AITPM webinar - Data Sources in the time of COVD-19 report
Review by John Richardson
A fantastic virtual turn up of 127 people across Australia tuned in on 14 May to discuss different data sources being used to measure mobility during COVID-19 and debate whether we can rely on them. Host John Richardson (Victorian TMN representative and Principal Transport Modeller, Jacobs) led the discussion with three great speakers - Ali Inayathusein (National Director – Future Transport, VLC), Tim Spalding (Senior Insights Analyst, Victoria Department of Transport) and John Reid (Managing Director, Austraffic).
Ali talked through the distinction between Location, App Usage and Sensor Based Data. Citing the VLC COVID-19 Mobility Trends Dashboard as an example of Location Based Services data. He stressed the importance of ‘ground truthing’ the data, citing public transport usage as an example that varied between Citymapper, Google and Apple mobility indexes. Continuing control surveys such as the Household Travel Surveys are important for this purpose.
Tim took us through the important distinction between myki data and patronage data and all of the data fusion required to combine myki data, touch on surveys, load surveys and actual timetables to produce patronage estimates. He highlighted how the data fusion process limited the ability to produce patronage data in real-time, privacy restrictions and improvements that DOT is looking to make in the future.
John Reid gave a real example of the differences between SCATS sensor data, manual and video counts. Showing that not only do sensors undercount, but they are highly variable by turning movements. This reiterated the points raised by Ali on the need to ground truth data sources such as sensor, mobile phone and app data and not rely on them for absolute figures, although the analysis of trends should be acceptable.
A video of the presentation is available for AITPM members here.