Better Traffic Solutions with New Technology

By Shive-Hattery

Designing Better Traffic Solutions with Better Technology 

How fast (or slow) can you get from Point A to Point B? Your community notices when traffic congestion impacts their day-to-day lives. You may even be receiving more calls and complaints from your residents about commute times and safety.

Time to Travel Data

Traffic data collection studies are one of the first steps you can take to address traffic congestion. Measuring “time to travel” data means cities will be able to see not only how long it takes vehicles to travel a corridor, but also what might be contributing to slower-than-expected times.

Time to travel data is most beneficial for municipalities considering retiming their traffic signals. Traffic data collection cameras could be set up at intersections or key points along a corridor and programmed to record all day or just at peak hours, for a full week or only certain days, depending on what information a client needs.

Traffic Data CollectionWithin weeks, you will have easy-to-read graphs showing precise time to travel information. You’ll learn whether the travel time is too long, which would mean that signal retiming is needed to reduce vehicle idle time at certain intersections. The data can also be used to show a “before and after” picture of a corridor for signal retiming projects.

Using Wi-Fi & Smart Phones for Traffic Data Collection

With the continual evolution and improvement of traffic data collection technology, you can now measure how long it takes a vehicle to get from one point to the next using drivers’ smart phones. As a vehicle passes a traffic data collection camera, the smart phone inside will pick up a Wi-Fi signal from the camera, registering the vehicle for that point. As the vehicle passes each subsequent camera, it will be recorded at each point. The information collected includes how long it took the vehicle to get from one point to the next.


Municipalities may be able to use congestion or emission funds similar to ICAAP (Iowa’s Clean Air Attainment Program) to pay for time to travel studies, which help identify locations and times of congestion and can lead to changes that improve vehicle idle time at lights. If your transportation projects and programs reduce transportation-related congestion and air pollution, your community may qualify for ICAAP funds.

Turn Your Data into a Solution

Collecting time to travel data will assist in correctly identifying any traffic congestion problems prior to determining the best solution.

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