New SSTI Resource: Understanding Trip-Making with Big Data

By Chris McCahill

SSTI has released a new resource for decision-makers interested in using big data to understand travel patterns, but who are not sure how to get started. This new brief provides an overview of trip-making data from cellphones, mobile apps, and in-vehicle GPS devices. It shows example applications and offers lessons learned from our recent Connecting Sacramento study and from past studies in Colorado and Virginia.

With high resolution GPS data and advanced algorithms developed by companies like StreetLight Data and Teralytics, we can now identify trips from beginning to end and gain in-depth knowledge about route choices, travel modes, and other detailed trip characteristics. This can all be done without complex travel demand models, expensive surveys, or preemptive data collection.

Before getting started, however, users need to know what data are available, how they differ, what they can be used for, and how much effort is involved in interpreting the data. Our new brief, which answers these questions, is available along with other resources at the Connecting Sacramento project page.

Chris McCahill is an Associate Researcher at SSTI.