Thursday, May 28, 2020

Our travel data helping to inform decision making

By Bill Bennion

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced leaders to make unprecedented and extremely difficult decisions, balancing public health and safety with economic repercussions. Data is key to understanding how the virus spreads and how people are modifying their behavior in response. Since early March, we have provided a daily travel report to the Governor, the Legislature, health professionals and others. Interest in that daily report led us to develop the COVID-19 Multimodal Transportation System Performance Dashboard.
Dashboards provide critical information to inform decisions, as seen here at the
emergency operations center at Camp Murray.

The dashboard gives leaders, agencies, data analysts, and others interested in travel access to our data in a user-friendly format. The landing page provides an overview of travel behaviors on highways, tolled facilities, ferries, public transit, and passenger rail from March 1, 2020 through the previous day. Users can also dig further into mode-specific data using the buttons below the executive snapshot.

"WSDOT's real-time traffic and transit volume data have been critical to understanding how the movement of people within Washington state relates to local trends in transmission rates of COVID-19" said Dr. Roy Burstein, a research scientist with the Institute for Disease Modeling. "We've also used WSDOT data as 'ground-truth' to help verify other sources of mobility data derived from cell phone app users."