TRB 2013 Annual Meeting News: Revolutionary Change Cometh—Transportation Practitioners See Industry Transformation with Mobility Data from AirSage(TM)

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For transportation planners: anonymous data, collected from cellular networks, provides unprecedented views of when and where people move. IBM is an early adopter. AirSage data was used to create the FIRST SMARTER CITY, which is being heralded as an easily replicable template.

"The data sets provided by AirSage’s mobility technology deliver a level of geographic coverage that we’ve never had before."

Finally, transportation practitioners can say “Goodbye!” to limited—often inaccurate—data collected with archaic pneumatic tubes and expensive intercept or mailer surveys. Instead, they are saying “Hello!” to virtually unlimited data that is accurate, scalable, affordable and instantaneously accessible. Today, better roads and more efficient public transit systems are being created using mobility data from AirSage™.

AirSage—the nation’s leading provider of population location and mobility data—uses proprietary technology to harness anonymous signaling data from mobile devices. The data can then be used to analyze and model the location, movement and flow of commuters traveling on roadways, planes, trains and more.

See how it works here
Or, in person, at TRB 2013 in Washington, D.C. at the Transportation Research Board 92nd Annual Meeting—Wed., Jan. 16, 2013, 1:45 p.m. - Washington Hilton Hotel, Columbia Hall 11 & 12. "Population Movements from Anonymous Mobile Signaling Data: An Alternative or Complement to Large-Scale Episodic Travel Surveys?" Presented by Matthew Martimo, Vice President of Research and Development at AirSage

While the digital age has impacted almost every aspect of life, transportation data collection methods have remained virtually unchanged for decades. The revolutionary transformation delivered by anonymous mobility data from AirSage has been documented in these examples:

  • DUBUQUE, IOWA—IBM uses AirSage data to create the FIRST SMARTER CITY, which has been embraced by federal, state, and local governments and more

In Dubuque, AirSage data was used in an IBM Smart Cities project to create 1) the FIRST SMARTER CITY and 2) new, efficient bus routes linking previously underserved areas of the city. For this, AirSage aggregated and analyzed the movement of 15,000 mobile phones. The analysis was used to design transit routes that optimize performance indicators such as average journey time, headways and wait time. This will substantially help transit agencies meet demand and save operating expenses.

According to IBM, the project redefines public transit planning and can serve as a template for any city in the U.S. because it allows for rapid and easy replicability. The effort was recognized with a National Association of Development Organizations’ 2012 NADO Innovation Award. Additionally, project goals and successes—to gain “meaningful, measurable, and comparable” data to better understand and create a “model of sustainability for communities with populations under 200,000” (forty percent of the U.S. lives in such communities)—have been recognized by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation in “Creating the Sustainable City: A Community Engagement Strategy that’s Working.”

  • RALIEGH, NC—AirSage Data Transforms Regional Road Projects for CAMPO

In Raleigh, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) used AirSage data to prioritize transportation projects. “I need metrics to determine which jurisdiction deserves what amount of money, so that I’m not just picking my favorite projects,” said CAMPO transportation engineer, Kyle Ward. “AirSage data, quickly demonstrated how much the roads were being used - making it easy to determine which roads are busy and need to be given a higher priority.”

  • WALNUT CREEK, CA—Fehr & Peers Combines Local Knowledge and AirSage Data

Mike Wallace, a Senior Associate with Fehr & Peers—a transportation planning and traffic engineering firm serving public and private sector clients across the country—is using AirSage data on a number of different projects from multi-county studies to airports.

Wallace attributes a number of industry-wide improvements to AirSage data:

  • MAKES TRANSPORTATION PLANNING MORE REPRESENTATIVE: "The data sets provided by AirSage’s mobility technology deliver a level of geographic coverage that we’ve never had before."
  • PROVIDES A SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS: "Traditional intercept or mailer surveys are so cost prohibitive we can do them only once every 10 years or so. With AirSage data, we can get much larger sample sizes; we’ve found that we can obtain 6 times as many surveys for the same cost as using traditional study methods."
  • CONFIRMS AND CORRECTS EXISTING DATA/MODELS: "The AirSage data can be used to verify existing data, identify errors in existing models or validate destination-choice patterns at a regional scale.”
  • DEBUNKS OLD THINKING: "The mobility data from AirSage offers 24/7 coverage, which shifts how we can think about driver and street patterns. Until now, we might have focused on commute trips during weekday drive times. However, now we have access to data that lets us see distribution patterns for other trip purposes and weekend patterns. It’s an insight that can now confirm, where previously we relied on anecdotal information."

AirSage™, a world leader in analyzing anonymous wireless signaling data, has teamed up with two major nationwide wireless carriers to turn integrated cellular activity into meaningful local, regional and national data. The most accurate and up-to-the-minute population and location patterns, with robust historical data, means that when you need to reach people, help them or build for them, you have a map to follow. For more information, please visit

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