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Old Posted Nov 13, 2012, 11:14 PM
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This DIY Traffic Counter Could Change Everything About Transportation Planning

Read More: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/com...planning/3846/

Quote:
Thanks to Nate Silver, the results of Tuesday’s elections are being widely viewed as an affirmation of data wonkery, proof that non-ideological number crunching leads to solid analysis of real-time situations. But the question remains: How do we get more of this good data? Not just about politics, but about the real-world problems that politics are supposed to solve?

- The little orange gizmo with a tube attached is called TrafficCOM (that’s COM for “community” and “computer”), and it allows users to measure the volume, rate, and speed of traffic on any street, then upload the data for immediate sharing. Khawarzad says he and Ullrich began developing TrafficCOM on a recent trip to Moscow, where sustainable transportation advocates had invited them to help figure out where that traffic-choked city could put bike lanes. Khawarzad says he realized that they needed solid data on traffic conditions to begin making recommendations, and the project began evolving from there. They received key support, in the form of a small stipend and some feedback, after being invited to participate in the recent San Franscisco Urban Prototyping Festival.

- Here’s how it works: You can buy a TrafficCOM device for $139 (traditional traffic-counting devices cost about a thousand bucks). That gets you a pre-assembled device that is ready to use out of the box. Follow instructions about where to set it up, and you can be counting traffic right away. When you’re done, connect to your computer with a USB cable and upload the data, which will be mapped on the TrafficCOM site. That data is then accessible to anyone who wants to use it, a key feature in the minds of TrafficCOM's creators. Khawarzad thinks his device will be useful for community groups, neighborhood associations, and advocacy organizations who are concerned about the impact of traffic on their streets and want to pursue solutions, but who have been frustrated by the impenetrability of the processes surrounding traffic planning.

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