Traffic data types

There are several types of traffic data that can be collected from roadways to give traffic engineers insight on the usage and traffic performance of different modes of traffic in the road network. This post is a high-level overview of the traffic data types that are typically gathered to complete traffic engineering projects.

What are the most common types of traffic data?

Automatic Traffic Recorder (ATR) counts

ATR counts are primarily used to capture the volume of vehicles that travel on a roadway over a given period of time. ATR counts have traditionally been collected with road tubes, which use pneumatic technology to capture data that is later analyzed to estimate the count. As data collection methods continue to evolve, more firms and cities are choosing safer and more reliable tools to collect this type of data.

Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) counts

An AADT count identifies the average vehicle volumes in a 24-hour period. That value is produced by dividing the total vehicle volume for one year by 365 days. AADT counts are a good indicator of how busy a road is and is often used for evaluating, selecting or designing a new facility or territory. AADT values can be calculated from short duration counts using a method described in the FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide.

 

Turning Movement Counts (TMC)

One of the most sought-after traffic data types is the TMC, also known as an Intersection Count. In a TMC, vehicle movements (e.g., left, through, and right turns) and volumes for all legs of the intersection are captured, for a specific period of time.

TMCs are typically used for traffic modeling, as well as to help determine an intersection’s capacity and provide data insights to inform signal retiming. TMC data is also collected to find the intersection’s level of service. TMC data is used in other types of analysis related to the overall performance of an intersection too.

 

Roundabout counts

Roundabout counts are collected using similar methods to those used for TMC counts, and for similar purposes as well. In a roundabout count, entering and circulating vehicles must be tracked to their exit point. Since roundabouts are not signalized, the traffic flow is less predictable and capturing those movements accurately can become very challenging. The multi-camera roundabout solution from Miovision makes collecting these counts much easier.

 

Pedestrian and bicycle counts

Some traffic engineering projects require pedestrian and bicycle data. These types of projects are most commonly completed to help cities understand the current state of facility usage, to help prioritize locations in which to implement pedestrian- and bike-related facilities, and to evaluate the effects of projects, such as bike lanes. Pedestrian and bicycle data might be collected as part of a TMC or as a standalone count that focuses only on these classes. Crosswalk classes, or pedestrians and bicycles that travel on an intersection crosswalk, as well as bicycles traveling on the roadway, can be added to a TMC study to produce complete intersection data.

Common standalone counts are referred to as Pathway and Junction counts. A Pathway count captures pedestrians and bicycles traveling on a straight path up to 50′ in width, whereas a Junction count captures pedestrians and bicycles traveling on intersecting paths.


Traffic engineers rely on accurate, high-quality traffic data to complete their projects. While they can choose to collect that data using traditional methods, including loops, pucks, and road tubes, many cities are moving to video data collection as a reliable alternative to gather real-time data for their studies. Miovision offers both the hardware and software solutions that deliver reliable and accurate data, guaranteed. If you’d like to learn more about traffic data processing from Miovision, visit us here or contact us directly at sales@miovision.com


If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like:

When guessing may actually work better than using data collected with road tubes

What’s the difference between road tubes and video for collecting traffic data? A lot.