When you’re in the retail business, location planning is a complicated process. There are many factors to consider when trying to ensure a location can be successful, but at the top of the list is making sure there’s plenty of traffic passing by that site (in other words: potential customers).
That’s where data from INRIX comes in. Founded in 2005, INRIX pioneered the practice of managing traffic by analyzing data not just from road sensors, but also from vehicles. This breakthrough approach enabled INRIX to become one of the leading providers of data and insight into how people move around the world.
INRIX Volume Profiles data is available to SiteSeer users who subscribe to this dataset. Volume Profiles data includes what every retailer and government needs to know to make intelligent decisions: vehicle volume by street direction, time of day and day of week. INRIX Volume Profile is the only vehicle count database with number of typical vehicles by time of day and day of week in 15-minute bins by road segment on over 2.65 million miles of U.S. roads.
We sat down with Bob Pishue and Mike Byquist at INRIX to discuss how their datasets benefit SiteSeer users, trends they are seeing in traffic in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, and more.
What does traffic data do for retailers making retail site selection decisions?
Really, in any consumer business, it’s important to know if there is enough activity on the road network to support that business. And you have to not just consider the traffic, but also the incidents that occur sometimes, like traffic accidents and road work. Users of INRIX data like SiteSeer subscribers want to understand what is happening around their locations.
So, traffic and volume data offer market intelligence.
Exactly. Users of our movement data can make smarter decisions so they can analyze how, when, and where prospective customers are going. The world’s smartest retailers rely on this data to select new retail sites and expand their footprints.
What sets your data apart?
The frequency of our data updates, the extent of our panels of data and our holistic approach to all things traffic. Our traffic data is updated frequently because of our mobile methodology—data comes from cell phone hits vs. rubber hoses across roads. We update all road segments regularly and have more road coverage than most. Our vehicle manufacturers signal us with data, and our latest statistic is that we have data on one in seven trips in the U.S. We have most major Departments of Transportation in the country as users, and they vet our data thoroughly. We earn our client relationships with the quality of our data.
What factors make traffic data more complex today?
Incidents and detours and those sorts of thing are more a part of everyday life now simply because much of the road network in the country is aging and not maintained as well as it should be. This obviously affects businesses because it might limit their geographic access to talent and ability to move goods and fill inventory as fast as they need to. So, if you’re a business, there are more hurdles than there used to be.
What’s a typical “use case” for INRIX traffic data that a SiteSeer user would understand?
Put simply, our data helps businesses choose sites that have a good amount of traffic flowing by on a daily basis. For most retailers, higher traffic is better obviously—assuming an intersection allows easy access to that retailer’s shopping center (meaning, it has good ingress and egress, doesn’t have problematic turn restrictions, etc.). For other retailers, this type of data helps them understand what kind of roads they would want to choose locations along. If you’re a hotel chain, that’s obviously different than a boutique clothing store. SiteSeer uses traffic counts in its models and scorecards to help clients eliminate locations where traffic is too low or too high, returning only locations that have the right trade area demographics as well as the right types of roadways.
With the pandemic, traffic has been impacted. What has your team seen in the data?
We’ve been releasing studies on this on our website that monitor activity as the country rebounds from COVID-19. We get asked often by the media about the return to normal traffic, but this is very nuanced. Traffic is back, but it isn’t the same as before the pandemic. The time of day that many are travelling has changed a lot. Morning commute travel is still down by 25%. Midday travel is at or above pre-COVID levels. And weekend travel is surging.
So, if you’re a bike shop or a restaurant or some other business, it’s so important for you to understand these traffic patterns to give you insight into different economies. INRIX gives businesses location-based insights so they can analyze and monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our cities and roadways (and of course, their businesses).
Anything else to add about INRIX data?
Like SiteSeer, we are big believers that data matters. Our mobility data from connected cars and personal devices feeds our dataset constantly, and that’s a big deal for traffic operations managers everywhere. One of our fundamental philosophies is to provide a greener earth through data. We provide data, but we can help cities optimize their traffic signals, which can contribute to a reduction of urban congestion and vehicle emissions from unnecessary idling.
Want to learn more about using INRIX data? Visit https://inrix.com. Want to take a short demo of the SiteSeer site selection platform? Contact our team.