So, it is football season and I got to thinking about something…….

A long, long time ago when I was a lad in South Detroit, we use to watch radio (the talkie).  We accepted that the Big Ten was not allowed to play in any bowl game except the Rose Bowl. Then change happened. My beloved Wolverines lost to that “Ohio” school, who then earned going to the Rose Bowl because they kicked our butt and WON the rivalry game.

Blue was headed to the Orange Bowl for the first time. That was good, but the reaction of some of my fellow fans was not. “It is ok we lost, it is great to get to go to Florida and play someone besides the Pac 10”. Bull-Crap on a Ritz! The Orange Bowl is great, but nothing like beating Ohio if you live 42.2 N by 83.7 W.

Today it feels like the same sad fan argument gets used for traffic data collection. A day or two of data is nice because……. Just like Michigan going to the Orange Bowl, it is nice, but it is not the Rose Bowl. A day or two of data is nothing like perpetual knowledge. No exception, end of story.

You can simulate and extrapolate, but the problem is that if you do that for too long, it starts to feel like the real thing and it most certainly is not. Perpetual data has more value.

Let’s look at practical application. About a month ago, a company who installed GRIDSMART a while back and paid one price,  looked at 900 days of minute by minute data. Turns out that on about day 730, someone changed a protected left turn to a permissive left turn.  Within 72 hours, 4,000 more vehicles (+12%) went through that intersection daily. Folks at that intersection got through faster, and 4 other intersections had a lessor load because of it. The City has actionable intelligence about what works and what does not.

Everyone won. Because GRIDSMART permits you to record video (and lets you see it now or whenever through a built in DVR without waiting or paying more), we know that there were zero T-Bones from turning on left during a permissive for the first 50 or so days and counting after the change.

So, one can record millions of hours of traffic around the world 2 days at a time and make you pay for it with a token credit system. “3 tokens for an hour of counts if you live here, but five tokens if you live there.”  (BTW – how much does a token cost?  That varies as well???). Or, one can actuate an intersection, or monitor a corridor while collecting data in perpetuity for a simple straight forward cost that is the same around the country. A price that is lot more cost effective. Then, you can pull that data any time you want with a point and a click or even have it emailed to you.

Because sometimes I might not get lucky enough to have my temporary cameras up on the day before, during and after the change was made to the timing or environment that made everything different. How many tokens for peace of mind?

Just like the 10 year old boy telling his friends that losing the football did stink, even if there was a consolation prize, I tell you today that perpetually updated, single priced data is the grand prize. Small windows in time counted by someone, somewhere else in the world is a consolation prize and the consolation prize is better than a sharp stick in the eye. Still, ask the question, consider the value of your data and then ask if you want to rationalize or get the grand prize?

That’s All I Know.

Be Well and Be Happy,


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