A ton of location data is being created by the movements of smartphone owners. Much of the attention is on marketing use cases: audience and competitive insights, offline attribution, store visits and similar use cases. However, the data has many other applications, including retail site selection, logistics and urban planning, among others.
Madrid-based location intelligence company Carto has teamed up with Google-owned Waze, through the latter’s Connected Citizens Program, to offer traffic management insights to municipalities. Madrid, Spain, is the first announced city, but others are on the way, including in the US.
The objective is to help cities “better understand traffic mobility patterns and inform better decisions about infrastructure and traffic management.” According to Carto’s SVP Ian Walsh, the Carto Traffico program will provide a mix of historical, real-time and, ultimately, predictive data to municipalities.
Waze supplies the raw traffic movement data through its API. Carto analyzes and visualizes the data to make it accessible to government officials and employees. It also allows urban planners to run different scenarios against the data. In other words, they can see what will happen predicatively if they make certain infrastructure changes or transportation choices. It could also be used for large-scale event planning.
Carto further enables cities to layer in other third-party data sets (e.g., demographic data) for deeper insights into planning decisions. One could imagine housing or commercial construction decisions relying increasingly on this data to assess the impact of new projects or developments on traffic patterns and congestion.
The partnership is yet another example of how valuable location data is and how varied and wide-ranging its applications can be.