Skycomp documents and quantifies traffic mobility or parking patterns and any underlying causes of congestion using images acquired during extended TLAP patrol flights (repeating tours that typically last from five minutes to one hour).
Introduction: Patrolling TLAP survey flights have been a Skycomp staple for 45 years, yet remain surprisingly relevant for the modern era. Roadside video cameras are not everywhere (and are not normally recorded where they are), and while digital sensors can tell a wonderful “big data” story 24/7/365, often they cannot communicate what is really going on. With today’s focus on public participation and non-technical stakeholder involvement in the planning process, and the need later (for accountability) to show that invested funds have achieved their objectives, extended TLAP patrols make as much sense today as before. As we have heard from dozens of clients over the years, a photo – that is, the right photo – really is worth many words.
Discussion: Skycomp uses fixed-wing aircraft to cover large highway networks, or helicopters for urban street grids, to acquire TLAP coverage of 100% of an assigned highway or street network. Fixed wing aircraft may also be used for TLAP of specific points of interest that are widely scattered, such as system-wide transit parking lots. The sample intervals typically range from five minutes to one hour. Post-flight, all photos are sorted by viewpoint, and then tightly aligned to facilitate the detection of patterns and/or the taking of counts & other metrics. Fast-moving airborne platforms allow for regional or system-wide coverage areas, and produce TLAP imagery to document queue lengths over time, the underlying causes, and the extent of any spillover to other streets. The applications are to understand and quantify delays for, say, planning major projects, evaluating stadium events, or, for public relations purposes, documenting traffic conditions before and while a major facility is closed for rehabilitation (as happened when the New Jersey DOT recently closed the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway near Newark Airport).