Image showing movement trails of vehicles on a highway, in blue and red colors

Urban areas are hubs for economies, arts, and culture. As a result, they’re constantly changing to reflect the new ways we live, work and interact with one another.

One such change occurred during the pandemic, when the global shift to remote working inspired many people to move from urban areas to suburban and rural locations. This shift, as well as a significant rise in ecommerce and food delivery services, created new conditions and priorities for many transportation departments.

With so much change happening so quickly, access to accurate, insightful data has become more important than ever. Equipped with quality transportation figures, you can go from adapting to change, to encouraging it – helping to create better places to live, work and travel in the process.

But what does quality data look like? The answer to that question has evolved over the last few years. Read on for the key signs that your data is giving you the insights you need to help your city, municipality or region fulfil its potential.

Photograph of a highway in Beijing

It covers the whole region

When you’ve been working in a certain area for a significant amount of time, you know it inside out. But unless you have data that covers large parts of the region, you may be making assumptions that are harming your ability to plan.

A wider data pool could unlock insights that would have been impossible to foresee – and impossible to take into account. High quality data will cover the entire region you’re responsible for – giving you the visibility you need to come up with new, innovative solutions.

It’s near real-time

As transportation networks between and within cities grow and evolve at speed, we’re reacting to more new issues, more often. That’s why it’s vital that your traffic data is available as soon as possible after it’s been generated.

High-quality data is never more than a day old. With daily updates, you can make decisions with confidence – helping you prioritize the issues of today and tomorrow, rather than spending money to solve yesterday’s problems.

It tells a story

A bonus to collecting all that up-to-the-minute data is that you’ll also start to build quite the archive of historical data too. Armed with historical data, you can have a better understanding of how traffic reacted to different incidents in the past.

An example could be a significant highway closure because of an accident. Using historical data from the incident paints a picture of how the closure affected travel times and speed plus where the traffic got diverted to. Seeing the full story behind historical traffic patterns and anomalies allows for comparison benchmarking and better future planning for similar scenarios.

It’s rich

High-quality data also gives you all the context you need to make effective decisions. Once you can explore it by time, vehicle type, and trip type, you can understand the contributing factors to road usage and spot patterns and traffic anomalies.

Advanced solutions will even be able to identify industry as well as purpose of a trip. For example, you can differentiate between an office-worker travelling to a meeting, and a delivery driver fulfilling orders.

It’s all the visibility you need to proactively take on new transportation challenges and quickly root out blockers to better city living.

The insight to adapt

Cities are always evolving – but the pandemic has created new, unforeseen trends and challenges that we’re only just starting to get used to. And who knows what the future will hold? With hybrid working becoming the norm, and a projected rise in digital commerce, the transformative effect of the pandemic is likely to resonate for years to come.

That’s why access to high-quality transportation data has never been more important. It gives you the insight you need to adapt fast, so you can dodge pitfalls and seize fleeting opportunities.

Geotab ITS provides you with rich commercial and consumer vehicle insights for smarter traffic planning and management. You can find out more about the return on traffic data here.

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