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How Data Can Change The Way Our Cities Operate

Vehicle Traffic


We've all experienced the frustration of being stuck in traffic, even going out of the way to avoid peak transit times and impacted areas. Instead of walking or driving longer distances, we ask a bigger question– can cities do anything to change their traffic problems?

The simple answer is yes, and here's how:

Identify what kind of traffic issues are most prevalent

Even though traffic is inevitable, understanding the root of the congestion can help create a solution. A survey by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics indicated that women typically drive less and men drive longer, 45% of daily trips are usually taken for shopping and errands, and the most daily trips taken occur on Fridays. Knowing your city's demographics and primary industry by region can help you evaluate and forecast traffic trends.  

Understand what kind of infrastructure is needed

Nothing diminishes the vibrancy of a city more than clogged thoroughfares and low pedestrian traffic flows. That's why city planners should pay close attention to both alleviating those stresses and making the outcomes more user-friendly. Consider a city that adds a bike lane or creates a walking trail. Doing so oftentimes encourage residents not to drive, thereby reducing the number of cars on the road, while simultaneously boosting the business confidence of retailers with brick and mortar store fronts.  

Know your potential markets

Innovation is seeing exponential developments in various industries. As a result, job growth has expanded in several cities across the nation. Municipalities are building mixed-use residences and open-space shopping destinations as a means to attract and retain newcomers. What does this mean for commercial real estate brokers? People and vehicle count data can affect the way property and retail owners select sites, adjust rental rates, and evolve city centers. By providing accurate and real-time data on pedestrian and vehicular traffic, cities are able to narrow their focus on the kinds of people within their districts and share the data with brokers who can lease spaces to businesses that appeal to them.  

What is your competition thinking?

With so many advancements, cities are adopting new ways to integrate smart technology in their future developments. Computer vision is at the top of the list because it helps support government authorities in their effort to understand information such as the number of commuters who walk, bike, take the subway or drive in a specific area. It can even show what routes people take, how long they stay on the route, and if they decide to stop in a local store for a coffee.

Seek out emerging trends

City planners, engineers, and business improvement districts are actively building better and smarter cities. To that end, authority figures should seek out better ways to engage with citizens, meet their demands, and increase overall well-being. Taking steps, such as adding smart lighting sensors, can raise efficiency levels while producing valuable insights that can help districts lower crime rates, increase energy savings, and decrease traffic congestion.