As part of Exeter City Futures’ bold target to make Exeter energy independent and congestion free by 2025, they need a comprehensive understanding of traffic movements in the city. In order to achieve this they are facilitating a collaboration between us, as their technical partner, and Lightfoot.
Previous work with STATS19 data established patterns of cohort effects prompting City Science to investigate route choice and driver behaviour across a range of high-level demographics. WebTag makes clear that ‘The accuracy of (traditional) assignment will be dependent not only on the accuracy of the constituent elements… but also on the realism of the modelled routes. It is very rare for surveys of actual routes to be undertaken…’. Recent research using GPS data (Zhu & Levinson 2015) suggested that such a study could inform future model enhancements.
City Science staff trialled the Lightfoot device – a telematics device that sits in vehicles and reads information from the CAN bus. A promotional period was held requesting users to sign up to the project and the aims communicated. BBC Spotlight coverage of the campaign ensured considerable interest. Participants were selected based on origins, destinations and popular routes to ensure sufficient coverage and data from which to draw conclusions.
During the project, City Science will capture data (with names and vehicle details removed by Lightfoot) about route choice and driving patterns in the Exeter region, which will be used to tune the City Science transport modelling software in order to better reflect real world scenarios. City Science will also study data on the locations and profiles of acceleration and harsh braking, with the aim of clarifying the relationships between road and junction layouts and safety or pollution issues.