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Engineering Graduate ­ses Big Data to Seek Insights to Bicycle Travel Flow

By ­VA Today

May 22, 2014

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University of Virginia (UVA) researcher Alec Gosse recently conducted a big data project designed to get a better understanding of bicycle usage and its relationship to the more dominant automobile and bus traffic around the university.

Gosse developed a multidisciplinary project to improve bicycle transportation by analyzing traffic camera data, and then using that data to create computer models that provide insight to complex traffic patterns. "The ultimate goal is to gain a better understanding of how cyclists use existing infrastructure, and then use that knowledge to optimize future investments," Gosse says.

The researchers capture the data by training smart cameras to identify specific images, such as bicycle traffic compared to motor traffic. The bicycle traffic study is one of eight big data projects funded through the university's Data Science Institute, which is designed to create opportunities for graduate students in diverse disciplines to collaborate in search of solutions to contemporary problems that are broader than individual disciplines.

"The multidisciplinary approach that Alec and his colleagues developed for this problem provided an important new direction for urban planning," says UVA professor Don Brown.

From UVA Today
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