Decoding the Signals on the Freeways of Los Angeles
The USC Annenberg School of Journalism and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Integrated Media Systems Center have teamed up to analyze a massive and ever-growing database about traffic in Los Angeles. Traffic data, particularly in a city such as this one, is unique in its ability to send us signals about the economy, quality of life, safety, and social and economic status. Each team brings unique skills to this endeavor. The expertise of the Viterbi faculty and students in computer science, data management and statistics was essential in the sorting, cleaning and codifying of millions of bits of information. The Annenberg side was charged with figuring out what questions the data might be able to answer and what stories it might be able to tell us about the city we live in.
Most of the data is generated by The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority. For the past five years, Metro has had a contract with the Integrated Media Systems Center to curate the data generated by some 20,000 sensors embedded on freeways and surface streets across Los Angeles County. In addition, Metro supplies the GPS data transmitted by thousands of buses as they traverse the region. In addition, our data relies on hundreds of thousands of accident and incident reports collected by the California Highway Patrol. You can meet our team here. This entire effort was made possible through the generous support of The Annenberg Foundation.