Development of Advanced Applications Using Bluetooth-Generated Traffic Flow Data

During the past year, research personnel of the CATT successfully developed and demonstrated a new technology for the collection of travel times and space mean speeds of traffic based on the reception of signals emitted by Bluetooth equipped electronics (PDAs, cell phones, car radios, laptop computers, etc.) located in passing vehicles. Bluetooth is a standards-based, pervasive wireless networking protocol whose use is rapidly expanding throughout the computer electronics industry. Because of the quality and large sample size of the Bluetooth data sets, this project is focused on research related to the use of this data for advanced analysis of the traffic conditions that existed at the time that the data was collected. This research is intended to address both near-term analytical challenges and long term applications. In the near term (year one), the research will concentrate on determining the minimum required sample sizes to reliably portray the traffic conditions; identifying and eliminating sample outliers; and developing procedures for distinguishing between motor vehicles and pedestrians in urbanized areas. In the long term (years two and three), the research will concentrate on the development of applications that take advantage of the size and quality of the Bluetooth data. This will include automatic identification of the existence of freeway incidents; use of origin-destination data to evaluate the impact of variable message sign (VMS) (also known as dynamic message sign (DMS) messages on traffic diversions; and predicting the impacts of incidents on travel time.