Public road infrastructure is one of the most valuable assets of a country, and it has a significant impact on urban and economic development, mobility, and quality of life. Infrastructure quality, monitoring, maintenance, and usage are important issues for drivers, public administrations, decision makers, and citizens at large.
The CROWD4ROADS project tackles road infrastructure sustainability issues: it combines BlaBlaCar, the largest trip-sharing community worldwide with more than 10 million users, and SmartRoadSense, a crowd-sensing system that monitors road surface quality while people are driving. The CROWD4ROADS project raises awareness of the sustainability issues, including road quality and car occupancy rates, and promotes sharing economy or active citizenship initiatives.
Description of the outcome
SmartRoadSense monitors road quality by exploiting the accelerometers in everyday devices such as smartphones. It transforms each mobile phone to become a non-intrusive sensor of road surface quality, made available by volunteers while they drive, without requiring special instruments, user attention, or interfering with the normal activity of the car. While users drive to their destination, talking with other passengers, listen to their favourite music or looking at the landscape. The SmartRoadSense app estimates the roughness of the road’s surface.
Roughness estimates are collected by a server, where they are processed, aggregated, and finally published, both as an interactive online map and as downloadable and reusable Open Data packages.
SmartRoadSense has been released in Italy in February 2015. Over the first month of activity, the surface roughness of more than 10,000 km of roads has been monitored, roughly corresponding to more than 1% of the total Italian road network. From the launch of the CROWD4ROADS project in 2016, approx. 45,000 km of roads have been mapped by engaging BlaBlaCar users.
What you need to use it
In order to participate, a smartphone is required (iOS or Android), to install the SmartRoadSense application, and a vehicle. It is also suggested to make use of a tool to attach the smartphone to the vehicle as rigidly as possible, such as a smartphone bracket or a mat.
Usage of the system is very simple: once the SmartRoadSense application has been downloaded and installed on the smartphone, users need to ensure that the smartphone is correctly attached to the vehicle (using a rigid bracket or a similar system) and thus activate the app when they start driving. Data is automatically collected and transmitted.
Do you want to contribute?
Data gathered by users is released using an open license and can be downloaded from the official website: http://smartroadsense.it/open-data.html
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