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Leveraging Geospatial Data to Improve Transportation Safety

High-accuracy geospatial data is the foundation of a transportation design plan to support improved safety and walkability of transportation networks.


The development of modern transportation and mobility infrastructure has brought to attention the need for planning and development that goes beyond traditional road and pedestrian design. The emergence of federal and state funding to support modern transportation development, designed to boost the safety and walkability of commuters, has prompted an investment into geospatial data to support the establishment of new infrastructure. 

Leveraging high accuracy geospatial data, planning departments are able to optimize design and provide safe mobility for all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit vehicles, truckers, and motorists, appropriate to the function of that area. The increased pressure on municipalities and counties to support safe mobility infrastructure has led to an increased urgency to modify existing transportation networks and high accuracy geospatial data is the foundation of change. By utilizing a robust geodatabase, planners can minimize investment by maximizing existing inventories, and optimize investment to areas that need it most. Ultimately this solution leads to a series of benefits.

Benefits of improved transportation networks include:

  • Increased Transportation Choices
  • Economic Revitalization
  • Improved Return on Infrastructure Investments
  • Livable Communities
  • Improved Safety for All Users
  • More Walking and Bicycling to Improve Public Health
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Improved Air Quality

The Challenge

Creating the data to support these initiatives has traditionally been both time consuming and expensive. Historically, transportation planning departments have relied on architectural engineering and transportation engineering firms to compile the data required to complete these projects. Not only does that pose a challenge financially, but the time to create the large comprehensive datasets hinders the ability of municipalities to engage in effective decision making and their infrastructural plans.

The Solution

Ecopia is revolutionizing the way artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting the world of maps and geospatial data. Leveraging our proprietary advanced AI technology, Ecopia mines high-resolution imagery and automatically transforms pixels into geometrically accurate vector maps at country scale. Our feature extraction process can deliver rapid insights cost effectively to meet the requirements of transportation planning authorities. Take a look at how the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) leveraged Ecopia’s technology to support their immediate requirements for improved walkability.

Client Spotlight - SEMCOG

One of the main priorities for SEMCOG is improving the walkability within their region, and thereby improving the quality of life for residents across their jurisdiction.‍

SEMCOG turned to Ecopia for sidewalk, crosswalk and parking lot extractions across the region. By leveraging proprietary AI, Ecopia was able to drastically reduce delivery timelines versus conventional methods. This capability afforded SEMCOG with rapid access to accurate data, enabling them to better optimize their transportation and walkability throughout the city. Based on the data provided by Ecopia, SEMCOG was able to determine that only 23% of the region’s crosswalks are marked, and that only 76% of their population is within 100 feet of the nearest sidewalk.

The data enabled them to efficiently target the communities where gaps existed and strategically plan for future infrastructure development to improve the walkability of their communities and thereby safely connect people and place.

For instance, Figure 1 shows (a) High-resolution imagery. (b) Sidewalk, crosswalk, and parking lot vectors.

Aerial view of southeastern Michigan and vectors extracted by Ecopia

Project Scope: 5,000 sq. miles 


  • 24,000 miles of sidewalk data, with width attribution
  • 160,000 crosswalk polygons
  • 4,000 parking lots

Processing time: 3 weeks

Accuracy: GIS Professional

Figure 2 shows (a) Ecopia AI-powered extractions are able to delineate features in dense urban areas at high-precision, even when hindered by shadows, tree canopy, and other vertical obstructions and (b) Inconsistent paved surfaces can make feature extraction challenging. Ecopia's AI normalizes this data and maintains GIS professional level accuracy across all paved surfaces.

Transportation maps made by Ecopia

As we have learned, advancements in geospatial extraction capabilities will be empowering for critical decision making when it comes to improving transportation safety across cities and communities. Ecopia AI is at the forefront of this revolution and will continue to offer planimetric quality data as required by concerned agencies to improve the safety and walkability of transportation networks. To learn more, please connect with our team.

Learn more about Ecopia's transportation planning solutions

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