Transportation researchers are asking the public for help this weekend in studying post-Sandy traffic patterns in New York City. Anyone with a smart phone can collect traffic data on Saturday, anywhere in Manhattan, using an application developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The researchers will analyze the data to learn about how traffic is affected by major disasters as part of the TrafficTurk project.

Researchers are hoping TrafficTurk can provide valuable, real-time information to police, emergency personnel, and the public, with the goal of helping traffic flow more smoothly during major events.

The University of Illinois team and transportation researchers from Columbia are collecting data in Times Square Friday afternoon, November 3.  On Saturday, November 4, they will compile and analyze the data provided by volunteer members of the public.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Dan Work, Assistant Professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • DATES: Friday, November 2, 2012 - Saturday, November 3, 2012
  • LOCATION: - New York City
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Visit the TraffiTurk Web site. Additional information and a volunteer form can be found here.

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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