New Jersey is part of the nationwide 511 traveler information system that provides real-time traffic information to the general public. NJDOT can provide travelers with real-time travel time and event information on NJ highways with probe travel time data from TRANSMIT, Inrix, and HERE and incidents and special events data from OpenReach. Furthermore, real-time XML data feeds can be accessed by public and private sector through the TRANSCOM data feeds. However, different from many other states such as California, Florida, Portland, Wisconsin and other states, the New Jersey real-time traffic data feeds is missing data from a key traffic characteristic, traffic flow. This is due to the primary data sources for existing 511 and TRANSCOM data feeds are from probe travel time data providers such as Inrix and HERE Nokia.
Missing traffic flow data in traveler information services and traffic management operations can lead to misleading situations. When a roadway is closed, probe travel time will report the default free flow speed while in fact the traffic flow is zero. For highway segments with travel time equals free-flow travel time, it is difficult to tell if the roadway condition in in free-flow or saturated conditions without the flow data. The latter situation can be critical in managing peak hour traffic so that proactive traffic management strategies such as Active Traffic Management, can be applied before the traffic breakdown. Travel time information on arterial segments can also fluctuate due to the signal cycles and the traffic condition can be difficult to determine without sufficient upstream and downstream flow information.
This research idea will focus on developing the system framework, prototype applications, and strategic planning of integrating existing (e.g. Wavetronix, Computer vision, Loops) and potential traffic flow data sources to NJDOT traffic operations and management. The outcome is expected to be the creation of sensor data portal that integrates the existing and potential NJDOT flow detectors and creates real-time data feeds that integrates the flow data sources with TRANSCOM data feed to better support applications and development in public, private, and academic sectors.