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New York Experiments with Data Driven Traffic Management

BetterDriverAccording to the Wall Street Journal New York’s Department of Transportation is putting data analytics to work in New York City. They are hoping to use data from select vehicles to tackle traffic problems in the city. They’re also hoping to help New Yorkers become better drivers.

The agency will launch a federally funded pilot program this fall to equip up to 500 city motorists with transmitters that collect data from their car’s onboard computers. The data will flow to certain smartphone apps, supplying drivers with statistics on everything from gas mileage to the average speeds at which they move through city traffic.

The DOT will be able to monitor the same driver data, to evaluate how and where cars are moving through the city in a new way. The DOT could analyze the data to find specific problems that plague specific streets.

…With the pilot program, the DOT hopes to comb through data to detect, for instance, a stretch of road in which many drivers have had to slam on the breaks or swerve out of the way of a collision.

…DOT officials said, though, that the main component of the program, however, will be to help drivers understand their own behavior better–and potentially help motorists reduce gas by finding less congested streets and reduced insurance costs by encouraging people to drive safely.

This is a nice example of the ways that advances in data analytics are helping to bring meaning to mountains of data. In this case, onboard diagnostic computers have been collecting driver data since 1996, but not much has been done with it.

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