK], and this data set is popular with traffic engineers looking at one specific bottleneck.

Traffic Count Data (Releasing next month by State starting with NSW) – is the next step up and looks at how much traffic is travelling through an intersection at any given time, rather than the speed at which it is travelling. Count data is handy in knowing where traffic is sitting at an intersection and how this affects turning points.

Origin and Destination Data (Coming soon)– is our newest variant. It looks at how a vehicle travels from Point A to Point B – an important factor for traffic engineers who want a holistic view of the road management system. For example, Origin and Destination data can plot popular routes as well as look at behavioural changes that could have been made due to infrastructure changes. While more complex than straight Traffic Count and Traffic Flow data, this variant is particularly vital in data-led decision making, especially when significant capital expenditure is involved. Origin and Destination data is also special because this information is particularly hard to produce without a large quantity of traffic data recorded, making it a unique product for Intelematics.

Traffic Incident Data (Coming soon) – is our final variant with more than 200,000 examples recorded for over 100 types of incidents along with their impact on traffic, down to lane level. This information is logged through our AI platform known as TOASTi and is incredibly reliable, thanks to algorithms that can evaluate the reliability of the input source. False positives are a rarity!

All four variants are distinctively different and offer engineers real insights for their needs.

#3 Intelematics’ data solves complex problems

Intelematics’ comprehensive data, set out in four distinct variants, is the perfect tool to solve complex problems. Since the data is granular, seasonal adjustments can be made, which means that the impact of school holidays, weather events or even a pandemic like COVID-19 can be modelled based on it. Hypotheses can be tested with real data, and evidence-based decision making is possible, rather than relying on hunches. Organisations or even individuals can now access data to look at traffic data correlations with economic events, natural events or whatever they choose. The possibilities are endless. As they say, ‘data is king’ and the more information you have, the more you can do with it.

#4 Intelematics data is cost-effective

Capturing traffic information through legacy methods such as pneumatic tubes or people out in high vis jackets and clipboards counting vehicles are expensive and produce less accurate data with less history. Let’s face it, humans weren’t really designed to count cars, and no organisation wants to have a person sit on the side of a road for months when their skills can be put to better use. That’s why Intelematics INSIGHT is such a breakthrough as it is highly cost-effective – costing less than most legacy methods while offering much more in-depth insights. Some of our webinar attendees shared feedback that said, they couldn’t wait to ditch their old methods – and I don’t blame them!

#5 Intelematics’ data is easy to access and interoperable

As a data aggregator, Intelematics believes in open standards and interoperability. As an employee, I have the choice of a PC or Mac as my work computer. This shows Intelematics’ approach to tech – we don’t believe in locking people down to one system or one platform. The same approach applies to our customers. That’s why our data is made available in a CSV format, which can be left in the ubiquitous Microsoft Excel, or imported into reporting or visualisation systems such as Tableau or Crystal Reports.

We also believe in simplicity in everything we do, from the way we communicate as a company– to the way we layout our data. Our data is comprehensive, but it is simple to understand and laid out for anyone to analyse it with ease. It’s data to the people!

So, there you have it – my top five takeaways from an INSIGHTful webinar. In case you missed it, worry not, we have a recording waiting for you here.