In the fields of transportation and land use planning, the public sector has long taken the leading role in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data. Often, public data sets drawn from traveler diaries, surveys, and supply-side transportation maps were the only way to understand how people move around in the built environment – how they get to work, how they drop kids off at school, where they choose to work out or relax, and so on.
But, change is afoot: today, there are not only new data providers, but also new types of data. Cellphones, GPS trackers, and other navigation devices offer real-time demand-side data. For instance, mobile phone data can point to where distracted driving is a problem and help implement measures to deter such behavior. Insurance data and geo-located police data can guide traffic safety improvements, especially in accident-prone zones. Geotagged photo data can illustrate the use of popular public spaces by locals and tourists alike, enabling greater return on investment from public spaces. Data from exercise apps like Fitbit and Runkeeper can help identify recreational hot spots that attract people and those that don’t.
The Brookings Institute
by Adie Tomer and Ranjitha Shivaram
Thursday, July 20, 2017