Goodbye Traffic Counters, StreetLight AADT Canada Is Here

By July 11, 2019 August 28th, 2020 No Comments
mountain goats blocking cars on canadian road

This month marks our updated release of AADT metrics. We’re particularly excited about adding thousands of validation counts. Trained and tested using more than 9,100 and 1,800 permanent traffic counters respectively in the U.S. and Canada, StreetLight’s AADT can be rendered for bi-directional traffic, or pinpoint traffic moving in one direction on a roadway, including ramps, highway connectors, and local roads.

Our new AADT also includes Canada — a vast nation with low population levels outside of a handful of megacities. It has a large number of rural and remote locations where traditional AADT data collection with traffic counters can be difficult, often dangerous, and extremely costly to undertake. 

But as a Canadian citizen, I can tell you how important AADT data is here. In Canada we depend on motorized vehicles as a viable means of moving people and distributing goods not just across provinces, but also across the border and to ports for shipment overseas.

We think Big Data AADT is a game changer for replacing temporary and manual traffic counters. Our AADT Canada traffic counts can support operations, maintenance, planning transportation infrastructure, environmental, safety, socio-economic and policy-making objectives.

Understanding Big Data AADT

Creating AADT metrics for one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries was no easy task. It required development of innovative intelligent algorithms, evaluation of several promising methodologies, tons of testing, and limitless hours of cross-validation. In addition, we employed massive computing power to process trillions of Canadian data points. Fortunately we had many of the necessary resources on hand:

  1. Location Based Services: Provides geospatial and temporal data from consumer smartphone devices.
  2. Navigation GPS: Consist of personal and commercial vehicles that have GPS technology onboard.
  3. Census Data & Demographics: Used for LBS normalization to population.
  4. Other contextual information such as weather, urban density data, and more.
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image for AADT methodology process

In addition, we collected training and validation data, also known as “ground truth,” to represent actual AADT Canada traffic counts collected 365 days a year using permanent count stations. 

How Big Data AADT Can Support Canadian Planners

There are several critical applications for AADT data, but gathering accurate trip count data isn’t always possible with traffic counters in sparsely populated areas. Big Data can help in these ways: 

  1. Environmental: Green Transportation Vision and Programs, Carbon Tax and Congestion Pricing

What better way to measure the impact of motorized transportation on our environment than Big Data? Imagine being able to extract thousands of AADT data points within minutes from the comfort and safety of your office.

Canadian governments at all levels share a growing interest in establishing balanced, fair, and equitable climate strategies and programs that will help reduce emissions without placing a heavy weight on the average Canadian household. Big Data can support planners from establishing a new strategy to measuring and quantifying the effectiveness of programs and projects.

  1. Reporting and Project Prioritization  

Often project funds can only be unlocked when business cases are supported by solid data, especially when costs are shared between multiple stakeholders (Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments). 

Big Data AADT is a low cost, highly effective and accurate technology that can provide Municipal, Provincial, and Federal agencies much needed data to prioritize initiatives and obtain necessary buy-in to proposed projects and programs.

map locating traffic counters in Ontario, Canada

A screenshot of StreetLight InSight AADT that covers the entire Hamilton Region, Ontario.

  1. Trade and Economic Development – Rural Opportunity

Canadian citizens living in rural communities often face unique challenges, and transportation is sometimes a driving factor. Travel on improved roadways and bridges is critical for economic development of these regions including job creation, and attracting talent and investments. Amongst other metrics, AADT data  is a strong indicator of growth in these regions, and also can highlight underlying opportunities for infrastructure investments.

In conclusion, our AADT metrics can help transportation professionals collect data for both urban and remote parts of Canada. Our proven metrics provide data that simply isn’t possible to gather in Canada with traditional traffic counters. Watch our webinar and see for yourself.