Traffic is usually observed from a fixed point of view or while participating in it. From that viewpoint one sees congestion and calm traffic periods alternate as seemingly random phenomena. If one would be able to board a helicopter and view the system from above, one might see patterns emerging that normally go unnoticed.

This is exactly what a data driven spatial traffic visualization system can accomplish. And more. Because a traffic visualization can be augmented with information that is not immediately apparent like traffic speeds and traffic flows. Also it is possible to combine consequent visualizations  into an animation, that can be navigated at will, or to show the data of multiple time slots in a single figure.

Recently we have added this option to our traffic data analysis tool TRIP.

Workflow to create a traffic data visualization:

  • Select a datasource. A data source is a traffic data layer that may contain "raw" data like MTM or NDW data, but may also contain data that is aggregated over periods or lanes.
  • Select 1 or more (or all)  periods. Each datasource contains an internal time axis that defines it periods
  • Select 1 or more (or all) locations. Each data source is defined for a set of locations that TRIP matches to traffic network.
  • Use the map to zoom in to the area of interest
  • Set the viewing options, like histogram height, histogram width, aggregation flag, smoothing options
  • Select a legend for the speed color coding

At this point the traffic data are visualized on the map.

Animation of traffic data

It is also possible to create an animation based on a selected periods. These animations are published as avi or mp4 files. These animations are time-coded and can be shared or published on the web. They can be viewed with any browser.  Try it yourself at:

Tip: use the time slider to navigate hence and forth through the reported interval

For a table of animations that cover all morning and evening peeks of for a full month see: