Outsourcing traffic data collection

Outsourcing Traffic Data Collection Research InitiativeIn July, we contacted engineering firms across Canada and the US to take part in Miovision’s second research initiative. It would focus on engineering firms who outsource some or all of their traffic data collection to vendors.

We targeted engineering firms, as many of these firms complete large transportation projects, where data collection is only a fraction of the project.

Once we received the feedback, we noticed a lot of varying responses from participants. There weren’t as many trends as there was with the Signal Timing Research Report.

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How many data collection projects do you have annually (in-house and outsourced combined)?

We contacted numerous engineering firms, both large and small, and wanted to initially determine the amount of traffic data collection being completed. As the report states, we received a wide variety of answers, where about the same amount of firms completed very many or very few data collection projects.

Based on the feedback we received, about 67% of respondents stated that they complete 15 or less data collection projects annually. These results include both in-house and outsourced manual data collection.


How often do you outsource data collection annually?

As stated earlier, many engineering firms outsource their data collection as they don’t have or need the internal resources for collecting traffic data since it’s only a fraction of the transportation project.

According to the responses, it appears that once again engineering firms are at both ends of the spectrum. The two highest ranking responses are firms either outsourcing very little to none of their data collection or outsourcing most or all of it.

This indicates the type of resources that firms have available: either an in-house data collection team or a very small (or no team) and just outsource all data collection.


How much administrative time do you spend per project on outsourcing data collection?

Coordinating with vendors can be time consuming as well as frustrating. This question would help determine what type of time is being spent on these efforts in total.

Out of all the responses we received, it appears that the majority of individuals spend less than a day of administration time per project. Out of this 88% majority, 30% indicated it takes less than an hour and another 30% indicated about 2-3 hours.


What is the collected data being used for?

The most common uses for the data collection are signal timing, corridor studies and traffic impact analysis. About 71% of respondents indicated these are their top data collection projects. Although these are the most common, respondents collect data for a variety of other projects including:

  • AADT or Volume Count Studies
  • Origin-Destination
  • Travel Time
  • Warrant Analysis
  • Safety Studies
  • Capacity Analysis
  • Calibration
  • Retail Projects


What hurdles do you experience with outsourcing to manual data collectors?

Manual data collection can pose a number of challenges including level of data quality, availability and limitations due to external factors such as weather and environment. Engineering firms who use manual data collectors as an outsource option can face one, some, all or none of these challenges.

This question is a good benchmark to see what challenges other firms are experiencing and what their biggest pain points for manual outsourcing are.

According to the feedback we received, 57% of respondents stated that the biggest pain points are related to time spent on coordination and data quality/validation. Other challenges of manual data collection included:

  • Reliability
  • Manpower
  • Location and/or weather
  • Variable pricing and/or data
  • Cost

On the other hand, 10% of respondents indicated that they haven’t experienced any challenges.


How have you solved these hurdles in the past?

As the previous section shows, engineering firms have experienced numerous challenges with outsourcing data collection to manual counters. This question aims to provide potential solutions based on what other firms have done.

The top solutions for solving these challenges, which accounted for 65% of respondents, were:

  • Renegotiating the contract/project (23%)
  • Providing training (23%)
  • Limiting outsourcing or the amount of vendors used (19%)

The other solutions were:

  • Bringing data collection in-house
  • Adjusting project timelines
  • Redoing the data collection

A few firms indicated that they didn’t have a solution for the challenge(s) they were experiencing.


Overcoming challenges with traffic data collection

As our research shows, engineers firms vary greatly with their traffic data collection needs. Miovision provides an automated solution which can overcome many of the challenges that are experienced with manual data collection.

Traffic Data On Demand

This is an excellent solution for firms that predominately outsource their traffic data collection. Traffic Data On Demandis an online traffic data solution where organizations can request, receive and manage their traffic data using our easy-to-navigate online platform.

Data is collected by our Partner Network at your desired location across Canada and the US. Within 4 days, your data reports are available and can be accessed through our online portal. Our traffic data management portal stores all of your reports, data and video in one centralized location.

Traffic Data On Demand is easy to use. Our online platform allows you to request data collection with a few clicks of your mouse. Standardized variables such as pricing and data turnaround time eliminate the guesswork in planning your time and budget. Finally, Miovision’s solutions have been tried and tested with customers in over 30 countries and data accuracy of 95% or more.