Seattle: Big Traffic, Big Data

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  • Author: Statistics Views (source: Michael Balsam, Outsell Insights, 27/05/2016)
  • Date: 01 July 2016
  • Copyright: Image appears courtesy of Getty Images

City of Seattle partners with Siemens,  as huge influx of tech boom workers coupled with hard-to-expand infrastructure finds the city in need of data-driven traffic management more than ever.

thumbnail image: Seattle: Big Traffic, Big Data

The recently procured Siemens Concert Traffic Management System (part of Siemens’ Urban Mobility solutions) with its predictive analytics capabilities, provides urban transportation nerve centers with integrated strategic traffic control measures and traffic system visibility. By pulling data from key traffic control systems, along with relevant information as road and weather conditions and local event information, Concert will determine real-time optimal sequencing of traffic signals.


Siemens isn’t alone in the intelligent transportation system space, providers include:

  • Inrix: Through its mobile app, Inrix provides real-time and predictive traffic information. Algorithms detect traffic flow anomalies that trigger alerts and rerouting details.
  • Kimley Horn: Leveraging its transportation design roots, architecture and engineering firm Kimley Horn integrates traffic data with congestion solutions.
  • Verizon: Capturing data from sensors embedded at intersections, Verizon’s Intelligent Traffic Management Service provides SaaS-based corridor performance analytics.

Public sector data-driven traffic management has been a work in progress for a few years. One of the early examples was the City of New York when they launched a telematics pilot in 2013, connecting 500 vehicles to smartphone apps to provide motorists with driving habit details to influence behavior. The system, called NYC DOT aggregated the data to analyse how vehicles move through the city and identify potential problem areas.

Nevertheless, harnessing traffic data is not just about road conditions; it also has a quantifiable impact on worker productivity and economic prosperity. 'The public sector’s motivation is not top- and bottom-line revenue growth but rather measurable improvements in livability that attract new residents, fuel local economies, and reduce operational costs. However disillusioned we may be about the pace of public sector innovation, the data advantage is already demonstrating tangible citizen benefits'. As Michael Balsam puts it in his article, 'The business of data is no longer an interesting roadmap initiative to contemplate; instead, it's a here and now strategic imperative'.

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