Traffic congestion is one of the biggest problems facing today’s cities, posing a serious challenge for traffic managers and urban planners. Accelerated population growth means that the number of vehicles in cities is growing exponentially, and to fix a problem as complex as traffic congestion, municipal leaders need innovative solutions that understand today’s connected commuter.
Today we’re introducing our latest Location Intelligence solution that equips cities and local governments with a simple solution to address their urban mobility challenges with crowdsourced data: CARTO Traffico.
CARTO Traffico makes it easy for cities to integrate crowdsourced GPS data from Waze, open data sources, and more traditional traffic data streams to gain real-time mobility insights. The app also allows traffic managers to analyze real-time and historical city data made available through the Waze Connected Citizens Program. CARTO has joined the Waze Connected Citizens Program, a partnership resulting in a data exchange empowering local leaders to confront traffic-related issues with with real-time, anonymous location data provided from drivers themselves.
Until now, it has been tough for cities to find intuitive ways to bring together real-time crowdsourced data with existing data streams from different city departments in one single interface. However, with Traffico, city operations managers and urban planners can share a single resource to find insights that allow them to:
- Identify city locations with high volumes of short trips and/or circuitous routes as areas where new infrastructure projects could reduce congestion if public transportation were more accessible or if more direct routes were available
- Determine when repair and maintenance work for transportation systems will cause the least disruption by running origin-destination analyses with GPS data and sensor data
- Provide transparency to their citizens about where and how infrastructure investments are reducing traffic congestion in their cities
Let’s take a closer look at CARTO Traffico’s participation in the Waze Connected Citizens Program, how the solution works with new data streams, what services this new Location Intelligence solution provides city and municipal leaders, and finally why Traffico is redefining what it means to be data-driven in the city of Madrid!
CARTO Traffico and The Waze Connected Citizens Program
Personal navigation apps have come under fire for displacing rather than solving traffic congestion. Drivers looking to avoid delays have detoured through residential areas not intended to handle high traffic volumes. Unfortunately, this commuter-centric approach to traffic management has caused unintended problems such as delayed incident response times to residential areas because of unexpected traffic congestion.
It is true that navigation apps have led to a behavioral change in citizen transportation, but it is also true that traffic managers and urban planners can glean unrivalled insight into mobility patterns by working with the location data generated by these apps to better understand and prepare for the impact that these behavioral changes can have on their city
The Waze Connected Citizens Program (CCP), launched in 2014, adopts a community-centric rather than a commuter-centric approach to addressing today’s mobility problems. The two stated goals of the program are:
- To get Waze-reported incident data into the hands of government officials that can address the reported incident, whether it’s a five car pile-up or a pothole
- To give Waze drivers the best real-time, location-based information on what’s happening on the roads
Today, the CCP has over 600 partners whose work has improved living conditions for more than one billion people in cities around the world. When we came across the CCP we saw a unique opportunity to partner with an organization with the same ambitious goals to use mobility location data to improve cities across the globe.
How CARTO Traffico works
Traffico’s open-source technology enables a two-way data exchange that integrates data from city-specific APIs with crowdsourced GPS data from the Waze API to present both a real-time and historical view of mobility patterns. This allows Traffico to give new levels of interactivity and higher granularity than other more traditional traffic management solutions.
Using Traffico’s real-time view, local officials are alerted to reports from drivers on traffic jams, accidents, warnings about possible hazards, construction work, road closures, and other city events. The street-level view extracted from anonymous GPS data is then aggregated, analyzed, and visualized by administrative boundaries to measure citywide traffic impact levels, road service levels, and various travel alerts.
Using Traffico’s historical view, local officials can better understand behavioral changes in transportation in past seasons or during specific events. The solution can be set to analyze a specific period of study, calculating the average rush hour duration, start time and end time, a ranking of the worst dates within a time period, and even the worst day and time of the week for commuting can be determined. These KPIs can be customized to align with the goals of an individual city’s congestion strategy, allowing each city to track the success of measures taken to reduce citywide disruptions caused by scheduled maintenance to public transit systems or infrastructure.
The City of Madrid takes CARTO Traffico for a test drive
The United Nations predicts that nearly 65 percent of the world’s population will reside in cities by 2050, and this urban migration is likely to cause the amount of motor vehicles on the road to surpass 2 billion cars and increase air pollution by 8 percent. In cities like Madrid, however, these effects are already being felt today.
In December 2016, for instance, the City of Madrid became a trailblazer, issuing what would become the first of many traffic bans that forced half of the city’s 1.8 million vehicles from the roads after air quality sensors reported dangerous levels of air pollutants produced by daily commuting. This innovative approach to reducing both traffic congestion and health risks caused from prolonged exposure to air pollution has been matched with the City of Madrid’s innovative approach to analyzing traffic data as well.
That is why the City of Madrid will be the first city in Europe to use Traffico to drive decisions on when, where, and for how long to restrict the flow of traffic in and around the nation’s capital.
We couldn’t be more excited to in Madrid, our company’s original hometown, take Traffico on its maiden voyage, and in the process show how Location Intelligence solutions enable a more innovative approach to mobility planning.