Road Usage Patterns
Traffic congestion in urban areas around the world has become a problem of enormous proportions, increasing air pollution and wasting time, money and fuel. One way to mitigate congestion is through use of travel alternatives such as public transportation, carpooling and flex time. But decisions about how to apply such alternatives effectively are hampered by poor data about the origin and destination of travelers.
We made the first large-scale traffic study to track travel using anonymous cellphone data rather than surveys or travel diaries, and to classify roads according to the sources of drivers. This new methodology makes it possible to accurately characterize traffic on a road network using only three types of data: population density, topological information about the road network and cellphone data.