Accurate and real-time traffic data is essential for traffic surveillance and effective management of traffic and road conditions and the reduction of excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Municipalities around the world spend millions of dollars to collect data and understand the dynamics of their transportation infrastructure such that improvements to transportation capacity can keep pace with demand (Hartgen & Fields, 2006). Most common traffic data collection methods rely on roadside inductive loop detectors. These techniques are expensive to deploy and maintain, and they are not scalable, nor economically sustainable for rapidly growing cities such as Calgary (McLeod, 2009). More importantly, these solutions and their resulting applications1 continue to fall short of providing information required by city management and policy makers. These applications are also of limited utility to the City as they only cover a small portion of the city, at a coarse spatio-temporal resolution (mostly urban core highways and major city streets).
We propose that through this project we will develop TrafficPulse: a participatory mobile urban sensor web that harnesses voluntary use of smart phones as a cost-effective, ready-made and pervasive sensor web that allows us to query, model, understand, and visualize the city’s mobility information in real-time.
Through discussion with the City of Calgary, we have selected intelligent green transportation as the targeted application area for this research. TrafficPulse will be a mobile social network-based sensor web that will:
- Enable participants to join the urban sensor web by volunteering their Smartphone’s to perform opportunistic sensing tasks (e.g., collecting spatio-temporal traffic velocity data);
- Enable participants to join existing, or create new participatory sensing projects through the use of a Smartphone’s touch-based GUI and an online social networking platform;
- Encourage participants to accumulate their “Green Karma”2 by making green travel choices or contribute geotags;
- Encourage participants to share and compete their Green Karma with their social networks;
- Enable the general public, through an open social networking sensor web portal, to browse, search for, access, and visualize TrafficPulse data; and
- Enable ITS researchers to develop new traffic estimation models and new traffic control logic based on the realtime TrafficPulse system.
This $280,000 project is jointly funded by GEOIDE, the City of Calgary, and TecTerra. In addition, Cybera and IBI Group offers in-kind supports to this project.
- Dr. Steve Liang (University of Calgary, Project Leader)
- Dr. Andrew Hunter (University of Calgary, Deputy Project Leader)
- Dr. Lina Kattan (University of Calgary, Urban Alliance Chair in Intelligent Transportation System)
- Dr. Mohamed El-Darieby (University of Regina)
- Dr. Baher Abdulhai (University of Toronto, Canadian Research Chair in Intelligent Transportation System)