Assistant Professor Dan Work and his team made the trip to Manhattan to deploy a new system that can provide valuable, real-time information to police, emergency personnel and the public during major events and disasters. Called TrafficTurk, the system enables anyone with a smart phone to easily collect traffic data using a specially design application. Work’s team held its first large-scale deployment of TrafficTurk in Champaign-Urbana on Oct. 27, Homecoming weekend at the U of I. At that time, more than 100 students were stationed around town to use the app and send data back to “mission control” in Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory. The following weekend found the team in Times Square, documenting post-Sandy traffic patterns with the help of Columbia University students. They also invited the public to download the app and use it anywhere in Manhattan. They will analyze the collected data to see what they can learn about post-disaster traffic patterns.
TrafficTurk promises to revolutionize traffic monitoring during extreme congestion events, Work said. For decades, traffic engineers have relied on manual data collection on surface streets, using tools called turning movement counters. The devices are expensive, though, and municipalities could never afford to give them to hundreds of people at once for real-time monitoring, he said. TrafficTurk employs an application that essentially turns a smart phone into a turning movement counter. The application can be downloaded from a website and utilized by as many people as necessary, depending on the size of the event. The information recorded can be made immediately available.
Widely deployable ad hoc dynamic traffic probes via smartphone-enabled mobile sensor networks.
Dan Work, Assistant Professor at UIUC (CEE), PhD from Berkeley (Alex Bayen)
HT Andrew Tinka