Road traffic control and management is taking a significant leap forward in Finland as a result of Fintraffic’s use of Telia Crowd Insights, a service that can be used to analyze movement patterns through anonymized and aggregated mobile network data. Telia Crowd Insights will provide Fintraffic – which aims to ensure safe, smooth and environmentally friendly mobility in Finland – with more detailed data for use in planning traffic, road maintenance and investment projects.
As a result of this collaboration, the overall cost of general traffic calculations could be reduced by up to a third, as the need for physical road traffic measurements has been reduced. In addition, the collaboration will allow for better targeting of traffic calculations on road sections where significant changes are revealed by mobile network data, as Eetu Karhunen, Service Manager at Fintraffic Road Management, explains.
“Traffic calculations provide relevant information from our roads when we need a data-based understanding of traffic volumes or their changes,” Karhunen says. “The utilization of mobile network data has now made it possible for us to move, on a national level, from general models to accurate road-specific and even calculation-specific models. In the future, the traffic volumes revealed by our traffic calculations will better describe the real situation and this will provide, for example, much better data for traffic planning and road maintenance.”
Tero Särkiniemi, Crowd Insights business development manager at Telia, says the collaboration with Fintraffic has caught the attention of authorities in other Nordic countries.
“This new way of doing and implementing traffic calculations, developed through our collaboration, represents a significant leap in the Nordics and has already attracted interest in, for example, Sweden,” Särkiniemi says. “This new model for traffic calculations will provide users with more accurate information, and reducing the need for field measurements has clear benefits for society.”
The development of software that will enable Fintraffic to utilize mobile network data will continue during 2024, after which the new calculation model will be rolled out across Finland.
Traffic calculations are conducted across Finland’s state-owned road network spanning approximately 78,000 kilometers. The road network is divided into 15,000 segments and traffic is counted at 3,000 of these segments each year. Roadside calculations take between one to two weeks and are performed either manually or using radar.
Fintraffic and Telia started a research and development project at the end of 2021, with the aim of using mobility data collected from the cellular network to enable more targeted planning of traffic and road maintenance. Following a tender process this year, Telia will continue as Fintraffic’s provider and developer of mobility data.
Telia Crowd Insights data will reduce the need for roadside calculations in two ways. Firstly, the data will be used to determine whether there has been a significant change in traffic volume on a particular segment of road. If there hasn’t been a significant change, there is no need for Fintraffic to perform a roadside calculation. Secondly, whereas previously it was necessary for Fintraffic to perform two roadside calculations at different times of year on each segment to determine the seasonal variation pattern, this pattern will now be revealed by Telia Crowd Insights data.
Read more about Crowd Insights here.