Mobility Analytics Blog

StreetLight Data Blog

The latest news about Big Data and mobility analytics.

Laura Schewel

Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Mobile  |  Software Updates

How We Doubled Our Sample Size in One Year

We just passed our one-year anniversary of using Location-Based Services (LBS) data, so we decided to update some key sample size figures. The results are exciting: Our sample size has doubled to more than 62 million devices in the US and Canada in the past year. In other words, now our analytics anonymously describe the travel behavior of 23% of the US and Canadian adult population.

There are many reasons for this increase, including our main LBS data partner, Cuebiq, doing a great job. However, the most important reason is that Location-Based Services are becoming more and more widely adopted by consumers. As a result, our clients can now analyze the aggregate travel patterns of nearly ¼ of the population in just a few mouse clicks.

That’s a large sample by any measure, but when you consider the “status quo” methods of collecting travel behavior data, it’s even more dramatic. Imagine how much it would cost – and how long it would take – to collect household travel surveys from 62 million people, or to install sensors and traffic counters on the roads they use every day. It just wouldn’t be feasible. In this blog post, I’ll explain how we calculate sample size (hint: accuracy is more important to us than flashiness) and why it’s grown so much in just one year.

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Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Location-Based Services  |  Transportation

Real-World Travel Patterns: Who Works on Labor Day?

The Labor Day public holiday celebrates American workers by giving them the day off – or at least, that’s the idea.  Here at StreetLight Data, we wanted to find out how many American workers are still commuting to their jobs on Labor Day. The results were surprising: Only about ~56% of American workers get the day off nationwide, with some variation in results across different states. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through our analysis of Labor Day travel patterns.

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Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Retail  |  Software Updates  |  Transportation

StreetLight InSight® Update: Better Trip Purpose Metrics, the Liberty Bell, and Faster Visualizations

I’m thrilled to announce our latest monthly update of StreetLight InSight—that’s our online platform for transforming Big Data into transportation Metrics in minutes. With this release, our platform does even more to close the gap between Big Data and actionable analytics.

We’ve achieved this by adding several new Metrics, updating our databases with the latest location data sets from our suppliers, and implementing features that make StreetLight InSight more user-friendly and responsive. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the most important updates.

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Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Transportation

Location-Based Services Data is Better than Cellular for Transportation – and Especially for Rural Areas

It’s undeniable that “Smart Cities” are getting all the buzz these days, especially when it comes to using Big Data for transportation. But it’s not right to leave rural communities out of the conversation. In fact, rural communities stand to reap the same benefits from better travel behavior data as densely populated areas – if not more.  

That’s why it’s so upsetting for me to hear this type of comment at industry conferences: “Big Data sounds great. But I know it won’t work in my rural county. There’s not enough coverage.” That’s outdated thinking, plain and simple.  It may have been true just a few years ago, but “Big Data” – AKA the billions of location records created by mobile devices every month – is a fast-growing, continually improving resource. With the rise of Location-Based Services (LBS) for smart phones in particular, we’ve seen an explosion of geospatial data sets with excellent coverage in rural areas.

As a Virginia native with family and friends across the many rural areas of the state, this issue hits close to home. I know from our data and my personal experience that rural drivers drive many more miles per day on average than urban drivers. We owe it to these communities to plan transportation systems that account for their unique travel behaviors.

To do that, rural planners need the up-to-date, comprehensive, and precise travel data that is only available from mobile devices. So in this blog post, I’m going to show that Big Data analytics for transportation are in fact widely available and extremely useful for rural areas.

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Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Location-Based Services  |  Smart Cities  |  Software Updates  |  Transportation  |  Validation

Introducing StreetLight Volume: 2016 AADT Metrics

After many years of client requests, we’re releasing the first cut of our StreetLight Volume: 2016 AADT Metric on the StreetLight InSight® platform. These beta Metrics provide a very robust estimate of 2016 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for almost any road in the US.  To learn more, keep reading this blog post, or watch our recorded webinar on the new Metrics. Click here to watch the webinar. 

We believe this Metric provides estimates that are comparable or better than most of the standard AADT estimation practices for three reasons:

  • They can be obtained in just a few minutes from the cloud-based StreetLight InSight platform,
  • They are built by integrating four sources of data (including both GPS and Location-Based Services data, which is our new and better alternative to “cellular tower” data), and
  • They cost less than half as much as typical AADT data collection and estimation processes.

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Blog Feature

Big Data  |  Location-Based Services  |  Transportation

Location-Based Services Data Beats Cellular on Spatial Precision

The more I work with StreetLight Data’s location-based services (LBS) data set, the more I realize that it is the data source the transportation industry has been waiting for – and that it deserves. Over the past few months, LBS data has emerged as a resource with all the benefits of cellular data, but without its limitations. LBS data can answer a huge array of travel questions that fill in the long-standing information gaps for the transportation industry, especially when used in combination with navigation-GPS data.

But since it’s so new, there’s very little information available to planners about its value today. We’re working to correct that with a series of blog posts that zero in on a different aspect of LBS data – and this is the first. In this post, I’ll highlight LBS data’s spatial precision.

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