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Sito as a producer of traffic volume data on Finland’s road network

In addition to sample counts carried out on the road network, the comprehensive service includes data services during the count period, the modelling of count data into traffic indicators as well as their export into the Finnish Transport Agency’s road register, and service development.

In the summer of 2012, Sito was selected as the provider of the Finnish Transport Agency’s  traffic count service, a contract for a period of eight years. Sito is working on the project in cooperation with Riksroad Oy, Tietomekka Oy and Viatrack Oy.

Modern data system provides manageability and transparency

Traffic counting is a new area for Sito. The rapid launch of the service was challenging, but on the other hand, the need for new investment allowed for a completely new device base, the majority of which has e-mail functionality. We were able to develop a more up-to-date measurement process and supporting data service. The modern data system includes measurement planning on a weekly level by measurement instrument; the quality monitoring of raw data occurring while the collection of counting data is underway; the possibility to make corrections to the data; a data reporting service during the measurement period; and the modelling of the indicators to be saved in the road register.

Measurement work carried out in the field is facilitated by the use of tablet computers, and the status of field work is updated in a cloud service as it progresses. For example, reporting on exceptions is made directly into the service, where it is available to the customer along with other areas essential to ensure quality. The service has been developed in close cooperation with the Finnish Transport Agency.

40 million vehicles already counted this year

In 2013, the first year that Sito was responsible for the counts, new traffic data was produced by counting for approximately 3,600 homogeneous road parts. As counting is performed two or even three times at most locations, almost twice this amount of week-long sample counts were performed.

During the most active counting periods, about 10 persons at Sito are actively involved with traffic counting. There are almost 500 different types of traffic counting devices in use. Sito’s traffic counting equipment is type-approved, and the functioning of the counters is tested each year. In addition to the national traffic counting service, project counts are made for, among others, municipalities and cities, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment as well as the private sector. Already at the beginning of September this year, we have so far counted more than 40 million vehicles.

Calculation models under development

The accuracy of the indicators in the road register is significantly affected not only by the devices, its installation and the processing of counting data, but also by the calculation methods used for modelling the indicators. A Master’s thesis has been made in cooperation with the Finnish Transport Agency and the Tampere University of Technology on the development of models for calculating indicators. This work is connected to the joint Nordic traffic count development project (NorSikt), whose aim is to harmonise traffic counters and the related indicators in the Nordic countries.