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Transportation Mapping Examples for Smart City Planning

Check out this list of innovative applications of geospatial data for active transportation planning, ADA compliance, multimodal network planning, & more.

Geospatial data is foundational to the development of smart cities, especially when it comes to helping people get around safely. As departments of transportation (DOTs), municipal planning organizations (MPOs), and cities develop and maintain transportation infrastructure, measuring multi-modal accessibility and network connectivity is imperative.

To evaluate the performance of existing transportation systems and to prepare them for a changing environment, planners and engineers require a digital source of truth for strategic decision-making. Ecopia AI (Ecopia) works with transportation practitioners in both the public and private sectors to create comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date maps that detail mission-specific transportation features. Every community has its own unique approach to transportation mapping, but most share the same goals: to foster smarter, safer, and more sustainable mobility.

Here are a few examples of how AI-based mapping is empowering communities across the United States with high-precision vector layers for transportation planning.

1. Active Transportation Planning

Active transportation planning map example with sidewalks and crosswalks
A sample of data created by Ecopia AI and Alta Planning + Design for active transportation planning in Shasta County, California

To encourage healthy lifestyles for residents and contribute to sustainability goals, many communities are doubling down on their commitment to build and maintain their active transportation networks.  Active transportation networks which are extensive and accessible foster more equitable health outcomes as well as greener and more economical mobility.

Alta Planning + Design is a leader amongst civil engineering firms in the planning and design of active transportation networks, working with communities around the world to increase opportunities for individuals to choose active mobility. When planning departments begin working with Alta, they often discover that their existing geospatial databases lack sufficient coverage of the key elements in active transportation plans, namely sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes. Ecopia and Alta regularly partner to map all relevant infrastructure for communities looking to expand their active transportation networks, saving MPOs, DOTs, and other planning departments significant time and resources as they obtain the data necessary to increase active mobility. With an up-to-date and complete source of this data, communities can analyze the accessibility of active transportation methods and better plan network expansion.

Read about Ecopia’s partnership with Alta Planning + Design, and how the two companies work together to empower government agencies with the data needed for active transportation planning.

2. Pedestrian Right-of-Way Mapping

Pedestrian RoW map example with sidewalks and crosswalks
A sample of sidewalk and crosswalk data in southeastern Michigan used for pedestrian RoW mapping

One of the main priorities of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) is to increase walkability throughout their 7 county jurisdiction. However, SEMCOG lacked an up-to-date record of pedestrian right-of-way (RoW) features, and knew that manually digitizing all 5,000 square miles of the region would be extremely resource-intensive. SEMCOG turned to Ecopia to extract the features they needed at the scale and accuracy required for their RoW mapping initiatives. 

Within three weeks, Ecopia’s AI-powered systems extracted 24,000 miles of sidewalk data with width attribution, 160,000 crosswalk polygons, and 4,000 parking lot polygons to help inform SEMCOG’s walkability analysis. With this data, SEMCOG was able to determine that only 24% of the region’s crosswalks were adequately marked for pedestrians, and nearly 25% of the region’s population lacked sufficient sidewalk access. Now SEMCOG has actionable insight  to improve pedestrian walkability and accessibility, contributing to its goal of fostering a more liveable, equitable community.

Learn more about how SEMCOG worked with Ecopia to understand its regional pedestrian RoW features and accelerate its walkability goals.

3. Multimodal Transportation Networks

Multimodal transportation map example
A sample of multimodal transportation network features in Chicago, Illinois

As communities strive to connect people to more places via more varied transportation methods, they often develop multimodal network plans. Multimodal transportation networks connect multiple methods of transportation to each other to provide more opportunities for individuals to choose how they travel. In other words, multimodal networks equitably support people who choose to bike, drive a personal vehicle, or take public transit to a specific location. 

Like many planning authorities, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) strive to develop multimodal transportation networks across the third largest metro area in the United States. To effectively connect the region’s 8.5 million residents to multiple transportation options across an area of over 12,000 square miles, IDOT and CMAP leverage 26 layers of land cover and transportation feature data from Ecopia. With this data, the 286 CMAP member organizations are able to visualize and analyze current multimodal network connectivity and plan future expansions. 

See how IDOT and CMAP exemplify state DOT and MPO collaboration as they expand multimodal transportation networks across the third largest metro area in the US.

4. ADA Compliance

ADA transportation map example with accessibility features
A sample of transportation mapping data used for ADA compliance in San Bernardino County, California

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established to ensure individuals do not experience discrimination based on a disability, with specific guidelines related to transportation. As a result, transportation planning organizations from both the private and public sectors must factor ADA compliance into their planning operations. For example, ramps must be made available to connect sidewalks with other transportation features, and public transit stops must have sufficient waiting areas for passengers. There are many different aspects of ADA compliance in transportation, and each region has its own specific needs based on its landscape and population. 

In San Bernardino County, the largest county by area in the contiguous United States, transportation planners from both Fehr & Peers and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) rely on up-to-date geospatial data to understand network compliance with ADA regulations. At such a large scale (20,000 square miles!), manually maintaining a comprehensive database of transportation features is not feasible. Using AI-based mapping systems, Ecopia was able to extract 17 distinct layers of transportation features in just three months - a fraction of the time it previously took the team to manually digitize. To best serve the region’s 2+ million residents and provide guidance toward ADA compliance, SBCTA and Fehr & Peers use Ecopia data as a digital source of truth for transportation mapping analytics.

Check out this case study on SBCTA’s work with Fehr & Peers to ensure ADA compliance of transportation networks in the largest county in the contiguous US.

5. Vision Zero

Vision Zero transportation map example
A sample of transportation map features for Vision Zero planning in Contra Costa County, California

Communities around the world are increasingly working towards Vision Zero, a strategy aiming to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries. A core tenet of Vision Zero is to make transportation networks more safe and equitable, while also providing healthy alternatives to vehicular travel. Closely related to active transportation planning, pedestrian RoW mapping, multimodal network planning, and ADA compliance, Vision Zero analysis and strategy implementation requires high-precision mapping data. 

Contra Costa County in California is one of the many global jurisdictions pursuing a Vision Zero strategy. To better understand past traffic fatalities and injuries, civil engineers at the County Department of Public Works overlay historical collision data with foundational transportation features provided by Ecopia. The efficiency and accuracy of vector layers extracted by Ecopia’s AI-powered systems mean the civil engineers can maintain an up-to-date view of county transportation networks without the expensive and time-consuming manual digitization process. Instead, Contra Costa County can understand traffic risks and promptly enact countermeasures that increase network safety and help the County work toward a Vision Zero future.

Learn more about how Contra Costa County leverages Ecopia data to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.

Get started with transportation mapping data

The above examples detail just some of the many ways Ecopia works with transportation planners and civil engineers at the state, county, and MPO levels, as well as in the private sector. To get started leveraging AI-powered transportation mapping data in your community, reach out to our dedicated transportation team. We have a licensed planner on staff who can help scope out what layers suit your community’s needs and how they can each be applied to meet your specific goals.

Learn more about Ecopia's transportation planning solutions

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