Crowdsourcing for Operations


What is Crowdsourcing for Operations?

Crowdsourcing turns transportation system users into real-time sensors on system performance, providing low-cost, high-quality data on traffic operations, roadway conditions, travel patterns, and more.

Three common sources of crowdsourced data include social media platforms, third-party crowdsource providers, and specially developed mobile apps. Because crowdsourced data are obtained as people travel, agencies can capture in real time what happens between sensors, in rural regions, along arterials, and beyond jurisdictional boundaries. Crowdsourced data can often be accessed by traffic management centers (TMC) with minimal or no time lags, and it does not suffer from local sensor or system outages.

When combined with traditional data, crowdsourcing helps agencies implement proactive strategies that improve incident detection, traffic signal retiming, road weather management, traveler information, and other operational programs. Agencies can make roadways safer and more reliable, improve operational efficiency, and support cost-effective monitoring through crowdsourcing for operations.

Crowdsourcing can also be used to promote acceptance of public decisions, improve transparency and efficiency of public expenditures, and foster traveler satisfaction with transportation services.

Learn more about this EDC-5 Innovation.

How NJ Incorporates Crowdsourcing for Operations

Stage of Innovation: INSTITUTIONALIZED (December 2020)

New Jersey is a leader in this EDC-5 initiative, incorporating crowdsourcing data to advance operations since 2008 through the following activities:

Acquired Two Probe Data Sets. Crowdsourcing data from INRIX and HERE (via TRANSCOM partnership) is used for real-time performance management and traffic monitoring for roadway management and event after actions.

Incorporated Crowdsourcing Data Sets. TRANSCOM tools such as Data Fusion Engine (DFE) and Selected Priorities Applied to Evaluate Links (SPATEL) aggregate all available data sources for operations, analysis, and performance measures.

Piloted a Connected Vehicle Program.  The pilot study funded through a STIC Incentive Grant seeks to protect safety service patrol staff by alerting drivers in real-time of their presence at an incident site through apps such as Waze and Google.

What’s Next?

Through EDC-5, New Jersey will continue to enhance their TRANSCOM systems to improve response time and clearance, while also evaluating the effectiveness of WAZE crowdsourcing data available via TRANSCOM OpenReach system to support the Traffic Operations Center and incident detection.

Probe data has proven invaluable in monitoring real-time traffic conditions along all NJ roadways and provides NJDOT with the capability to push travel times to regional dynamic messaging signs.  NJDOT Planning also uses the RITIS platform to evaluate system performance per MAP-21 standards.

Click for the Crowdsourcing for Operations Fact Sheet.