TrafficCOM: A Data-Gathering Device For Friendlier Roadways

When I lived in a town overflowing with bike lanes and green ways, I biked and walked everywhere. Now I live in a sprawlish area right outside a huge city. No bike lanes. No easily accessible green ways. Limited sidewalks adjacent to very busy roads. And guess what? My bike and foot-powered journeys have decreased significantly (and much to my disappointment).

In many American cities, citizens must first prove that there’s a demand for bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure before the city will build it. Totally backwards, I know. TrafficCOM, a new device gathering funding on Kickstarter, aims to help by making it much easier to collect and share automobile and bicycle traffic count data.

TrafficCOM

Image via TrafficCOM

Using low-cost software, online mapping, and USB connectivity, TrafficCOM is designed make it possible for anyone to easily collect and share automobile and bicycle traffic count data.

Traffic counts are a point of contention in many communities. Either sufficient data does not exist, or the data is not freely shared by government agencies that collect it, say the gadget’s creators. This takes power away from those working to create infrastructure that support alternative forms of transportation because they lack data to back up their claim of need.

TrafficCOM solves this problem by being affordable (1/10th the price of comparable products) and open-source (the designers hope to create the first live traffic count database that is free to access by anyone worldwide). The device has already been purchased by city officials in Austin and Denver, bike advocacy groups in Ann Arbor and New York City, and has logged more than 7,000 cars and 700 bikes, according to Fast Co. Exist.

Data gleaned from the streets (when cars drive over the counter’s tubes) to an open-sourced database, layered atop Google Maps. The second edition will feature a more durable shell, a rechargeable battery, and a lock.

Think the TrafficCOM could help your organization or business promote sustainable transportation? You can snag one for a $200 donation on Kickstarter.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog