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Flagstaff using Smartphone data to help map traffic patterns

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 14:26:28-05

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Flagstaff officials now are using cellphone data to help better understand the city's traffic.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports the Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization will use the anonymous data to map and model traffic patterns in Flagstaff and across Coconino County.

The data, purchased from the San Francisco-based company StreetLight Data, is gathered from smartphone applications that use location services.

After being downloaded onto a smartphone, many apps will ask the user for permission to access the phone's location. If approved, the app will then be able to ping a user's movements, creating a mountain of location data each day.

The data could change the way the city manages traffic, give staff a better understanding of how developments or new roads may create or reduce congestion, and change the routes buses take.