Every time a driver hits the road, Big Data comes along for the ride, hitchhiking on cell phones, location-based apps and vehicle hardware. The resulting data stream has changed how many urban planners, engineers and contractors analyze traffic patterns to plan transportation projects.
The entry of Big Data into the field of mobility analytics has created a road map for technology companies eager to help engineering firms create traffic models with more precision. Such models can detail drivers’ origins, destinations and trip routes during specific times, says Michael Iswalt, associate of transportation planning at Arup. “This kind of data shows you—empirically—what people are doing. It takes a lot of guesswork out of what traffic engineering tends to be.”