Challenge: Staff-Intensive Data Collection
The City of St. Petersburg developed a range of additional performance metrics under the Complete Streets Implementation Plan, which was put into place in May 2019. These metrics measure the performance of the transportation system in accordance with the Complete Streets policy, and the additional measures aid the implementation of changes being made to the City transportation systems, which are more balanced between the different types of roadway users.
Collecting and analyzing the data needed to inform decisions about the transport system was difficult for the City of St. Petersburg. This is because the staff numbers in the Department have not increased despite increased workloads linked to the Complete Streets data collection project.
To study travel time and travel time reliability along particular corridors across St. Petersburg, staff typically need to drive the corridors themselves. This is a staff-intensive process that generally needs two staff members, with one member of staff driving safely and the other recording the drive times.
After the drive, other members of staff review and analyze the data. Not only is this process staff-intensive, it is also vulnerable to human error and the potential for bias. As a result, the City of St. Petersburg chose a simpler way to automate data collection for particular traffic metrics to better utilize staff time for data collection and the analysis of this data.
This easy solution came in the form of the SMATS Traffic Solutions’ data analytics platform, iNode™, which features integrated crowdsourced traffic data. The city can now study travel time on the majority of roads and highways in the City, allowing the City of St. Petersburg to monitor and capture on-demand travel time data for any road segment in the city, on any date and time.
Image Credit: SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
The officials of the City of St. Petersburg used the iNode™ application to monitor the flow of traffic and levels of congestion across various highways and roads throughout the city. With the iNode™ platform, the city has built more than 60 links that study travel time and travel time reliability along specific corridors.
The iNode™ dashboard map allows the City to benefit from an overall view of the links and their locations, and congestion levels for the different links can also be monitored and measured from this map. Each of the map’s links are colour coded, from dark red, to red, yellow, and green, denoting the range of speed for that particular link.
The visualization and comparison features on iNode™ simplify the study of travel times. The exported charts, along with the CSV files of the data, can be used for additional processing and for the preparation of custom reports.
With the SMATS iNode™ application, the City of St. Petersburg can utilize gathered data for a range of projects and adjustments. These potential projects include:
- The re-allocation of lanes
- Changes to traffic signal timing
- Adding or adjusting bicycle lanes, detour routes, BRT or transit routes, and on-street parking
- Traffic management for special events
- Evaluation of other traffic operations concerns
Dashboard view of iNode™ with the city’s data collection links set up. Image Credit: SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
Travel time chart for a sample link for 24 hours. Image Credit: SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
City of St. Petersburg Transportation and Parking Management
The City of St. Petersburg’s Transportation and Parking Management Department maintains and develops the transportation system, keeping the movement of people, goods, and services both safe and efficient.
The City’s Complete Streets policy is focused on considering the safety of all roadway users, from motorists and pedestrians to bicyclists and transit riders. This focus aims to enhance the quality of life for all the city’s citizens and visitors.
Why Use SMATS?
The SMATS iNode™ platform offers the City of St. Petersburg a method of automating travel time studies, helping to better use staff time so that more time could be spent on data analysis and other work that helps the city achieve its transportation goals.
Using the iNode™ platform allows the city to run studies that run with greater anonymization, and are more cost-effective, environmentally conscious, and more accurately represent the behaviour of the city’s motorists.
The iNode™ visualizations also provide value in the accessible way that data is shown, making it understandable to audiences with varying levels of technical understanding. Graphs also help to display the data while offering the numbers for quantitate analysis.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.
For more information on this source, please visit SMATS Traffic Solutions Inc.