Data is one of the most valuable resources for any organization and for a transport agency it is no different. Easy-to-use and accurate data provides the foundations for any major transportation decision including where to build new roads and how to optimize traffic signals. With recent advances in detection technologies, transport agencies are no longer solely reliant on infrequent traffic surveys and field observation and have been able to save time and costs on data collection. But how do you know if this data is accurate?
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so"
Most detection comes with a manufacturer’s accuracy rating of +/- 10% (depending on the type of technology or the prevailing conditions) but that’s when the detector is fully-functional. Detector faults are a persistent issue and the source of the majority of complaints for any Traffic Operations team — not only does this mean poor road-user experience, it also means your operations teams are spending the majority of their time hearing about and dealing with complaints.
Detector faults can either be (1) periodic — meaning that detector counts are incorrect for a short and temporary period of time or (2) persistent — the detector counts are persistently inaccurate. The latter can have the most impact on your roadways and are the hardest to find.