“It’s snowing like crazy here” and other tweets can boost computer models that guide traﬃc.
Go ahead, rant about the snow on Twitter. It can ease traffic on
slippery, congested roads.
That’s the crux of a study that examined how
weather-related tweets can be analyzed to bolster computer models
which, among other things, recommend safe driving speeds and which
roads motorists should avoid during inclement weather.
“It doesn’t matter if someone tweets about how
beautiful the snow is or if they’re complaining about
unplowed roads. Twitter users provide an unparalleled amount of
hyperlocal data that we can use to improve our ability to direct
traffic during snowstorms and adverse weather,” said
Adel Sadek, director of UB’s Institute for Sustainable
Transportation and Logistics, and the study’s lead
Co-authors of the study, which was published in the journal
Transportation Research Record, include Qing He, Stephen Still
Assistant Professor in Transportation Engineering and Logistics;
Jing Gao, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science
and Engineering; Ming Ni, a PhD candidate at UB; and Lei Lin, who
earned a PhD from UB in 2015.
The study was funded in part by the Transportation Informatics
Tier I University Transportation Center.