A traffic survey is a survey undertaken to determine the volume and/or nature of traffic utilising a particular route. A traffic survey can be manual or automatic. In conformance with the State law, vehicle speed laws can only be enforced when speed limits of a roadway are determined by an engineering and traffic survey. The Engineering and Traffic Survey is an engineering study of the prevailing speeds and a review the traffic conditions of the roadway which is completed every five years for streets greater than 40’ in width, regardless of the street’s classification. Traffic surveys aim to capture data that accurately reflects the real-world traffic situation in the area. It may be counting the number of vehicles using a road or collecting journey time information for example, but there are many other types of data that traffic surveys collect.
Traffic volume data — the number of traffic attendants passing through a certain section of the road over a certain period – is the crucial information indicating the importance of road. These data, as well as other data on land use and transport behaviour are continuously acquired at regular intervals. This data is essential in order to fulfill the demand of the transport models, i.e. for: Interactive data presentation for analysis of the existing traffic
- Finding out problematic road locations and times
- Modeling of minor changes in the city’s transport network like closures, new sections, capacity changes, etc.
Selecting the right method for traffic collection
The following factors should be taken into account when selecting the method and carrying out a traffic survey:
- Accuracy — Counter — a person is subject to stress, fatigue, and his biological needs. These factors affect data quality. In the manual method, attention span of a counter decreases with the length of the survey, and thus the error rate is increasing. The sensor-based technical methods are not subject to these influences. For technical devices, a certain acceptable error rate is constant. Expenses —In the case of extensive surveys on multiple locations at one time, it is necessary to consider the financial difficulty of purchasing of technical devices that is worthwhile only if repeating such surveys. In the case of it is a one-time survey however, it is financially disadvantageous to purchase and deploy all necessary equipment. Therefore the majority of new video-analytical solutions for traffic analyses are distributed in the form of online solution — SaaS, with no deployment costs.
- Purpose of the survey — With most traditional methods it is necessary to determine up-front what data we need to measure and what it will be used for. Manual counters are not able to capture complicated traffic patterns or advanced data like travel time. They also fail at surveying pedestrian footfall or bicycle traffic, just because it is too complicated. Traditional technical sensors are able to capture more complicated traffic patterns, however often multiple sensors are needed to capture various types of traffic attendants at once.
- In conclusion, traditional data collection methods on traffic and transportation infrastructure are generally inefficient. They are either resource-intensive or time-consuming, providing single-purpose data only, are expensive and complicated to organize/operate. There is definitely a huge space for innovation.
Types of Traffic Surveys
- Volume Surveys (traffic count)
- Speed Surveys
- Classification Counts
- Gap Studies
- Turning Movement
- Multi-lane Classification
- Pedestrian Surveys
- License Plate Surveys
Traffic surveys aim to capture data that accurately reflects the real-world traffic situation in the area. It may be counting the number of vehicles using a road or collecting journey time information for example, but there are many other types of data that traffic surveys collect.