The Oregon Department of Transportation said it and Azuga Insight – one of the account managers for its mileage-based “OReGO” road user charge system – will launch a six-month study in May using real-time data gathered through connected car technology to identify roads most in need of improvement.
ODOT said the study will involve up to 300 drivers, and that the department will pay each $50 for participating. The participants need to be OReGO volunteers with an Azuga device that allows satellite-based position tracking, but that others interested in joining can sign up for the study and for OReGO at the same time.
The agency stressed that vehicle data it will collect is already “anonymized and encrypted,” meaning that all personally identifiable information is stripped out and protected by law. It noted that for this study, with the vehicle owner’s permission, the data will include trip details and only be shared with ODOT.
It also said the data will be collected for the sole purpose of developing travel forecast models designed for transportation planning and analysis, adding that it needs the information to help determine what road improvements it should make and how to prioritize them.
Previously, ODOT said, it relied on regional household surveys to collect travel information for transportation planning and analysis, but the process of collecting thousands of surveys proved “so time-consuming and expensive” that it could only afford to collect data every 10 years.
“Meanwhile, Oregon’s population is growing and travel patterns are changing so quickly that our data cannot keep pace,” ODOT said in an April 9 announcement of the study. “Worse, travel surveys depend on people’s recollection of how, when and where they traveled. That means our traffic pattern data is only as accurate as drivers’ memories.”
It continued: “Connected car technology could change all that [as it] collects anonymous travel data automatically, in real time. No postage stamps, no travel diary surveys, no memory required.”