An analysis of the impact of wireless technology on public vs. private traffic data collection, dissemination and use
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The collection of data concerning traffic conditions (e.g., incidents, travel times, average speed, traffic volumes, etc.) on roadways has traditionally been carried out by those public entities charged with managing traffic flow, responding to incidents, and maintaining the surface of the roadway. Pursuant to this task, public agencies have employed inductive loop detectors, closed circuit television cameras, technology for tracking electronic toll tags, and other surveillance devices, in an effort to monitor conditions on roads within their jurisdictions. The high cost of deploying and maintaining this surveillance equipment has precluded most agencies from collecting data on roads other than freeways and important arterials. In addition, the "point" nature of most commonly utilized surveillance equipment limits both the variety of data available for analysis, as well as its overall accuracy. Consequently, these problems have limited the usefulness of this traffic data, both to the public agencies collecting it, as well as private entities who would like to use it as a resource from which they can generate fee-based traveler information services. Recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates concerning E-911 have led to the development of new technologies for tracking wireless devices (i.e., cellular phones). Although developed to assist mobile phone companies in meeting the FCC's E-911 mandate, a great deal of interest has arisen concerning their application to the collection of traffic data. That said, the goal of this thesis has been to compare traditional traffic surveillance technologies' capabilities and effectiveness with that of the wireless tracking systems currently under development. Our technical research indicates that these newly developed tracking technologies will eventually be able to provide wider geographic surveillance of roads at less expense than traditional surveillance equipment, as well as collect traffic information that is currently unavailable. Even so, our overall conclusions suggest that due to budgetary, institutional, and/or political constraints, some organizations may find themselves unable to procure this high quality data. Moreover, we believe that even those organizations (both public and private) that find themselves in a position to procure data collected via wireless tracking technology should first consider the needs of their "customers," the strength of the local market for traffic data, and their organization's overall mission, prior to making a final decision.
Thesis (M.C.P. and S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 151-154).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.