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What Is Traffic and Routing Data?

Traffic and routing data refers to the data that measures and counts the flow of traffic and keeps detailed documentation of road maps and routes available for travel, whether by foot, bicycle, or motor vehicle. This data provides accurate, real-time traffic information in a given area.

This data is widely used in a private capacity (such as individuals planning the best route and time for travel) but is also used by businesses planning, for example, where to locate new premises.

Routing combines the traffic attributes of the data with geographic and point-of-interest (POI) data to determine which route would be best for travel from Point A to Point B, taking into account road congestion, road quality, distance, and so on.

Where Does Traffic and Routing Data Come From?

Manual turning counts, parking surveys, and pedestrian surveys collect traffic and routing data. Cameras record plate numbers and vehicle movement in real time. You can also use traditional methods like the manual review of published data and in-person surveys.

You can collect this data from existing POI databases or you can collect the information in the same way that those databases were built.

What Types of Columns/Attributes Should I Expect When Working with This Data?

Common attributes include factors which have more to do with traffic counting and assessment than with geospatial and POI attributes. These factors include real-time vehicle counts and speeds as well as vehicle occupancy counts to give an idea of how long a vehicle has been parked in a certain area.

POI attributes that can contribute to routing can include footfall, road quality, and location data to compute distance.

What Is This Data Used For?

Almost everyone uses this kind of data, from private individuals to corporations and governments. Individuals use the data to plan the best route and time for their travel, businesses and governments use the data to plan where to locate a new office or service, to determine whether a route is used for recreation or commuting (based on peak usage trends), or to plan how best to ensure drivers are easily able to get to an natural landmark.

Governments also use this information to determine the best routes for ambulances or public transport, to monitor air pollution, and to determine which routes need maintenance or where new roads, paths, or railways need to be built.

How Should I Test the Quality of Traffic and Routing Data?

Measuring data quality requires an understanding of all the intended purposes of that data. However, it is recommended that any data set be assessed for the following:

  • Accuracy
  • Completeness
  • Validity
  • Timeliness
  • Coverage
  • Accessibility

To guarantee these features, you should only acquire data from a reputable and well-reviewed provider that can verify the quality of these measures.

Finally, you should confirm that the data provider regularly runs error detection systems and real-time measurements on the dataset.

What Are the Most Important Factors I Should Vet when Selecting This Data?

The most important factors to check in traffic and routing data are accuracy, recency, and completeness. When in contact with potential providers, you should ask about these factors in the greatest detail. After checking these factors, you should follow with confirming the process and methods of the data collection.

Interesting Case Studies and Blogs to Look Into

ResearchGate: Data Mining Methods for Traffic Monitoring Data Analysis: A case study
Tom Tom: What can traffic data tell us about the impact of the coronavirus?

Tangible Examples of Impact

Many businesses (BMW, IBM, Subways, Tesco, Cumberland Farms, Western Refining) use traffic data and technology providers like Kalibrate and INRIX. These data providers have helped business make geospatial decisions like establishing new store locations.
Kalibrate: Client Stories

Relevant datasets

Moovit Transportation Data

by moovit_logo

Moovit Transportation Data provides real-time public transportation data from municipalities and private transportation companies. This data enables users to plan journeys from wherever they stand, utilizing an interactive map. Moovit also enables users to connect to carpool and ride-sharing companies.

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Posti Group Shipping & Logistics Data

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Posti Group Shipping & Logistics Data comprises e-commerce, parcel tracking, and traffic data to deliver parcels to millions every weekday

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