Bringing Big Data for Transportation to Canada
Just a few weeks ago, I joined StreetLight Data as the company’s first dedicated Canadian sales consultant for the transportation industry. In many ways, this is the natural next step in my forty-year career as a transportation engineering and mapping professional. My experience spans the public and the private sector, and I’ve been honored to contribute to several of Canada’s most important transportation initiatives. From helping to plan the Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward to creating the first turn-by-turn navigation maps of all for Canada, I’ve always dedicated myself to projects that make our country more connected and improve quality of life in our communities.
While the field of Big Data analytics is relatively new to me, I’m thrilled that my next contribution to Canada’s transportation practice will be focused on data. The lack of quality transportation data has been the missing link in so much of my work for the past forty years. I believe StreetLight Data has the right solution to this long-standing problem.
It's Time for Better Transportation Data Collection
At StreetLight Data, I will be helping public agencies and engineering firms adopt StreetLight InSight®, the first on-demand web application for customized, real-world transportation analytics. It’s a new solution to transportation data collection that gives planners, modelers, and engineers better information efficiently and cost-effectively. For me and my peers, having better information at our fingertips is the ultimate game-changer.
With the StreetLight InSight platform, transportation professionals can dedicate more of their scarce resources to the work that matters the most: Putting Big Data to work to solve the complex mobility challenges we face today. It’s time to move beyond the days where more time is spent putting together surveys or doing analyses than actually making decisions with the information we gather. StreetLight InSight makes that possible.
Why I Joined StreetLight Data
Thanks to recent product advancements, StreetLight Data is ready to establish a local sales team in Canada. In last week’s software release, we launched several important new analytics in Canada, including Trip Purpose and Visitor Home-Work Projects, which describe how people travel from home to work. (Click here to read our release notes).
However, my reasons for joining the team go beyond the company’s product offering in Canada. From my first job as a traffic studies engineer in New Brunswick through my “retirement” just last year from HERE Technologies, one thing never changed: I never had the traffic data that I wanted to do the job right in front of me. In fact, I’ve worn through a lot of shoe leather going out and gathering the data myself. I’ve also spent a lot of money hiring folks to gather data for me.
Over the last two decades, I’ve noticed that the demands being placed on transportation planners have grown—to do more with less money, to build infrastructure in smaller and smaller places, and to be right with every decision. I’ve also noticed that the challenges planners are facing today are fundamentally different from when I started in the public sector. We didn’t have to spend as much time worrying about economic diversity, environmental considerations, or shared economies. The world has changed, and planners must adapt along with it.
In spite of these increased responsibilities, today’s transportation professionals are facing the same traffic data collection challenges that I faced as a young engineer. They must do even more with data that is often incomplete, out-of-date, and not comprehensive. The opportunity to address this long-standing challenge matters so much to me that I decided to come out of retirement to work on it.
Ready to Use Big Data for Transportation?
StreetLight Data has already done great work in the City of Toronto and a few other parts of the country, but this only scratches the surface. I want to help transportation practitioners across Canada access the data they need to ensure transportation networks are equitable, and to help them find solutions to today’s complex mobility challenges.
I’m ready to partner with Canadian engineering firms and public agencies that are ready to make a difference with Big Data. Are you ready, too? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and look for me at ITS Canada’s Annual Conference and General Meeting this June.