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UGPTI Interprets Traffic Data to Help State Officials Plan COVID-19 Response

Posted: Apr 28, 2020

UGPTI researcher Kim Vachal's experience in analyzing data from automated traffic recorders around the state to assess speeding issues has been useful in helping the state plan its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials quickly began using daily traffic trends as an indicator of how many people are paying attention to stay-at-home orders and encouragement to limit travel to prevent the disease spread. Those counts can also indicate changes in traffic patterns as a result of the pandemic events or business/service openings.

Typically, the data from the recorders are aggregated monthly and used for longer-term assessments of traffic and road use in planning activities.

Vachal and other UGPTI researchers, including Brad Wentz, Kshitij Sharma, and Diomo Motuba from the Advanced Traffic Analysis Center, research specialist Seguy Tchakounte-Wakem, and post-doctoral researcher Satpal Wadhwa, work with the ND Department of Transportation Traffic Data Section to analyze the data each day in communicating daily updates to the ND State Emergency Operations Center and the ND State Highway Patrol, which provide briefings and recommendations to state officials, including the governor's office and the ND Department of Health. The data have been an important information resource in coordination for the ND Smart Restart Plan.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050