IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

StreetLight Data Introduces New On-Demand Traffic Metrics

The company is slicing its data, which it gathers through GPS devices, in more ways. Now transportation officials can ask for the average number of vehicles on a stretch of road in an hour and in a day.

StreetLight Data, a company that provides on-demand transportation data to government, has released two new metrics aimed at creating a more detailed view of road activity.

Those metrics are Annual Average Hourly Traffic, which is an estimate of the number of vehicles on a stretch of road per hour, and Monthly Annual Daily Traffic, which is an estimate of the number of vehicles on a stretch of road per day for a given month.

Both are calculated as averages out of larger time periods, meaning that they wouldn’t reflect actual changes in traffic from hour to hour or day to day. These are the formulas for each:

  • Average Annual Hourly Traffic = Traffic over the course of a year/365/24
  • Monthly Annual Daily Traffic = Traffic over the course of a month/number of days in the month
StreetLight Data pulls its traffic counts from anonymized location data reported by cellphones, on-board navigation and other GPS devices, whereas local government has traditionally relied on a physical presence on roadways to count vehicles. It already provides weekly and monthly metrics.

“Transportation planners have always found it difficult to deliver accurate monthly and daily traffic data due to technological constraints, increasingly tight budgets, small survey response numbers and data sets, as well as complex seasonality factors,” Laura Schewel, CEO and co-founder of StreetLight Data, said in a statement. “We are excited that StreetLight Data now has the capability to offer this level of detail almost immediately, wherever and whenever it’s needed.”

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.