Samsara City Insights: A New Data Resource for Government Leaders

September 15, 2020

At Samsara, we’re on a mission to bring the benefits of data to the operations that power our economy. For many leaders, collecting data from their own operations is just one part of the equation. Today, 46% of organizations are using external data sources to detect industry trends and get insights to drive efficiency, earn more revenue, and inform long-term planning decisions.

The importance of accessing external, open data is especially evident in the public sector. Government leaders are increasingly turning to smart city technology to understand the needs of its citizens. But data generated by smart city technology is often siloed, making it difficult to gain proper insights to inform initiatives serving your citizens, the environment, and public safety.

That’s why we’re excited to introduce Samsara City Insights, a free resource for government leaders to access and explore commercial mobility trends within their cities.

How City Insights works

As Samsara has grown over the past few years, so has the scale, volume, and complexity of our data. Our IoT platform gathers 1.6 trillion sensor data points from over half a million vehicles on a yearly basis (that’s 3 million data points per minute). This data touches every aspect of our fleets’ operations—from vehicle speeds and miles driven to fuel efficiency, engine idling, harsh braking, distracted driving, and much more. 

City Insights aggregates and anonymizes data from over 15,000 fleets. We chose to focus specifically on making it easy to explore data for harsh events and vehicle speeds. Why? The National Safety Council estimates that there are over 38,000 motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. each year. A growing number of cities—including our customers at the City of Fort Lauderdale and City of Boston—have established Vision Zero initiatives to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities. City Insights gives you additional context about commercial mobility within your city, so you can make better-informed decisions about your own safety initiatives.        

Explore commercial mobility data

From speaking with our customers, it’s evident that cities use a wide range of tools to analyze data. City Insights gives you the flexibility to access data in a variety of ways. You can explore our visualizations directly in a web browser, or you can download raw data to incorporate into your own systems. 

Within our browser, you can interact with data in two main ways:

  • Street level: This view helps you identify hotspots for unsafe driving behavior. Are vehicles traveling at reasonable speeds along arterial highways? Could streets with a high occurrence of harsh braking events benefit from clearer signage? We’ve linked every segment to Google Street View, so you can remotely explore streets of interest without leaving your desk. 

  • Neighborhood: Just as you can identify patterns for each street, you can identify patterns for each neighborhood in your city. Do certain neighborhoods have a higher occurrence of harsh events? Businesses in those areas could be good candidates for educational outreach programs around safe driving best practices.

We’ve also made it easy to download our data and layer it on top of your own. Just select your city, the type of metric you need, and whether you’d like to see data by street or by neighborhood. You can analyze our mobility data with your own tools to get detailed insights. For example, layer data on top of accident reports to corroborate the location of hazard zones, or cross-reference harsh event hotspots with KSI (killed or seriously injured) data. 

Want to learn more?

At Samsara we believe in the power of data, and will continue to invest in tools that help public sector leaders access the external datasets they need to make informed decisions about their operations. 

If you’re interested in providing feedback about City Insights, reach out to data@samsara.com. We’d love to hear from you. And if you’d like to get access to trends as soon as they're released, subscribe to Samsara Data Insights and we’ll send new reports directly to your inbox.


Methodology

  • Street Level: Data is standardized based on road segments that the US Geological Survey defines in its National Transportation Dataset

  • Neighborhood: Areas are determined based on neighborhood geographies published by each city. 

  • Harsh Events: The relative density of harsh events for a given road segment or neighborhood. Density is calculated as the total number of harsh events (harsh driving behavior + crashes) on a road or neighborhood divided by the total number of vehicles that have driven in that area. Roads and neighborhoods are ranked and the percentile ranking is displayed on the map. 

  • Speed: The expected speed in a given neighborhood or road segment. This helps you understand a street’s typical flow without the need for radar street signs. Expected speed is not a simple average, as values can be skewed by vehicles stopping at a traffic light or stop sign. Instead, we take the most frequently observed speeds grouped into 5 MPH buckets.

  • In order to respect customer privacy, we only show data for streets and regions that have a minimum amount of driving information. Areas with low/no commercial traffic are excluded from this analysis, in order to both protect customer privacy and display statistically meaningful data. 

  • The City Insights dataset currently encompasses 6 U.S. cities (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York), with plans to add more soon.

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