By: Laura Schewel on May 11th, 2018

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Visualizing Big Data for Transportation: Our Latest Updates

Big Data | Smart Cities | Traffic | Transportation

This week, we updated StreetLight InSight®, our on-demand platform for turning Big Data from mobile devices into actionable transportation analytics – just like we do every month. The improvement we’re most excited about for May is our interactive visualization builder. In a nutshell, the interactive visualization tool is a more powerful tool for StreetLight InSight users to analyze transportation behavior within our platform. It’s also a major step forward towards our goal of helping transportation professionals put Big Data to work for planning, modeling, and engineering.

Let’s face it: it’s always easier and faster to understand trends with a heat map or a chart than with a giant spreadsheet. It’s even better when you can dynamically manipulate the data behind those charts and heat maps to see how behavior changes in different conditions. (But don’t worry, long-time users, the spreadsheets are not going away!)

 

 

Interactive Visualization Builder


StreetLight InSight
is designed to help transportation planners, modelers, and engineers put Big Data to work quickly and easily. That’s what our interactive visualization builder is all about. You can watch this video, updated with our new visualization options, for a brief overview of how it works:

As you can see, one of the big changes is that you can now view charts and heat maps side-by-side. Here’s are a few more videos that highlight the top improvements:

Change Visualization Colors for Charts

You can now adjust the colors used in charts to meet your needs.

Select Multiple Zones; Drill Down on O-D Pairs

This feature is great if you want to create a visualization that highlights only the top O-D pairs in your study, and doesn’t show every single Zone you analyzed.

Select Multiple Day Parts and Day Types at Once

If you want to look at analytics for two or more different Day Parts at once to see how things change throughout the day, this feature will definitely come in handy.

While the interactive visualization tool is not available for every Project Type, we’re working to expand it as quickly as possible. Our older visualization builder will still be available in the interim. For more details and a list of the Project Types that are currently available, visit our tutorial in the Support Center.

Blend Your Own Data with Ours to Estimate Actual Counts

Our Calibration Feature lets users upload their own local traffic count data to StreetLight InSight when they’re creating Zones. Then, our system uses your data to automatically scale our analytics, which are typically provided as index values, into estimated counts. Having a quick way to estimate counts for your Metrics often helps you put Big Data to work more quickly. This feature has been available for Projects that use navigation-GPS data for more than a year now. To learn more about how it works, please take a look at our Calibration Feature tutorial.

Thanks to recent advancements in our processing techniques for Location-Based Services (LBS) data, our Calibration Feature is now available for this data source, too. We’re excited about this because LBS data has a much larger sample of personal travel patterns than navigation-GPS data. Since LBS data captures nearly ¼ of the combined US and Canadian populations and provides sufficient spatial precision and pinging frequency for the vast majority of transportation studies, we strongly recommend it for personal travel studies.

Does that sound a bit technical? If you need a breakdown, please visit our Support Center tutorial, "How to Choose Your Data Source," to learn more.  Our blog article, "Evaluating Location-Based Services Data for Transportation: Is Our Sample Representative?" also provides a great overview of how we normalize this data source.

The Usual: Usability Improvements

As usual, this week’s updated included more months of data and slew of usability improvements and performance enhancements. It’s now possible to run studies in our platform for any month from January 2014 through March 2018, though it’s important to note that some months have a more robust sample than others.

While some of our other updates may seem minor at first glance, they make using our platform much easier and more efficient for our clients. Here are the highlights:

  • Improved visualization and editing capabilities for Line Zone Sets
  • A new feature for automatically setting up hourly analyses with one click
  • The ability to quickly copy, tweak, and re-run existing Projects

What’s Next for StreetLight InSight?

One thing’s for certain: there are definitely more StreetLight InSight updates on the way. So, why do update every month? Well, we think frequent updates are critical to support transportation planners, modelers, and engineers.

First, we regularly solicit feedback and requests from our clients, and we are almost always eager to implement their ideas as quickly as we can. If a user identifies a new way for us to improve the user experience for our clients, we make it our top priority. Second, travel patterns change as new technologies, infrastructure, and policies are introduced. Thousands of StreetLight InSight users across the US and Canada are running analyses in our on-demand platform every week. That means we always have a client who needs to analyze the performance of a new initiative or unexpected change – and unless we add the most recent month of data available to our system, that client won’t be able to.

Our goal in introducing new features, optimizing performance, and adding new months of travel pattern data every month is to ensure our clients can easily access the best available information when they need it. This means that if a new dockless scooter system rolls out in your city and residents are demanding an assessment of its value, you won’t have to wait too long to get the data you need.

As we work to develop future releases, we want to hear from you! Tell us how our new interactive visualization builder is working for you. Let us know your ideas for new features, enhancements, and upgrades. If you’re frustrated with a process, we want to hear that, too. Share your feedback by reaching out to our Support Team at support@streetlightdata.com or by contacting us online.

 

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