Crowd-sourced data has become a valuable source of information as the use of smartphones becomes widespread. Users can actively – or by default – share information gathered during their trips with traffic and travel information (and other) service providers. This type of cooperation has helped to improve the detail of digital map data and real-time traffic and incident data. (See Mobile Reports)
Vehicles are being installed with sensor technology – which can provide detailed information about their environment. Major programmes for cooperative sharing of this information among vehicles and between vehicles and road network managers are being explored in Europe, the USA, Japan, and Korea. (See Coordinated Vehicle Highway Systems)
These types of data are an important resource for road network operators – where agreements can be reached on data access and sharing. It is also effective in handling real-time disaster situations. (See Case Study: Japan Cooperative Probe Data)
There are a variety of approaches to collecting traffic data from probe vehicles in order to analyse the resulting patterns:
The use of probe vehicles to measure travel time reliably faces three main challenges:
Collecting other types of probe data will often require closer integration of sensors and data reporting within the vehicle. For example, specific on-board devices and communications protocols are necessary to enable the appropriate capture and transmission of data such as windshield wiper activity or traction control system data.