According to the 2018 TomTom Traffic Index, Ottawa ranked 4th most congested city in Canada and 14th in North America. Congested roadways are a major road-bump for the economy and culture of urban areas. Knowing this, the City of Ottawa was looking for a way to actively monitor and manage the impact of local traffic events such as road closures and present their findings using factual data. Making improvements in collected traffic data’s reliability is crucial to effectively manage roadways and relay accurate information to travelers and traffic managers.
SMATS Traffic Solutions’ data analytics platform, iNode™, has integrated crowdsourced traffic data. This allows the City of Ottawa to establish “virtual sensors” and monitor traffic conditions in real-time, eliminating the need of dealing with hardware in terms of installing, relocating, or retrieving.
The use of iNode™ enables the City to monitor live travel time, compare alternative travel routes, and perform before-and-after studies. Keeping in mind social impact, traffic data is sourced from “floating-cars”, made anonymous to respect public privacy.
“Diverse functionality, remote accessibility, and the valid traffic data we obtain using SMATS’ iNode™ platform greatly helps us make many traffic-related decisions.”
The City of Ottawa Traffic Services is responsible for a wide scope of operations. They aim to maximize the safety, efficiency, capacity and predictability of the existing road network for all users. With the amount of construction in Ottawa, the impact of lane closures and work zones drastically affect the flow of traffic regularly. Recently, Hog’s Back Bridge in Ottawa has been closed, forcing traffic to be rerouted in other directions. The ability to actively monitor road traffic flow with access to live data ensures that alternative routes are as efficient and effective as possible during the construction period. By using iNode™, the City can analyze and quantify the impact of the bridge closure on congestion. As well, utilizing before-and-after traffic studies to highlight traffic improvements and factually reinforce the importance of construction changes.
Extreme or unpredicted traffic events, especially in combination, lead to increased congestion. The clear unpredictability of traffic outlines the value that live travel time brings to the table. When looking for real-time traffic data and/or a traffic monitoring solution, City Traffic Engineers want a system that is simple to use, quick to deploy, versatile, cost effective, and fits into existing business practices. The iNode™ data analytics platform offers unlimited access for municipality staff to monitor and evaluate traffic conditions. This allows multiple sections within the City to utilize a common platform for transportation decisions. The data can be utilized for a variety of cases, such as incident monitoring, signal optimization, and data backed travel times. The all-in-one, web-based transportation monitoring system allows the City to perform traffic studies of all durations on high frequency city roads. The adaptability and accuracy of the system is a clear advantage of SMATS technology.
Map of virtual sensor locations
Graphed data output of travel speed and times
The City of Ottawa, with the help of iNode™, is able to actively monitor traffic flow, pinpoint issues in congested areas, and identify and measure the impacts of construction. Using the platform, City officials have established over 20 links monitoring travel times on highways and roads within the City. The exported charts and CSV files of the data are used to validate project findings, support City decisions, investigate traffic issues, measure impacts of traffic pattern changes, and back-up necessary proposals, using this factual traffic data in place of anecdotal. Other units within the City, such as Traffic Engineering, have began to implement facets of iNode™ to streamline their operations, such as utilizing before-and-after studies for traffic signal retiming. “Diverse functionality, remote accessibility, and the valid traffic data we obtain using SMATS’ iNode™ platform greatly helps us make many traffic-related decisions,” according to Bruno Lepage, Incident Management Coordinator, Traffic Management, City of Ottawa.