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Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Studies Patterns for 4.8 Mile Extension


USA Today reported that the 11-mile extension of Washington, D.C.'s subway system to Dulles International Airport will cost $47,000 per foot (or $2.9 billion in total).  With those costs, transit expansion projects have to be right!  

The cost of implementing and extending transit systems is clearly no joke.  That’s why the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) team reached out to AirSage for key information to help make critical decisions regarding their rail extension project.


With close to 400,000 weekday passengers, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is the fifth busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the U.S., connecting San Francisco to the East Bay suburbs and Oakland. 

Increased traffic congestion has created a demand for more service and BART is in the process of expanding. Officials are contemplating adding an extension, farther east of the Bay Area to Livermore (40 miles east of Oakland). The new rail segment, along Interstate 580, would add 4.8 miles to the existing line that currently ends in the town of Dublin/Pleasanton.


Transit leaders with BART believed that many people regularly made the drive from the San Joaquin Valley, over the Altamont Pass, and into the Bay Area. Researchers needed to determine if there was both a demand and an identifiable market for an east/west expansion.

In order to accomplish their goal, BART required a careful understanding of where people were coming from and going to.  In the past, they’ve used license plate surveys which have proven to be time consuming and costly.


AirSage conducted an origin-destination Trip Matrix study for BART, that helped meet the critical demands of planners and identified two possible markets for the extended rail system.

Download the full case study and read the results here. 




Dubuque and IBM Work Together to Create the First Smart City


What is a smarter city? In 2009, the city of Dubuque, Iowa decided to find out. This river-port city, with a local street system adopted in 1936, joined forces with IBM to become the first smarter city.

The early 20th century city planners never accounted for the amount of modern traffic that would travel between two major highways flanking the city — U.S. 61/151 and U.S. 20. Forced to use the city’s local street system to make the trip, the result was a concept unknown to Depression-era city planners: gridlock. Mass transit was not an immediate solution; the local public transportation system suffered from poor ridership because buses did not travel where people wanted to go, when they wanted to go.

To make Dubuque smarter about traffic, IBM used data from smartphone applications, transit smart cards, and groundbreaking data from AirSage to get a detailed picture of travel patterns within the urban area. AirSage used its proprietary system to capture mobile signals from 15,000 mobile devices in the Dubuque area over a period of three months in 2012, and then analyzed the resulting data.

The endeavor received a National Association of Development Organizations’ 2012 NADO Innovation Award. Additionally, the project goals and successes were recognized by the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation in “Creating the Sustainable City: A Community Engagement Strategy that’s Working."

Download the full case study here



Pasadena Recycles Data to Reduce Traffic Problems


The city of Pasadena faced the common challenge of trying to reduce traffic congestion in areas that were already fully developed.  Having a population of 138,547 and a mature transportation system including four major freeways, three state highways, and a bus and light rail service only added to the challenge.  City transit planners looked for a more advanced way to capture data, analyze the effects of congestion in the city, and to evaluate how people traveled, not just by vehicle, but also by foot, bicycle and mass transit.

Challenge: In order for city leaders to make the right changes to Pasadena’s transportation network, they required more progressive data and practical tools. They needed to assess the effects of congestion and the true movement of the population while also simulating real-world conditions.

Solution: The U.S. DOT was already spearheading a separate, much larger pioneering study called the Connected Vehicle project—researching traffic patterns in four cities: Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Pasadena looking to revolutionize the way citizens travel by creating a safe, interoperable wireless communications network that would include buses, trains, trucks, traffic signals and cell phones.

As part of this U.S. DOT study, AirSage worked with a GIS Partner to build a real-time travel prediction model - the first of its kind to demonstrate regional, real-time travel patterns on an hourly basis, allowing the prediction of traffic patterns during specific times and particular days of the week.

Pasadena was able to use this data from over six billion mobile device locations to predict travel time on city corridors for future land use and to improve the coordination of traffic signals. The new model included all signalized intersections and freeway ramps in Pasadena as well as the street and freeway segments that connected those locations allowing planners to evaluate options to reduce traffic problems in fully developed areas and in parts of the city where new roads could not be added.

Read the full story to find out more details on Pasadena's success as well as the U.S. DOT project.  




South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC)


In Search of the Elusive Country Road Traffic Data: In 2007, commissioners representing three Alabama counties developed a travel demand model to determine where residents were coming from and going to each day. The model would guide regional transportation construction planning for the next 25 years, even in rural parts of the state.

The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) built its model using traditional methods to capture traffic data, including pneumatic road tubes, a network of traffic counts and a limited Household Transportation Survey (HHTS).

But because the plan would forever alter many communities in Baldwin, Escambia and Mobile counties, SARPC required validation of the data before committing taxpayer dollars to the development or implementation of a plan. The problem: the commission’s limited financial and time resources made such a time-consuming, expensive project unworkable. 

Kevin Harrison with SARPC talks with Fox10 News about the data collected.

Putting traditional methods out to pasture, SARPC used AirSage data to validate the model. AirSage captured and analyzed one month of data from more than 192,000 mobile devices over a relatively small network of 312 zones, covering 670 total miles of roadway. That data provided insights into 1.56 million total trips, with an average of 67 locations per device, per day.

Read the full story here.                                                                                                                                                          


Sacramento Kings Entertainment and Sports Center - Trip Matrix Survey with Fehr & Peers


Challenge: With the Kings' arena move to a more densely populated urban area and a year-round focus, traffic and transportation planning associated with the massive
development moved well beyond the scope of typical a single Planned Special

Event (PSE). The potential for such a significant transformation of the region’s
physical landscape and alteration of population movement
patterns demanded something much bigger before approval for the new area could be granted.

Solution: In order to properly assess traffic patterns, a transportation study was conducted at both the Kings’ current, suburban Sleep Train Arena and the future location in downtown Sacramento using mobility data from AirSage. The data was also used to assist in determining the likelihood of an event attendee taking light rail, bus or walking/biking versus driving.

Results: The data provided trip origins and destinations, including a window of time in which fans arrived at and departed from the arena area. Importantly, the AirSage data—when used in combination with the regional travel demand model, and other analysis techniques—helped forecast a 10-15% increase in transit and pedestrian travel modes. It also confirmed that many fans will drive fewer miles because the new downtown arena will be closer to the region’s population centers and the Kings’ population base.

The analyzed, aggregated data provided to the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group is also being used to evaluate appropriate media advertising options for the new arena. Information like this, which illuminates consumer travel patterns, provides insights for marketing-focused entities to see how and where target audiences move.

Read the full story here.



Academic Success


The Best & Brightest Turn to AirSage: Transportation planning researchers, professors and students at some of the world's top institutions are using AirSage data sets for their research and learning programs.

Find out how scientists and researchers from MIT and more have been able to take advantage of AirSage data to create award-winning transportation research.

Read the full story about these prestigious academic institutions overcoming significant challenges to gather the necessary data with limited resources in order to complete award-winning customized transportation studies. 

AirSage is a partner in education and research, offering universities and academic research teams discounts on data sets including the Trip Matrix, Select Zone, Home Location Report and more!

Read the full story here.                                                                                                                                                          


Moore County Travel Demand Model Update - Trip Matrix Study

Challenge: Leaders in Moore County were at a standstill in their transportation planning, because they did not have access to reliable information about traffic volumes and travellers on U.S. 1 from Aberdeen through Southern Pine.

Traditional Household Transportation Surveys (HHTS) were expensive and inaccurate, with small sample sizes often representing as few as one out of every 100 households. 

Solution: The information will be used to develop a travel demand model that will evaluate current and future travel patterns. That in turn will help guide decisions on where future road improvement projects and new highways will be needed.

Results: AirSage Trip Matrix analytics documented travel patterns captured from nearly 11.6 million trips and more than 3 million unique mobile devices in Moore County from September 20 through October 18, 2012. Data captured by AirSage represented approximately one in six Moore County residents.

Read the full Moore County story here and a story about the project on


Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of
Governments Travel Demand Model Update -Trip Matrix Study

Challenge: OKI was tasked with a daunting deliverable, create an updated travel model for the three-state area that would accurately document current travel patterns and forecast transportation needs for the next 30 years.

The study had two primary goals: 1) measure where people are coming from/going to and 2) differentiate local travelers from those passing through - and it had to be done without traditional freeway surveys.

Solution: Utilize AirSage mobility data to replace the traditional freeway survey (to comply with legal restrictions) and create the necessary Trip Matrix study that would be integral to the project's success. 

Results: The AirSage Trip Matrix study captured data from than 2 million people on 1,300 miles of freeway to deliver almost 500 times the number of trips than was captured with a HHTS - all in a fraction of the time and with significant cost savings.
Read the full OKI story here.



NuStats, LLC Validation of Travel Survey Data - Trip Matrix Study


Challenge: Working with a traffic-reduction project, NuStats came to AirSage with a request for data that would 1) augment and 2) validate data that had been gathered using a traditional travel study.  

The need for data extended beyond city-specific boundaries to include outlying areas such as military bases. Capturing regional data like this has, historically, required expensive and time-consuming long-distance travel surveys.

Solution: A world leader in analyzing wireless signal data for value-added applications such as Origin-Destination (OD) matrices, AirSage was able to quickly address this challenge. For this project, AirSage provided NuStats with one month of population analytics that included regional commute data.

Results: NuStats was able to validate their travel survey data without long-distance travel studies - reducing costs and using fewer resources.

AirSage also provided NuStats with a consulting session that provided detailed analysis of the data.  read more


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Who is AirSage?

AirSage is the world leader in patented technology which turns real-time cell phone signals into meaningful location, movement and traffic data.

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