The latest new product from HERE is Trip Data. It provides government agencies and enterprises with the data they need to determine where drivers are going and what road they used to get there.
This is vital information for many people. Traffic agencies are legally required to generate new traffic plans for their areas of authority on a regular basis. These form the basis of future planning for their road networks. To do that, they need to know exactly how much their roads are being used, where people are trying to get to, and to compare that to the last time a measurement was made.
Historically, that meant stopping people to ask where they have come from and where they’re going or mailing them travel diaries, and hoping that they find time to fill them out for two solid weeks and mail them back.
Introducing HERE Trip Data
Happily, there’s now a much better way of doing this. Joe Guthridge, product manager for Trip Data, explains:
“HERE collects vast amounts of probe data from vehicles all over the world.”
Probes are small, anonymous samples of people’s car journeys: instant records of a location, a direction and the speed. HERE collects some 80 billion of these a month, to be able to analyse levels of congestion on the roads.
“Previously, we were only really interested in the speeds. Using probes you can work out the traffic levels on the roads in a city.
“What we did with Trip Data was algorithmically stitch those probes back together, to reveal the origin and destination of journeys.”
Not every journey can be uncovered this way, and Joe says that one of the trickiest parts of developing the product has been weeding out false trails: probes that look like they’re a continuation of the same journey, but actually indicate that a vehicle arrived at one destination and departed for the next.
Nonetheless, the data that we have been able to extract and cleanse has proven robust in real-life testing. It also has the advantage of being measurable at any time of the day, any day of the year. “This can be really useful, for example, if a city has problems when it snows or rains that it needs to analyse.” (Imagine the pitfalls of having to wait until the next time the weather condition occurs to do this analysis, and then having to send people out to stop traffic!)
“We can also look in much greater detail at trend analysis over time. The data goes back several years, so customers can see the effects of changes in movement patterns over time.”
Trip Data for business
Trip Data is not only useful for government agencies, though. “It’s a rich source of information about consumers moving around.”
“Everyone in retail, for example, wants to know where people (and the spending power they represent) go, when they go, and the routes they take to get there.”
Trip Data doesn’t risk identifying individuals, though. Origin/Destination reports are only available for map grid areas, the size of which varies according to the density of the population. “We’re interested in supplying trends, not individual activity,” says Joe. “We summarise and generalise the data to protect privacy, while giving agencies and enterprises the information they need to make decisions.”
HERE isn’t the only location company supplying origin/destination data, but Joe feels that Trip Data is certainly the strongest. He concludes: “Our data is precise enough to identify the specific roads that are used on trips: that’s really important for government and for enterprise. It’s much more precise than solutions that rely on triangulating cellphone signals.”
HERE Trip Data launches right now in the US, Germany, France and Brazil. More countries are planned to be supported in the near future. Find out more on our product page.