GEOCOUNTS in Victoria (+613 9853 4585)

Traffic and Parking Surveys Pty Ltd represents GEOCOUNTS in Victoria. We specialize in providing detailed transportation data collection surveys for municipalities, state government agencies, consultants and developers. taps_logo
geocounts_victoria

Phone: (+613) 9853 4585
Email: info@tpsurveys.com.au
Address: Suite 206, 89 High Street S, Kew VIC 3101

We are proud to serve the following clients:

City of Casey
City of Brimbank
Cardno
Donald Cant Watts Corke
GTA Consultants
Knox City Council
Moonee Valley
City of Greater Dandenong
Cardinia Shire Council
City of Wyndham
Baw Baw Shire
City of Darebin
Columbus Consolidated Governments
City of Whitehorse
Monash University
VicRoads

Automatic Traffic Surveys

Classification and Speed

We undertake all scales of traffic surveys from a single site to large state-wide traffic surveys with its large inventory of pneumatic tube traffic classifiers (Metrocount 5600 and Smartsensor HD Radar Traffic Classifier). Pneumatic tube surveys are used for conducting detailed axle surveys to meet Austroads classification standards (12 bins). Radar surveys are undertaken where:

  • Traffic volumes and speeds may create safety or operational concerns with the installation of pneumatic tubes
  • Covert speed monitoring is required
  • Frequent lane assignment changes can be expected such as in construction zones etc.
  • Tram roads where tube surveys are not able to be undertaken

Pneumatic Tube Classification Surveys

metrocountThese surveys utilise MetroCount 5600 Series Vehicle Classifiers. Using two pneumatic axle sensors, the MetroCount 5600 Roadside Unit (RSU) detects and stores the precise timing of every axle for every vehicle.  Once operating, the MetroCount RSU is left at the survey location gathering data typically for one or two weeks.

After the survey, the data collected by the RSU is unloaded and processed to produce a summary of the traffic monitored. This data includes, vehicle classifications (typically to Austroads 12 bins but can be adjusted to any summary standards required); vehicle speeds with key statistics calculated such as average speeds, minimum and maximum speeds, 85th%ile speeds, etc.

Whilst the classifiers are capable of counting bi-directional traffic using one classifier and set of tubes for both directions of traffic there are limits to the volumes that can be surveyed with accuracy. For a multiple lane road with uni-directional flows to ensure accurate counting generally pneumatic counts are installed to collect data lane by lane. That is there is generally one classifier and set of tubes installed for each lane surveyed. Inner lanes are monitored using “No count” tubes that ensure data is only collected for the lane being surveyed and not the outer lane that needs to crossed by the tubes.

We have adopted a “Rule of Thumb” for accurate counting based on our experience as shown in the table:

table_graphic

Radar Surveys

radar_trailerWe have a Smartsensor HD Radar Traffic Classifier mounted on a mobile trailer. The trailer is equipped with 4 batteries and solar powered to allow the unit to be deployed in the field for indefinite periods.

The Smartsensor units can survey up to 10 lanes simultaneously, collecting speed data, length classification and occupancy data. Up to 15 user defined speed bins and 10 length bins can used. The data can either be stored in the unit for regular down loading or data can be continuously streamed out to a web-site if required.

The unit can be installed anywhere from 1.8 metres from the first lane being surveyed to about 15 metres from the nearest lane allowing great flexibility in site installations.

Additionally Smartsensors can be installed on poles without the trailer if the site conditions are not suitable for the use of the trailer.

Radar surveys are useful to undertake speed and classification surveys where the installation of tubes across the road may be problematic due to large traffic volumes, particularly of heavy traffic, where tubes regularly fail and are difficult to install and maintain due the need for extensive traffic management. Radar is also less intrusive with there being no noise generated by the tubes being hit by traffic. Another location for this type of technology is on tram roads where tubes cannot be used.

Intersection Turning Movement Counts

Turning movement counts are an important input to intersection analysis and to support development applications. We undertake these types of surveys to ensure the collection of accurate and reliable data. Typically intersection turning movement surveys are undertaken by field staff using manual clickerboards. The survey staff is then required to manually enter generally 15 minute totals throughout the survey period. At a busy site this can easily cause the surveyors to become overloaded leading to errors in the recording and timing of recording and frequently vehicles are missed or double counted.

To overcome these deficiencies in traffic surveys we undertake surveys by a number of means aimed at reducing the load on filed staff and improving the accuracy of the results produced. Techniques used for observational studies include:

  • Use of automated data boards for counting
  • Miovision Video System.

Automated Databoards

We use databoards supplied by Jamar Technologies. The databoards can collect up to 12 movements at an intersection with the capability of allowing storage for up to 3 classes of vehicles and pedestrian movements stored separately. The boards allow a surveyor to record an observed vehicle simply by pushing a button on the board. The board automatically stores the running totals of the survey at either 1, 2, 5, 15, or 60 minute intervals. Generally for intersection turning movement surveys a 15 minute interval is selected.

Whilst it is theoretically possible for one surveyor to undertake this type of survey at an intersection we have found that it is preferable to have two surveyors on most intersections and at very busy large intersections up to four surveyors are used to ensure an accurate survey result is produced.

Miovision Video System

We also provide a service where turning movement counts can be provided by an automated video collections system. In this type of survey the overall intersection operation is recorded using a proprietary video recording system. The video is then uploaded to the Miovision site in Canada where the video is processed in one hour increments and the results of the analysis then downloaded for formatting and delivery to the client.

This system allows classification of vehicles observed into Light, Medium and Heavy Vehicles and can also, if required separate Buses, Pedestrian and Cyclist movements.

There will be a number of issues that need to be considered in designing a turning movement survey and selecting the best technique to undertake the survey. Consequently clients should discuss their requirements with our experienced staff to ensure that any surveys undertaken are designed to provide the outcomes desired.

Parking Surveys

Parking surveys can be undertaken to provide information on the demand for parking around existing facilities, on-street or off-street, to provide an understanding of the demand for parking, duration of stay and turnover of parking.

This information can be used to plan for the expansion of the facility or improvements and redesign of the parking facilities including new parking controls such as parking duration limits, access control etc. The results of surveys at a particular location can also be used as an indicator of parking demands for a similar planned facility.

Techniques that can be used to undertake parking studies include:

  • Parking Supply Studies: this study would typically be a pre-cursor to further studies discussed below. The study would typically gather information on:
    • Number of parking spaces
    • Type of parking (cars, taxis, trucks etc) including any restrictions on parking, say by time of day or costs of parking
    • Off-street parking facilities including access controls and costs
    • Any access restrictions, including pedestrian access.
  • Parking Accumulation Study: this type of study simply measures the number of vehicles entering or leaving a parking area and thus allows an estimate to be made of the overall parking demand by time of day for the survey period. This type of surely would be applicable to a large off-street car park, say associated with a shopping centre, where the parking area is serviced by a limited number of access roads.
  • Parking Duration Study: The range of parking durations of vehicles parking within a car park or area can be observed by mapping the parking area to be surveyed and then having an observer noting the occupation of each parking bay at regular intervals. The shorter the time interval between each cycle allows the parking durations to be noted more accurately but of course this additional accuracy will come at an additional cost due to the need for additional staff to allow the additional observations to be made.
  • Interview surveys: If more extensive data is required on the origin and/or destination of people using the car parking facility interview surveys may be useful. These surveys can be undertaken by:
    • On-site interviews of people using the parking. This method requires significant staffing and also the cooperation of the people using the parking. Interviews need to be quick and relatively painless if there is to be any significant participation achieved
    • Reply paid questionnaires. Again the questionnaires need to be short and easily completed. Nevertheless it can be expected that limited responses will be received. This type of survey may be more successful where there is a captive survey group such as where a survey is undertaken of employees using an employee car park or surrounding streets.

 

Speed Studies

Speed studies are undertaken to:

  • Assess the compliance with existing speed zoning
  • To determine the best location to install buffer speed zones on the approached to provincial cities/towns etc;
  • In construction speed zones to provide evidence of compliance with the speed zones and to encourage additional policing of speed zones to protect construction staff if speed compliance is not found.

Spot Speed Studies

Spot speed studies can be readily undertaken using our Laser Technologies LTI 20/20 Laser Speed Gun. This type of study involves an observer being located on the section of road in question and then covertly monitoring a sample of the traffic using the road. The sample required to produce a statistically reliable result can be quite small depending on the free speed of the traffic being monitored. The table below proves an indication of typical sample sizes required.

Microsoft Word - Speed Studies.docx

The results of the monitoring are then plotted up to produce a cumulative distribution of speeds. An example of a typical output is shown below. Statistics such as mean speed, 85th%ile speed and the number of vehicles that comprise the sample are noted.

Microsoft Word - Speed Studies.docx

Automatic Classifier/Speed Surveys

Pneumatic tube classifiers can be installed to allow traffic speeds to be monitored over an extended period. This type of surveys allows speeds to be recorded 24 hours a day over an extended period.

Key statistics can be calculated including:

  • Mean speeds by time of day
  • 85th%ile speeds for the whole sample and also for defined times of day
  • The classification of the vehicles measured.

These surveys are not covert as they require the installation of pneumatic tubes across the lanes being monitored.

Side-Fire Radar

Our Smartsensor Trailer can be installed clear of the road to monitor up to 10 lanes of traffic simultaneously. The Smartsensor must be installed at least 1.8 metres from the nearest traffic lane being monitored but can be installed up to about 15 meters from the nearest lane. The range of the Smartsensor is up to 70 metres.

Consequently the Smartsensor Trailer can be installed without the need to install tubes across the road and can, if the room is available, be installed away from the road where it is unlikely to have any impact on traffic operation and also clear of the traffic movements meaning that there is no need for traffic management to deploy the device.

The Smartsensor can be configured to operate 24 hours a day storing data in user defined intervals, classify vehicles counted in up to 8 user defined vehicle length bins, and classify vehicle speeds observed in the interval into up to 15 user defined speed bins. Additional statistics compiled include average speed of the vehicle observed in each interval and 85th%ile speed in each interval.

The Smartsensor is thus extremely useful in monitoring vehicle speeds in construction zones and elsewhere where the large traffic volumes make the installation of pneumatic tubes across the traffic lanes problematic.

 

Travel Times Surveys

Microsoft Word - Travel Times Surveys.docxTravel time surveys are undertaken using a GPS antenna and a small standalone datalogger. The Datalogger records vehicle position, vehicle speed and vehicle heading at 1 second intervals allowing detailed plotting of the vehicle’s travel times, and speeds. Once the data has been logged it is transferred to a laptop computer for further processing. The Datalogger is powered from a vehicle cigarette lighter output with the GPS Antenna simply attached to the vehicle windscreen by a suction cup.

Once the data has been collected it is typically plotted in Excel graphs for more detailed analysis. Typical outputs include:

  • Time vs Distance for each direction of travel
  • Speed vs Distance for each direction of travel
  • Tabulations of travel time between previously established waypoints.

Examples of the typical outputs available from the travel time surveys are shown below.

Microsoft Word - Travel Times Surveys.docx

Bike Surveys

Temporary Installations

Microsoft Word - Bicycle Studies.docxPneumatic Tube surveys
Bike paths can be surveyed using a standard Metrocount Traffic Classifier. To ensure that the pulse generated by the bicycle running over the tubes is measured by the classifier, a thinner, more sensitive tube is used, rather than the standard road tube.

Where a bike path is located on-road, a dedicated bike lane can be monitored using shorter road tubes that only span the bike lane.

For a shared lane where bicycles operate in a wider kerb side lane, the tubes can be installed to span across the entire lane. Bicycles can be separated from the general traffic stream by classification of the vehicle lengths and speed to separate bicycles from motorcycles. That is, searching the data for vehicles with lengths less than 2.0 metres and speed less that 40 km/h.

Video Studies
Another option for undertaking short-term studies includes video surveys. These studies are generally short duration surveys, less than 24 hours, and can be undertaken to measure bicycle movements at an intersection or elsewhere. The benefit of this type of study is that a video record is also available for further analysis and verification.

Manual Observation Surveys
Bicycle movements can be manually monitored with data recorded to a databoard to simplify the collection and processing of the data.

Permanent Count Stations

bike_surveys--element53Permanent bicycle path monitoring can be installed using Metrocount MC5720 – “Advanced Bicycle Counter”. This counter can be installed in a roadside cabinet with two embedded Piezo axle sensors cut into the bike path surface to measure the bi-directional bicycle traffic and speeds.

The piezo axle sensors are installed so that the final surface of the sensor is very low profile so that the installation will not constitute a tripping hazard for any pedestrians using the path.

The batteries within the counter will operate for about 6 – 9 months, but optionally the installation could be installed with a solar power supply. Also the option of remote monitoring could be implemented with the installation of a wireless modem, providing the ability to continuously monitor the site or remotely download data from the site.

 

Other Surveys

Other surveys we undertake include:

School Crossing Surveys
These surveys involve the collection of children crossing numbers and traffic volumes at the key crossing times of the day. These surveys are typically undertaken to support applications for new school crossings or school crossing supervisor subsidy applications/maintenance. Surveys can either be done manually of by video analysis.

Pedestrian Crossing Surveys
Similar to School Crossing Surveys but typically undertaken to support applications for the installation of Zebra Crossings or Pedestrian Operated Signals.

Gap Studies
Surveys can be undertaken of the opportunity for vehicles to enter or cross a main road from a side road or driveway. This type of survey can be undertaken either by a surveyor on site measuring the gaps in the main road traffic using an electronic data-board designed for this purpose or a by video survey.

Queue Length Studies
These studies can be undertaken on the approaches to intersections where signal control, roundabout or other controls lead to vehicle queuing. Typical parameters that might be measured include:

  • Maximum stationary queue defined as the length of the queue when signals turn green
  • Maximum back of queue defined as the length of queue when the last stationary vehicle in the queue moves
  • Overflow queue is defined as the number of vehicles still left in the queue when the lights change to red.

These surveys are typically undertaken with on-site observers but can also be undertaken using video surveillance.

Manual Vehicle Classification Studies
These studies are short-term observational studies of the classification of vehicles. Typical classifications might include:

  • Light Vehicles, that is cars, vans, utilities etc. singly or towing
  • Single Unit Trucks
  • Single Unit Trucks towing
  • Semi-trailers
  • B-doubles.

Other classifications might include observation of hazardous good carrying vehicles or numerous other options.

Origin-Destination Surveys
These surveys are undertaken by defining a cordon around the area of interest. Each road crossing of the cordon is defined as a station. At each station a sample of vehicles entering or leaving the cordon is recorded together with the time. Traffic counts need to be undertaken at each of the cordon sites to allow an assessment of the expansion factors required to adjust the sampled origin/destinations to represent the traffic flows. Typically only four digits of a number plate are recorded to reduce the survey task and also to mitigate privacy issues.

The sample can either be defined by only recording say white or red vehicles or only number plates ending with the number 1 or 2.

The recorded numbers entering/leaving the cordoned area are then matched together with the time between sightings to allow an assessment of the origins/destinations of vehicles passing through the cordon and whether the vehicles had a stop within the cordon.

O/D Surveys are subject to a number of possible errors, these include:

  • Errors in recording of numbers including missing a vehicle at one or more station, transposing numbers or simple errors in recording the numbers
  • Errors in matching due to only recording partial number plates.