IF your urgent mission is to fight traffic congestion on Penang’s roads and bridges today . . .

Quick intro to TomTom

IF your main urgent mission is to fight traffic congestion on Penang’s roads and bridges today, — which we very much believe to be the case —  might not a good first step be to know more about what is going on? Here’s one that is worth a close look:  The TomTom Traffic Index, starting at https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/

“The TomTom Traffic Index is a key tool in our ongoing mission to create a safer, cleaner, congestion-free world together with our partners and drivers.

Now in its 8th year, the TomTom Traffic Index provides drivers, city planners, auto manufacturers and policy makers with statistics and information about congestion levels in 403 cities across 56 countries on 6 continents.

Users can search an extensive range of city-by-city traffic information to monitor live traffic, identify problem areas, analyze the cause of bottlenecks, and influence drivers’ behaviors to ease congestion and optimize traffic flow.

Methodoloical note from TomTom (Excerpts)

We’re often asked how we come up with the rankings presented in the TomTom Traffic Index. Unlike our data, our explanation is simple.

The congestion level percentages represent the measured amount of extra travel time experienced by drivers across the entire year. We start by establishing a baseline of travel times during uncongested, free flow conditions across each road segment in each city. We then analyze travel times across the entire year (24/7) for each city – and compare this information against free flow periods to derive extra travel time.

An overall congestion level of 36% means that the extra travel time is 36% more than an average trip would take during uncongested conditions. Average times are of actual taken trips, across every vehicle in the entire network, 24/7. Travel times in free-flow (uncongested) conditions are not based on speed limits but on actual trips made.

We also perform the same calculations for individual hours of each day of the week, so it’s possible to see how high congestion levels are in each city during the busiest times of the day, including morning and evening peak hours.

The TomTom Traffic index statistics are calculated from anonymized GPS data collected via navigation devices, in-dash systems and smartphones.

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Example – Kuala Lumpur 2018 (Exerpts)


– From their website – https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/kuala-lumpur-traffic

Once you have spent a time familiarizing your self with these tools in general, let’s check out the data they develop hoiur by hour every day for KL and see how it might be of use to you for planning and policy purposes. Let’s take the example of a table which summarizes congestion levels in the overall system for the last week over the 24 hour day.

Kuala Lumpur TomTom stats congestion levels

Interesting, eh?  But suppose you are a skilled traffic planner — not a politician nor accountant nor engineer, no matter how talented in their specialty — but a highly skilled traffic planner with all the ideas, strategies  and tools that they learned over a tough university curriculum and then some years of experience in the field.

What’s the point? The skilled traffic planner will already be on his way to soling your city’s traffic congestion problems.  Stand back and let her get to work.

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Check it out at https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/. And if you want to talk about it for Penang, get in touch with  Climate@NewMobility.org.

TomTom is only one way to go.  There are other tool sets that you will also need to look at.  But if solving Penang’s congestion problems is your job, you are going to need this kind of information.

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