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Bluetooth Travel Sensor Data is now available on the City of Austin Open Data Portal

February 28, 2017

Just in time for the first ATX Hack the Traffic, the City of Austin has released its Bluetooth travel sensor data to the public via the city’s open data portal. ATX Hack the Traffic, a hackathon that focuses on Bluetooth sensors and the data they generate, will be held on March 4, 2017—International Open Data Day.

The publication of the more than 70 million records (gathered since 2013) represents an exciting step forward in realizing the goals of the Data Rodeo: to promote the exchange of transportation data between governments, researchers, private companies, and the public.

Where does the data come from?
The City of Austin Transportation Department operates a network of Bluetooth device sensors along major roadways. The sensors, which are installed inside traffic signal cabinets, detect unpaired Bluetooth-enabled devices and estimate travel times and average speeds based on the movement of those devices through the sensor network.

Does the data contain personally identifiable information?
No. The Media Access Control (MAC) addresses in these datasets are randomly generated, effectively scrubbing personal information. 

 

How does the City of Austin use the Bluetooth travel sensor data?
The data enables transportation engineers to better understand short and long-term trends in Austin’s traffic patterns, allowing for decisions about systems planning.

What information does the data contain?
The sensor data is available in three datasets:
    
Individual Address Records (https://data.austintexas.gov/dataset/Bluetooth-Travel-Sensors-Individual-Addresses/qnpj-zrb9/data)
Each row in this dataset represents a Bluetooth device that was detected by one of our sensors. Each record contains a detected device’s anonymized Media Access Control (MAC) address along with the time and location the device was detected. These records alone are not traffic data but can be post-processed to measure the movement of detected devices through the roadway network

Individual Traffic Matches (https://data.austintexas.gov/dataset/Bluetooth-Travel-Sensors-Individual-Traffic-Matche/x44q-icha/data)
Each row in this dataset represents one Bluetooth enabled device that detected at two locations in the roadway network. Each record contains a detected device’s anonymized Media Access Control (MAC) address along with contain information about origin and destination points at which the device was detected, as well the time, date, and distance traveled. 

Traffic Summary Records (https://data.austintexas.gov/dataset/Travel-Sensors-Match-Summary-Records/v7zg-5jg9/data)
The traffic summary records contain aggregate travel time and speed summaries based on the individual traffic match records. Each  row in the dataset summarizes average travel time and speed along a sensor-equipped roadway segment in 15 minute intervals. 

Join the Data Rodeo at ATX Hack the Traffic to explore the Bluetooth travel sensor data and to collaborate with civic hackers in using it to develop transportation solutions.

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