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Austraffic uses ‘big data’ for immediate traffic benefits

John Reid, managing director of Australian traffic and transport data consultancy, Austraffic, has revealed how the better and more intelligent use of ‘big data’ can bring immediate practical benefits to traffic management. Reid explained, “The recent closures of the CityLink Tunnels and the Westgate Bridge for maintenance and closure on the Eastlink toll way in Melbourne for the international ‘IronMan’ competition created challenges for motorists and the event traffic managers. Austraffic assisted in the management of the alternative traffic diversions by deploying Bliptrack sensors on the alternative routes. The sensors detected the unique code of individual Bluetooth-enabled devices from passing vehicles at various points along the routes and gave an accurate and real-time Origin-Destination travel time. To understand the change in traffic on the day, we ran a baseline comparison survey a week prior to the event. This allowed VicRoads to make decisions in real time on the day, with a good baseline understanding of traffic conditions.”

Reid continued, “The time spent planning the event, and then having the real-time information to hand, paid dividends for the event organizers and VicRoads, with minimal increase in travel time being experienced by the traveling public (less than one minute). This was still 20% lower than a normal weekday peak, even with an increase of over 40% in the volume of traffic along Springvale Road throughout the event, due to the diversion. We observed a number of interesting trends that we are sharing with VicRoads and the event organizers to assist their planning for subsequent events. This is using data and the technology smarter to manage the traffic and optimize the outcome on the day. We’re seeing more of this, as data collection becomes more reliable and repeatable. The future is going to be about making decisions based on a complete understanding of what this complex and far reaching data really means.”

April 28, 2014

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