Setup & Help

Installing the Browser Plugin

Currently, only Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers for the Mac are supported.

The Seriality Plugin allows your web browser to communicate with the TrafficCOMputer.

  • Click here to download the plugin.
  • Double click 'TrafficCOM.dmg.zip' to unzip the file.
  • Double click 'TrafficCOM.dmg' to mount the disk.
  • Double click the TrafficCOM disk.
  • Drag and drop the 'Seriality.plugin' file into the 'Internet Plug-ins' folder.
  • Restart your browser.

  • Glossary

    Mode Switch
    Allows toggle between Automobile or Bicycle measurement Mode, by tuning the sensitivity of the sensor for more accurate counts. The switch is on the circuit board inside the TrafficCOM device.

    Data Uploader
    An online utility for accessing the data on the traffic count device, as well as resetting the device. Seamlessly uploads the data to the web and maps it in the TrafficCOM database.

    Reset
    Setting the count and timer to 0, and erasing the memory. Use the Data Uploader at http://trafficcom.org to Reset the device.

    On
    The 9V battery is connected

    Off
    The 9V battery is disconnected

    Power Cycle
    Disconnect and reconnect the 9V battery.

    TrafficCOMputer
    The TrafficCOM hardware device

    TrafficCOMmunity
    You, and everyone else who is contributing to gathering an open data set of traffic counts!

    TrafficCOM
    The integrated hardware and software solution for counting, mapping, and sharing traffic counts.


    Troubleshooting

    No cars or bikes are being sensed.
    First, power-cycle the device and make sure you have chosen the correct mode (either Automobiles or Bicycles). If the device starts up but will not increase its count when a bicycle or automobile strikes the tube, the tube may be punctured. You can purchase replacement tubes in the store.

    To change the tube, pull apart the tube at its connection point near the main body. Then re-attached with the new tube!

    Plan your Traffic Count

    Best Practices for Counting Traffic

    First, plan your deployment. Ask yourself "Why am I interested in the number of cars or bikes moving down a particular street?", "What will I do with the information after I gather it?", "Who are my partners or volunteers that can help me make changes to my street?", "How is this information adding to the data that already exists?", "Who can help deploy and log information from my measurement(s)?"

    Take Good Notes in the Field

    For each traffic count, log the following information:

  • Street Address or Intersection
  • Start Date and Time
  • Quantity of Traffic Lanes measured (1 or 2)
  • Traffic Direction (northbound, southbound, eastbound, or westbound)
  • Traffic Type (automobiles, bicycles, or both) and any additional notes, such as construction, weather conditions, or a special event happening
  • Be Careful

    Always look both ways and be careful around moving automobiles and bicycles in the street.


    Using the TrafficCOMputer

    Before beginning your count, check the 9V battery and reset the device using the Data Uploader Utility.

    1) Set the Mode using the Mode Switch

    For Batch 1 TrafficCOMputers, the Mode switch is on the white circuit board where it says 'MODE', but on the opposite side (underside).

    To toggle the switch, it is easiest to first detach the white circuit board from the main board. Disconnect the battery if it is attached, then carefully pull the two boards apart.

    Toggle the switch

    Then reconnect the boards. Be careful while re-inserting the pins into the main board.


    2) Place the Device and Tube

    Place the TrafficCOM device on the sidewalk or street curb. If the device is not locked into place or concealed, it may be taken, although during our experience this has never happened. If leaving the device unwatched, we suggest adding name and contact information onto the device.

    Lay the tube across the street lane(s) or bike lane(s) to be measured. Using duct tape, secure the tube to the pavement in a few spots to prevent movement of the tube over hours of measurement.

    It is advised that the device is only used to measure 1 - 2 lanes of traffic going in one direction. To simultaneously measure traffic headed in 2 directions, 2 devices are required.

    Note: If the tube is longer than the lane(s) you intend to measure, coil-up the extra tube on the far end of the tube for best results.

    Important: Make sure there are no kinks, knots, or folds in the tube, as they will prevent detection of vehicles and bikes along the entire length of the tube.

    Tip: If the device is missing readings, check your Mode. If it is still missing counts and you have length of tube to spare, try folding the tube back on itself (making the tube 'doubled-up' on itself). Maintain a tight bundle of the tubes so that they act as 'one tube'. Maintain a curve at the bend point to avoid a kink in the tube.

    Note: The max count is 9999 vehicles. In the current model, it stores the 'raw' data for the first 500 counts (raw data is the count, the minute, and the speed). The device uses all counts (up to the limit of 9999) to create the total tally, average speed, and average rate shown in the Results.

    Note: The supplied 9V battery will last between 16-24 hours of operation. Other options for powering the device include:

  • 1) A rechargeable 9V battery of your own.
  • 2) A 9V or 12V wall adapter like this one.
  • 3) The included USB cable connected to your computer or some other USB power source like this one.

  • 3) Startup the Device

    Connect the 9V battery to the circuit board. The device will power-up and the current Mode will scroll across the display (either 'Autos' or 'Bicycles'). Then, the count will show on the display. If this is your first time using the device, or if it has just been reset, the count should show '0'. If the count is not '0', and you want it to be, use the Data Uploader on the TrafficCOM website to reset the device. You don't have to upload any data in order to reset it.

    Important: the pressure sensor calibrates itself each time you power it on. This means it does a reading of the tube pressure and uses this pressure as the baseline for further measurements. Therefore, make sure there are no wheels or feet pressing the tube at the time of powering on, or else the device will not work properly. If you are having trouble with the device, power cycle the device.

    Note: Disconnecting and reconnecting the battery will preserve the current count and time. When the battery is reconnected, the count and timer will pickup from where they left off.

    Important: When the 9V battery is tucked under the main circuit board, make sure the plastic side of the battery holder is touching the circuit board, NOT the battery. The battery's metal will cause a short-circuit if it touches the underside of the main board.


    4) Counting Traffic

    When the first count happens, the counter will display '1', and count up from there. At this time, the timer also begins.

    Important: Understand that there is a timer that keeps track of the minutes elapsed since your first count. This timer runs while the device is powered on and is later used to calculate the average traffic rate. Therefore, only have the device on while it is intended to measure traffic.

    Upload the data and reset the device using the Data Uploader before/after each traffic count location. It is not recommended to move the device to a completely new location without first resetting the device, as there is no way to split-up counts based on different locations during the upload process.


    5) Uploading the Data

    A 9V battery is not necessary when connecting to your computer. The TrafficCOM device is powered over USB. Having both the 9V battery and the USB cable connected at the same time is also OK.

    Connect the device to your computer and launch your web browser.

    Note: At this time, the Data Uploader only works with Firefox and Safari browsers on Mac computers. We're working on adding more support!

    Go to http://trafficcom.org/uploader. Click 'Connect' Your computer will initiate a connection with your TrafficCOM. The process will take 5-20 seconds as it scans the serial ports of your computer looking for the TrafficCOM. Once your computer has detected and connected to the TrafficCOM, the TrafficCom will scroll 'Connected' on the display, and you will be able to View Results, View Raw Data, or Reset the Device.

    View Raw Data
    The device stores the 'raw' data for the first 500 counts. This will print a table of the raw Count (#), Time (min.), and Speed (mi/h) of every reading up to the first 500 readings. You can then copy/paste this data into a spreadsheet program of your choice for further analysis. A sample of the data can be downloaded here (right-click, Save As). Note: the device uses all counts (up to the limit of 9999) to create the total tally, average speed, and average rate shown in the Results.

    While showing the Raw Data, and with the device still connected via USB cable, you can view live data from the TrafficCOM device, including raw pressure reading, speed calculation, and count for each reading.

    Reset Device
    Erases the device memory and sets the count to 0. After resetting, the device will show '0' on the display.

    View Results
    Brings you to a page where your results are displayed: Total Count (volume), average Rate (count/hour), average Speed (miles/hour), and Duration (minutes)

    Fillout the Context Report (required) and User Report (optional), then hit Submit to commit your data. A descriptive address is critical to having meaningful values on the map. For example 'New York, NY' is not as good as 'Broadway at 23rd Street, New York, NY'.

    If you notice a problem with the mapped data, please let us know so we can maintain and build an accurate database of traffic counts.


    Have suggestions for making this Wiki better? Let us know in an email to info@trafficcom.org. Thank you! Now on with counting!