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Principles for addressing urban traffic monitoring challenges


Performance measurement and data-driven decisions are becoming increasingly critical components of transportation departments to help efficiently allocate resources, effectively operate the transportation system, and intelligently plan for the future. Traffic monitoring programs are fundamental for measuring performance and supporting decisions. Traffic data provide ground truth for understanding vehicular movements by mode (e.g., car, bus, truck, bicycle, walking) and serves as the input for executing essential tasks and responsibilities of government agencies. Despite the importance of traffic count data, many jurisdictions have not invested in developing strategies for establishing a robust, adaptable, and sustainable traffic monitoring program. This position paper provides direction for developing traffic count program strategies based on a best practices review and experience developing traffic count programs in various Canadian jurisdictions. Specifically, it discusses common challenges faced by urban jurisdictions regarding traffic monitoring, illustrates potential implications of insufficient traffic data, and presents a set of guiding principles that jurisdictions can apply to improve their traffic monitoring program. The six principles are responsiveness to need, truth-in-data, consistent practice, base data integrity, data interoperability, and future flexibility. The paper demonstrates the need for a Canadian urban traffic monitoring guide and recommends using the guiding principles as the foundation for this guide.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Garreth Rempel
Jonathan Regehr
Jeannette Montufar
Transportation planning