Halloween

Halloween Costumes for Transportation Professionals

Transportation professionals, with Halloween approaching, you’re probably asking yourself:

How can I find a hip costume that also encapsulates my love for all things transportation?

Fear not ghouls and gals, Miovision has you covered. With our expertly curated and stylish Halloween costumes, you can let your inner transportation nerd fly free.

Use one of these five transportation-themed costumes, and you’ll be the life of any Halloween party.

The Pylon

Pylon Halloween Costume

Now you can channel your inner rage for all the road closures, by becoming the essence of roadwork delays. Plant yourself in inconvenient places at parties and enjoy watching your friends try to get past.

Can’t find a party to attend? No problem. Find some pylon friends and gather on a street. The bright reflective strip means people are sure to see you. You’ll literally stop traffic.

 


The Traffic Light

Halloween Traffic Light Costume

Let everyone know that you are in control, by wearing a classy traffic signal  costume with built in controller. With a simple click of a button, you can make groups of people go, stop or slow down.

Even better, use it to send signals to other people. Is there a person who won’t stop hitting on you? Slam on that red light and let them know you are not interested. Worried about your bad breath? Turn on your yellow light to let people know to proceed with caution before approaching the danger zone. See someone with a tray of appetizers, hit that green light and send them over. It really is the perfect costume.


The Road

Road Halloween Costume

 

The perfect unisex costume for the person who connects friends and groups. It’s simple, yet sophisticated. All you need is a black shirt and some white tape, and you are good to go.

It also provides a path and direction for party goers at your Halloween party. Just lie flat on the ground and allowing party-goers to walk over you.

 

 

 


The Crosswalk

Crosswalk Halloween Costume

This costume is all about establishing new connections. Get in between groups of people and help them cross from section to section. Someone need to go from the snack table to the bathroom? You are there to make sure they cross safely.

If people are slow to notice, make loud beeping noises, or repeat the phrase: “please cross now.” Remember, you’re all about safety, so if you’re successful no one gets hurt. If you’re really in the mood, partner up with a crossing guard to make it extra fun.


The Roundabout

Roundabout Halloween CostumeWho said going in circles was a bad thing? This costume will give you a European, yet efficient appeal to your persona. Speak in a French accent and say things like “I am better for traffic flow” or “stay to the right to exit.”

Also make sure to challenge any traffic light you see to a fight, establishing your dominance as a better roadway solution.

 

 


Don’t forget to get out and dress-up this year!

Happy Halloween from Miovision!

Traffic Operations

The Evolution of Data-Driven Traffic Operations

This is part 1 of 4 in our blog series on Traffic Insights. Stay tuned for more!

How do you operate a modern traffic system? It requires more than the ability to manage the asphalt, concrete, steel, and electronics that make up road infrastructure. It’s also about understanding the data being produced by this infrastructure.

As a provider of intelligent traffic signal management solutions, Miovision knows first-hand how traffic teams can leverage the power of traffic data to improve congestion, safety, and operating efficiency.

In this blog series, we’ll describe the current state of city-deployed traffic operations. We’ll also forecast on a future state using traffic insights, made possible by Miovision’s Spectrum solution.

Traffic Operations

A transformational change is now happening in public sector traffic agencies. Cities are awakening to the power of traffic data as a foundational element of how they plan, build, and operate their road networks. Enabling technologies – remote connectivity, vehicle detection, and software tools – are at the heart of this change. But another key driver is public pressure—taxpayers demand accountability in how public dollars are spent.

Traffic teams are already realizing significant benefits from being more data-driven in their operations and decision-making. Teams are now empowered by data to respond more quickly to public safety issues, optimize existing infrastructure to reduce congestion, and more effectively deploy limited budget dollars. However, this transformation is by no means complete, as agencies continue to face challenges in making the shift.

What are the Obstacles to Data-Driven Traffic Operations?

Despite the recognized benefits of agencies moving to a more data-driven framework, three main obstacles are hindering the transition.

  1. Supporting Infrastructure: Historically, two pieces of supporting infrastructure are needed to generate signal performance measures: a controller capable of producing high-resolution data and remote connectivity. Traffic controllers yielding hi-res data are limited to only the latest generation of devices, and remote connectivity is lacking in 55% of North America’s traffic cabinets. The lack of this pre-requisite technology and connectivity has limited the rollout of data-driven practices in many agencies.
  2. Data Analysis Tools: Generating actionable insights from large volumes of traffic data requires analytical software tools. The ATMS or central software systems in place in most agencies today aren’t equipped to perform sophisticated analysis of traffic data. The software systems that do support advanced data analysis are typically limited to modeling signal performance data, without the ability to analyze network-level trends, arterial performance, or maintenance metrics.
  3. Technical Expertise: Leveraging data-driven tools for traffic operations has historically been complex, and required expertise in two areas: the technical IT skills to maintain sophisticated server systems for data processing, and the engineering skills to interpret and understand the resulting data metrics. Many small and medium sized traffic agencies have continued to struggle to deploy traffic data analysis systems due to a lack of expertise in these areas.

Traffic Operations

What Are the Benefits of Enhanced Traffic Operations?

Spectrum’s Traffic Insights tools are helping agencies solve these obstacles by utilizing performance measures and data analysis to enhance traffic operations. Agencies that can effectively collect, understand, and utilize data, have shown the ability to enhance traffic operations in four main ways.

  1. Network Monitoring: Agencies are able to leverage real-time data to understand when congestion is occurring, and if these events are normal or indicate an issue in the traffic network. This is helping operations teams develop traffic plans using accurate and timely traffic data, as opposed to approximate models based on sporadic and potentially out-dated engineering studies.
  2. Optimizing Intersection Performance: Agencies are able to leverage signal performance metrics that quantify and analyze intersection flow from a number of perspectives. These tools are helping engineers to not only identify coordination or configuration issues but also significantly reduce the time that it takes to diagnose and solve traffic issues.
  3. Measuring Impact and ROI: Assessing the impact of a change to road design, a timing plan or a traffic policy has historically been challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. Data-driven traffic agencies are able to leverage the power of “before/after” analysis immediately after making a change so that the true impact and return-on-investment of an initiative can be determined.
  4. Data-Driven Decision Making: Agencies are not only using data to optimize traffic flow; they are using data to optimize strategic decision-making. Capital and operating investment decisions are areas of traffic strategy becoming increasingly justified by data-driven objectives. Agencies can report on their fiduciary responsibility to a council and the public with assurance that tax dollars and resources are being optimally allocated.

Traffic Operations

Ask Yourself the Following Questions

Are you struggling to answer the questions below? If so, your traffic agency is likely a good candidate for increasing the use of data-driven operations.

  • Based on complaints we’ve re-timed and coordinated a major corridor – is it working?
  • I know my signals need to be re-timed, but how can I prove the need with hard data?
  • How can I make a stronger argument for support in my funding applications, backed up by real performance data?
  • Is my signal green-time being optimally allocated?
  • Our staff and budget are decreasing, so how can we maintain our service level with fewer resources?
  • I’m not sure that our maintenance contractor is meeting our agreed on service standards – how can I know for certain?

Part Two of this blog series appears in two weeks. It will cover Miovision Traffic Insights for Signal Performance Metrics. Parts three and four of this series will cover Arterial Performance Metrics and Maintenance and Infrastructure.

How Seattle Transformed a Dangerous Intersection Through Data

There’s an intersection in Seattle located in the Madison Park lakeside neighborhood where a ½ mile hill leads right into a populated business district. There sits Seattle’s busiest Starbucks location and a Wells Fargo Bank. This arterial connection is both the neighborhood’s busiest intersection for pedestrians and a city-designated school crossing location. Due to the rampant speeding and sight-line problems with this location, people walking often have difficulty crossing the street without trepidation.

Busy intersection at East Madison Street and McGilvra Boulevard East in Seattle

It took a serious collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian to force the city to try and fix the problems with the intersection. That’s where Bob Edmiston, his team from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, and volunteers from Tableau saw an opportunity to make difference.

Their success would all depend on the data.

The Long and Winding Road to Funding

The plan for Seattle Neighborhood Greenways was to conceptualize and implement a safer intersection strategy for pedestrians. First, the team secured a $90,000 grant through Madison Park Community Council to enable the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to redesign the intersection.

However, to secure the addition $390,000 necessary to implement the changes, they would need to prove that the redesigned intersection would actually solve a problem. On top of that, there is a competitive pitching process for allocating grants in Seattle divided by district. Edmiston and his team were competing for the top spot against 15 other grant projects from the area. After initially failing to convince the decision makers of the value of the project by using an emotional appeal, a more persuasive approach was desperately needed.

If the team didn’t win the grant right now, their project would be dead.

Answering the Call with Data

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways sensed that they needed quantifiable proof of the improved safety of their solution. To collect the evidence necessary for a persuasive argument, Edmiston built a traffic counter that could record gaps in traffic with millisecond precision and conducted a gap analysis of the intersection. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways volunteer Troy Heerwagen worked with Edmiston to visualize the data using Tableau Public for ease of understanding.

Edmiston made some key observations:

  • During the critical 15-minute period before the morning school bell, there were only two opportunities with gaps long enough to walk across the street.
  • Crossing distance reductions provided by the curb extensions would reduce the crossing time enough to triple the number of safe crossing opportunities for pedestrians during the critical 30 minutes before the morning school bell, without requiring any changes to driver behavior or roadway function.
Intersection Video Data

Bob’s Visualized Data

After presenting the new data and logic to the East District Neighborhood Council, the people responsible for funding decisions were convinced that the project would, in fact, produce the safety outcomes it promised. They reversed their earlier decision to not fund the project and chose to make it their top priority for 2017 funding.

Don’t Underestimate the Data

Edmiston reminds us to not underestimate the data, when he says,

“data matters, counts matter, gap analysis matters. We would have been dead in the water without it. But it’s about being able to show data in a way people can understand and relate to. That’s an equally important part of the problem.”

If it weren’t for the data collected, Seattle’s busiest intersection would still be dangerous for pedestrians. More so, it was the way team presented the data through visualization that made it digestible and accessible to everyone.

Miovision is passionate about enabling other change-minded individuals to use data to justify their road safety solutions.

Want to learn more how we can help you leverage meaningful data? Contact us today.

miocast with Erin Skimson

“Safety Comes First”- An Interview with Oregon’s Chief Traffic Engineer

Recently, Miovision sat down with Dennis Mitchell, Chief Traffic Engineer with Oregon’s Department of Transportation. Dennis’ experience with ITS Technology gives him a unique perspective on the future of transportation. In this interview, we ask Dennis four key questions:

1) What does transportation look like to you in 10 years?
2) What is it that you want to do to impact traffic?
3) What is your biggest traffic pet peeve?
4) How do you manage the freedom of wanting to drive your own vehicle versus autonomous driving safety?

Continue reading for a short summary or listen to the full interview below.

 


Summary

What does transportation look like to you in 10 years? 

I think the first improvements will be in safety and collision avoidance. We’ll see that in the next ten years. But I think autonomous vehicles are farther out because there are still a lot of things to work out. For autonomous to work, every car needs to be outfitted. Because we’ll need an entire fleet turnover to make that work, it will take some time.

I think the real question is whether self-driving cars will decrease or increase Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). For example, do you drive to work and let the car drive home and come back to get you? It’s an interesting dilemma.

What is it that you want to do to impact traffic? 

  1. Safety is our number one priority. We want to improve safety by incorporating new technology.
  2. Oregon is a small state, and we don’t have a lot of money. We’re trying to figure out how to improve traffic operations with the limited budget that we have. We need cost-effective technologies to do this.
  3. Trying to figure out where we can make the biggest impact using technology. Because we can’t solve congestion, it’s not possible. So let’s try to make small improvements in efficiency and safety of specific locations.

What is your biggest traffic pet peeve? 

Drivers are all different, and each drive with their mentality – some aggressive and others slower.  This mix of driving styles causes congestion. If people just drove consistently we fix some congestion issues without technology. Basic human nature gets in the way.

How do you manage the freedom of wanting to drive your own vehicle versus the greater good of the security and safety of autonomous vehicles? 

I’m not sure how we get past that, maybe its autonomous with a choice. For example, when you reach an area with a certain level of congestion, you must be autonomous. When you reach an area with lower congestion, you could switch to non-autonomous.

What is interesting is, nobody brings up the issue of “what does it do to the insurance industry?” Because who is liable? Is it the facility? The car? The driver? Well, the driver isn’t driving. So it’s interesting to ask, how does it change that industry?

Miovision Central Collaboration

Data Driven Protected Intersection Workshop

How do we get more capacity out of our urban infrastructure? Are our roads designed for all users? Could there be a more efficient use of land that gets people where they need to go safely and efficiently?

Cities and citizens are asking these questions and demanding change, but there continues to be an ongoing modern planning problem of accommodating everyone’s needs with limited budgets and infrastructure built for cars.

Enter Mobycon, a Netherlands-based engineering and consulting firm with a North American presence. Their North American mission is to apply world-leading Dutch design to our intersections. We at Miovision are excited to partner by bringing our data collection and analysis tools to a new Masterclass first delivered on Monday June 27th in Ottawa.

johan_diepens

Above: Mobycon’s Johan Diepens highlights Dutch best practices in mutlimodal design.

It’s no secret that the Dutch do multimodal well. They’re arguably the world leader in multimodal design and have been practicing the discipline since the 1970’s when Dutch citizens took to the streets to protest child deaths from motorists. Along with other factors, the resulting movement caused the Netherlands to focus on alternative transportation to make cities safer and more people-friendly.

Overview of the Rethink Living Streets Masterclass

Data, Design and the Protected Intersection

Recently, we hosted 20 engineers and planners in Ottawa from various public and private organizations for an interactive one-day masterclass. The format mixed best practice presentations with group-based design and application.

intersection_critique

Above: Participants critique an intersection and provide three good and three bad qualities for presentation to the group

Mobycon’s founder and CEO Johan Diepens led the Masterclass and shared his experiences of bringing these best practices overseas. Following each presentation, attendees were assigned an exercise to apply their learnings to retrofit a local Ottawa intersection with better multimodal design. Miovision supported these efforts by providing data, video, and visuals for each of the case study intersections via Central.

Miovision_Central_workshop

Groups consult data in Miovision Central to drive their redesign recommendations.

Dutch Design and North American Intersections

Johan facilitated each design session and focused attendees on redesigning selected Ottawa intersections to incorporate multimodal lanes, signs, and striping while:

  • Minimizing points of conflict;
  • Creating 90° intersecting paths to encourage eye contact between road users;
  • Separating modes at conflict point by time or space; and,
  • Separating modes that have a large mass / speed difference.

Johan_diepens

Johan discusses design at the roadside

Visit to Byron and Kirkwood

Participants get out of the classroom to the roadside to analyze and critique a case study intersection

Interactive Workshopping to Creatively Apply Learning

Throughout the day, participants listened to Johan and other representatives of Mobycon explain multimodal design best practices. Following each presentation, participants had the opportunity to redesign an intersection and then submit their design for feedback and questions from Johan and other participants.

Miovision Central

Consulting Central to observe multimodal data at an intersection before embarking on redesign.

In the exercises, each group of participants were provided a large detailed drawing of a typical Ottawa intersection, along with a piece of velum paper to overlay and redesign the intersection to accommodate better multimodal design.

New Cycle Tracks

Drawing a new cycle track across the Byron and Kirkwood intersection in Ottawa

Protected Intersection redesign

Explanation of the group’s redesign recommendations.

These feedback sessions were easily the highlight of the day.

Group Critique

Group critique

Modified Turbo Roundabout

Final design of a modified turbo roundabout at Carling and Kirkwood in Ottawa

Final Intersection Designs on Display

Drawings from the final group design session on display for Jeff Leiper, Ward 15 Councillor

What’s next for the Protected Intersection Masterclass?

Based on feedback and our own positive experience of the day, we want to take this class further with Mobycon and provide this curriculum to more municipalities across North America. The format of the workshop is fun and dynamic and provides planners and engineers with tangible learnings that can be immediately applied to today’s intersections.

Multi-Modal Traffic Data Collection with TERRA Engineering

On August 21, 2013, Miovision co-hosted a webinar with TERRA Engineering that highlighted their multi-modal approach to traffic data collection for engineering projects. Chris Hutchinson and Scott Presslak of TERRA reviewed six different projects that were executed in Illinois.

In this week’s blog article, we’ll summarize the six projects which were presented in the webinar and we do encourage you to view the webinar in its entirety by clicking here.

terra-engineering-logo

  Read more

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted DrivingFollowing up on last week’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month across the United States. This month long initiative focuses on advocacy, awareness and education of distracted driving hazards.

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We’re All in This Together: National Work Zone Awareness Week 2013

nwzaw2013This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week across the United States from April 15-19, 2013. In last week’s blog article, we reviewed some of the safety measures DOTs have implemented into order to create awareness of safety issues in work zones. This week we will review what drivers and the public can do to maintain high safety standards when in work zones.

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Saving Lives by Focusing on Safety – National Work Zone Awareness Week

Traffic-Safety-Information-Work-Zone-SafetyNext week is the National Work Zone Awareness Week and will take place from April 15-19. This annual event started in 1999 and is sponsored and coordinated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA).

The National Work Zone Awareness Week brings attention to the hazards for people in work zones as well as improving the safety of drivers and workers in those areas. This awareness week is nationwide with many states hosting their own events.

Read more

Congestion Pricing in Washington, D.C.

Congestion Charge ZoneLast week we reviewed congestion pricing in Toronto, Ontario. This is Canada’s largest city and North America’s fourth largest.

This week, we review congestion pricing in the United States, specifically in Washington, D.C. Read more