Dumpster Diving in Highway Traffic Data

Traffic.com has announced that it is repurposing its archive of historical highway traffic data for major U.S. cities to show congestion patterns. While the graphs are not yet available, and the experiment is currently limited to the upcoming Labor Day weekend holiday, the idea is a nifty one: Dumpster dive prior traffic data to predict what will happen this year on major highways at any given time.

At a higher level, while traffic data is ubiquitous, this longitudinal slicing of the traffic data pie is overdue. Extracting implications from a data set like this massive one is useful as heck, not to mention being a compelling way of differentiating yourself from the jam of providers doing nothing more than presenting commodity current traffic data via ever-whizzier interfaces.

It is another reminder, to quote Tim O’Reilly, that data is indeed the Intel inside,

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