Satisfactory transportation planning and management involves many complex factors since it deeply affects an area’s economic health and quality of life. Transportation managers must consider environmental issues, public safety, freight movement, residential and commercial development, and revenue in order to develop workable and practical plans.
Typically, planning organizations develop a strategic plan with short-term and long-term goals. The plan includes assessing existing problems through data collection and analysis, identifying areas expected to experience the greatest amount of traffic growth, and conforming to state and federal regulations.
Data for transportation planning is traditionally collected by different methods, such as residential and commercial surveys, traffic volume counters, weighing stations with sensor pads, tollbooths, acoustic sensors, and sales of electronic tickets and passes. The data collection may include vehicular travel time and speeds, arterial and intersection volumes, road conditions, congestion density, vehicle origin and destination, lane occupancy, and traffic incidents requiring the intervention of emergency services.
In recent decades, more sophisticated technology such as infrared sensors, cellular phone towers and global positioning system (GPS) satellites has played an increasingly important part in transportation. Drivers routinely access traffic-related websites that show them heavily congested roads and highways to avoid. GPS navigation systems are a frequent feature in cars, trucks, commercial vehicles and even aircraft.
In the future, mobile data collection technology should assume a more centralized role in transportation planning and management through the ever-increasing use of smartphones and tablet computers. Data collection through a data collection system such as COMMANDmobile® provides a number of important benefits:
- Customization – Data entry forms can be tailored with ease to accommodate surveys and quickly updated as needed.
- Accidental errors and redundancy elimination – By simplifying the method of entering data, the possibility of accidental errors and redundant information would decrease.
- Data transmission in real time – The convenience of the COMMANDmobile system enables data to be more quickly gathered and sent in real time.
- Quick and easy implementation – Systems such as COMMANDmobile may be easily integrated into existing enterprise systems, decreasing the need for expensive employee training and reducing installation time.
- Geocoded images and data – Images of decaying transportation infrastructures such as bridges and highways could be acquired through the use of a digital camera, tagged with geographic information, and transmitted to a centralized database.
The COMMANDmobile data collection system offers reliability, security and improved productivity for transportation management organizations or federal agencies. To see how COMMANDmobile could be adapted to improve your organization or agency, request a demo.