[Datashot] City of Boston + Waze

Doubleparking, also known as “Boston Parking” is generally frowned upon. 

As you may know by now, the City of Boston is not only one of our first Connected Citizens Partners but also very active in putting the data received from the Boston community into actual practice. At a recent City Hall meeting open to journalists, Boston’s Mayor Walsh spoke at length about the value of Waze data in city planning, easing congestion and even influencing future policy regarding traffic and driving:

“The Waze partnership is really interesting for us because we’re able to track in real time, now, how traffic is in various parts of the city like never before,” said Dan Koh, Mayor Marty Walsh’s chief of staff. “This gives us quantifiable data – we can literally see if the average speed is 15 mph or 14 mph.” 

“Anyone who drives down [Commonwealth Ave.] knows that people double-park all the time,” he posited. “Do we do a pilot test where we enforce the violation of double parking more, and we can measure how it affects traffic?”

Slow down bub, it’s snowing

Let’s talk about this graph though: why would speeds increase during increased snowfall in Boston on February 2nd and February 15? To begin, remember when we posted about driving behavior during the January Nor’easter? We observed that during inclement weather people drive substantially less, especially in Boston.

Less drivers on the road means less values in the Average, which means that outliers (people going 2 mph or people going 100mph) can have a greater affect on the formula. We can also assume that out of the vehicles still on the road during inclement weather, most are (if not should be) better equipped to deal with the weather. When you want or need to leave your house during a snowstorm, you take the Grand Cherokee, not the Civic.

Our personal theory? Snowplows, emergency vehicles and the remaining cars are going faster than average because 1) there’s practically no traffic because 2) the number of drivers on road drops significantly. This is more than just for safety reasons- where are they supposed to go when businesses and schools close down?

Winter is almost over. Just a few more weekends to get up to the mountains, just a few more weeks of potential snowstorms and Spring (or Mud Season, as it’s known in New England) is just around the corner. But for a region of the United States where “Winter” can last up to 6 months, it’s never far from people’s minds.