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How Traffic Data At Your Fingertips Can Create Smarter Cities

What do recent national politics have to do with transportation planning? For Sarah Goodyear, the connection is clear: it's about having access to good data for solving real-world problems.
November 9, 2012, 5am PST | Erica Gutiérrez
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TrafficCOM is a new, comparatively affordable and easy-to-use gizmo that allows users to collect traffic data and share it immediately. For inventors Aurash Khawarzad and Ted Ullrich, this is an "inexpensive solution for one of the most pressing data-collection needs in the urban portfolio: traffic frequency and speed," reports Goodyear. Most importantly, it collects such data for use by "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."

The impetus to develop the device is rooted in a realization made on a recent trip to Moscow "that [local advocacy groups] needed solid data on traffic conditions to begin making recommendations," says Khawarzad. Development for the device was enabled by "key support, in the form of a small stipend and some feedback, after being invited to participate in the recent San Francisco Urban Prototyping Festival." reports Goodyear. At a cost of $139, the pre-assembled and plug-in ready device is accessible and user-friendly.

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Published on Thursday, November 8, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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