Can Understanding Hourly Car Traffic Flows Improve Store Traffic?

Mobility data provider Citilabs has created what it claims is the first comprehensive map of hourly traffic flow in the U.S.

Dubbed Streetlytics, the data visualization tool leverages information from billions of data points to measure and paint what Citilabs CEO Michael Clarke says is the “most complete picture of the moving population.” In addition to hourly details of where traffic is coming from and going to, it also shows traveler demographics based on derived home locations.

Asked if there is any value for either multi-location businesses or even independent small-to-medium sized businesses from Streetlytics’ hourly traffic map, Clarke emphasized that “Streetlytics is much more than an hourly traffic map.”

“It does provide the directional volume of vehicles and people moving along every street in the US by hour and type of day (weekdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays), but it also tells business where those people live (and the associated demographic information such as income, size of household and many other attributes), as well as where those people are coming from and going to and why they are traveling (commuting to work, for example),” Clarke said.

Streetlytics also compiles the routes that people take, he added. So, for a business, let’s say a doughnut chain, Streetlytics can identify the road segment where you find the maximum number of the target market that does not currently drive within, say a quarter-mile, of one of their existing locations and/or their competitors.

“Nothing like that has existed until now—determining location based on the flow of the target market down the streets, not simply based on where the target market lives,” Clarke said.

In terms of who Streetlytics data, which hows the intensity of traffic volume on roadways in the continental USA by hour for an average work day, the underlying data and insights are applied today in advertising, insurance, real estate, retail, investment and new mobility solutions.

Hugh Malkin, director of Business Development, offers this explanation of the tool’s value: “Since Streetlytics provides the routes used for every vehicle trip, it is also a great base line or control to measure the impact of new technologies around smart cities on every road in the US. These averages can help businesses, startups, and governments spot anomalies in the new technologies they are testing to help them learn and get better faster.”

“Another example of how this information is important is that it tells businesses not only the number of people that pass in front of or near their location but the detailed characteristics of those travelers,” Clarke noted. “That is important information for helping business to align their product breadth, depth and assortment with the drive by population and for use when comparing against in-store transactional data.”

Smart Cities On The Road

The information from Streetlytics could help spur projects around the “smart cities” concept for businesses, tech companies or municipal planners, Clarke said.

In explaining the underlying value of Streetlytics to those constituencies, Clarke offered this analogy: If you were considering opening a restaurant, you would want to understand the market for your restaurant.

The big question you would have would be “Does the demand exist and does it match with what your restaurant will serve?”

When planners, businesses and tech companies consider where to put a road, a transit line, a bike path or, say, to initiate some kind of new mobility service or smart concept—they really have no clear understanding of the demand—how many people are going to and from every part of the city, by hour by day, Clarke said.

“Streetlytics provides a comprehensive view of travel demand. It tells a provider or planner how many people travel from say Riverdale to Tribeca, or Hoboken to Wall Street hour by hour and the characteristics of those people,” he said. “That’s valuable information for planners who want to have a clear understanding of not just where they have traffic jams or crowded subways, but where those people are coming from and going to so that solutions can be found that serves that market and alleviates the problem.”

“In the same way, it provides a clear understanding of the market for private enterprise to serve that demand with evolving mobility services – does this make sense for us to create such a service – what is the size and characteristics of the market?” You can think of many examples where Streetlytics can improve the ‘smartness’ of cities such as much more efficient ways of operating services and infrastructure on a daily basis, to where you should spend your maintenance budget to give the best bang for the buck,” Clarke said.

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How Intel’s Mobileye And Esri Plan To Make Smart Cities Into ‘Safer Cities’ For Transportation

Mapping analytics provider Esri is working with Intel’s Mobileye, a provider of advanced driver-assistance systems software, to combine the former’s location analysis and visualization with the latter’s Shield+ product to help shape transportation safety programs for “Smart Cities.

Mobileye’s Shield+ will stream road safety data retrieved from city bus fleets into Esri’s ArcGIS platform, where information such as pedestrian and cyclist detection in blindspots can be viewed on the Intel company’s Smart Mobility Dashboard.

Shield+ alerts will be updated to the dashboard in real time, providing a city-wide view of pedestrian and cyclist safety. For example, city bus drivers can receive alerts about “imminent hazards” such as a bicyclist or pedestrian coming out of a driver’s blind spot seconds before a potential collision.

“Esri is excited to collaborate with Mobileye for an offering that brings us so much closer to creating safer communities,” said Jim Young, Esri head of business development. “Making spatial data available to governments to improve safety and overall quality of life is an important step.”

Intel Mobileye’s Shield+ with Esri’s location analytics and data visualization can help buses eliminate “blind spots” and provide more traffic safety.

“Through this collaboration with Esri, we are able to provide a game-changing product to cities and mobility providers,” adds Nisso Moyal, director of business development and big data at Mobileye. “By enabling direct uploading of geospatial events from Shield+ fitted to municipal buses and the like to the Mobileye Smart Mobility Dashboard, cities will be able to anticipate and help prevent the next collision, while in general managing all of their assets much more efficiently.”

As Young and Moyal note, the Shield+ project is another way of highlighting how location data is factoring into — and shaping — the future of Smart Cities.

GeoMarketing: What Is “Shield+”?

Jim Young, Esri: I like to think of Shield+ as a set of sensors that are continuously moving around a city, collecting data. While today the sensors are focused on things like saving lives through detecting pedestrians in the street, tomorrow, these sensors could be focused on collecting, reporting, and analyzing any type of road information they collect.

Think about if a series of vehicles passed over a major pothole. If sensors are installed, this could automatically trigger a dispatch to public works in order to repair the hazard quickly. This data, or other types of data, including construction alerts, traffic or weather-related hazards, could also be fed to other vehicles in the fleet to improve awareness in the moment and be analyzed later on, to continue creating smarter cities that provide the best services for their communities.

How did this collaboration between Intel/Mobileye and Esri come about? Was there a previous connection between the two brands? 

Jim Young, Esri: The connection came about through several mutual partners through Esri’s work in Israel. While there has been some previous connection with Intel, this is the first initiative between Esri and Mobileye.

Nisso Moyal, Intel Mobileye: We are excited to work together, as this cooperation provides cities and governments with a tool to make their cities smarter and safer for road users.

Who will this collaboration serve? Municipal governments? Automotive manufacturers? Public transportation authorities? Urban planners/non-profits outside of government? Brands? All of the above (if so, is there a hierarchy?)? 

Jim Young, Esri: The initial collaboration with Shield+ will serve city planners, DoT’s, transit authorities and transportation planners.  We look forward to later iterations expanding to serve a broader customer base.

Does Mobileye’s Shield+ have any other mapping or tech partners beyond Esri? 

Nisso Moyal, Intel Mobileye: Mobileye Shield+ offers increased awareness for operators of long vehicles, and provides vital seconds to react with real-time alerts. Drivers are given an intuitive experience and fleet managers have seamless telematics integration. The system is mounted inside the vehicle’s tab with a tolltag-sized sensor on the windshield and an EyeWatch display on the dash. The Mobileye Sheild+ system uses up to four individual sensors for improved blind spot detection in urban environments. The two level warning system and minimal false alerts achieved by Mobileye assure the highest level of driver attention whenever an alert is delivered including:

  • Forward collision warning: alerts when a collision is imminent with anything ahead of the fleet vehicle;
  • Pedestrian & Cyclist Collision Warning – Alerts when a collision is imminent with a pedestrian or cyclist within the vehicle’s front danger zones;
  • Lane Departure Warning – Alerts when a lane deviation occurs without proper signal notification;
  • Headway Monitoring and Warning – Alerts when the following distance from the vehicle ahead becomes unsafe;
  • Speed Limit Indicator – Recognizes speed limit signs and alerts when the vehicle exceeds the posted limit;

Jim Young, Esri: There are telematics partners but no other mapping partners as part of the solution.

How does Esri’s visualization tools enhance Shield+?

Jim Young, Esri: Esri’s visualization tools enable the customer to see patterns beyond what a single bus can see with Mobileye vision. The technology creates a feedback loop for cities to learn and improve, by turning their existing fleet into a network of sensors that can map the areas of the city where pedestrian safety can be improved.

Shield+ in action

How do you see this collaboration aid the growth of smart cities? 

Jim Young, Esri: By attaching Mobileye sensors to existing fleets, cities can begin to lay the digital tracks for their autonomous future which will create safer roads.  The bundle allows cities to see patterns that were previously invisible. By mapping the data and events that Mobileye vision sensors see across an entire fleet, areas of the city that present a risk to pedestrians and cyclists are revealed and can be improved through improvement initiatives and more informed transportation planning.

How does “asset mapping” work within the context of this collaboration? And do you see any benefit for local businesses from this tool? 

Jim Young, Esri: The initial offering between Esri and Intel Mobileye is focused on improving safety. Future iterations that take advantage of more capabilities of Mobileye vision could benefit asset mapping and be of great benefit to other aspects of cities and local businesses.

How do you expect the project to develop? Any initial expansion plans for 2018 that you can preview? 

Jim Young, Esri: The project will initially be focused on visualizing Mobileye data on an Esri map. We plan to offer Esri customers the ability to see other map layers alongside the Mobileye data, such as transit stops, bus routes, weather and accident data, for example, for additional visualization and analysis.

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