Transforming traffic data

A guide to turning traffic data into business decisions

1. What is traffic data?

Physical businesses and residential projects require up-to-date information about traffic patterns and footfall around a specific location to make key strategic and planning decisions.

This basic information is known as traffic data.

Traffic volume data is normally an annual average daily count of traffic, collected across specific countries and gleaned from global market studies. Whilst this information is often available for free from local departments of transport, it can be out of date and delivered in inconsistent formats and patchy coverage. Using freely available data, therefore, can be incredibly difficult to analyze across multiple locations or datasets.

Instead, businesses like fuel retailers, real estate agents, and convenience stores often seek the help of a traffic data supplier like Kalibrate to provide this raw information. This ensures traffic data is consistent, fit for purpose, and supplied in easy to analyze formats that drive key insights and guide decision-making.

Find out more about the power of traffic data and the impact it can have on your business in this blog

2. What is the right type of traffic data to use?

When a business decides to source traffic data, it’s essential this information is up-to-date, clean, and standardized across the locations under consideration. Unfortunately, there isn’t one universal traffic count format currently deployed; each agency publishes their traffic count studies in differing formats. 

When deciding the right type of traffic data to use, you should speak to the data supplier. A good third party traffic data supplier will do the hard work of translating the thousands of file types, formats, rows, columns, and curve balls into one standardized database. 

The result? A guarantee that you can immediately start using the information to make better business decisions.

What are the primary count categories?

There are two primary categories of traffic volume data: ADT and AADT. 

Average daily traffic (ADT) 

This is the 24-hour average daily traffic. The total traffic volume during a given time period (more than a day and less than a year) divided by the number of days in that time period. 

Average annual daily traffic (AADT) 

This is the 24-hour average daily traffic (ADT) to which factors (seasonal, monthly, daily) have been applied.

What types of traffic data files can you expect?

Traffic volume data is usually available in standard GIS file formats including: 

SHP Popular GIS file format

DBF Standard database file

CSV Comma separated values file compatible with MS Excel

TAB MapInfo file (common GIS file)

PDF Map image

See example visualization below:


Kalibrate’s TrafficMetrix® is the most complete, commercially available global traffic count database. Read more about the value of traffic data in the TrafficMetrix® ebook.

3. What to look for in a traffic data supplier

As with any third party data supplier, not all data is created equal. 

Unfortunately, some data suppliers give the entire industry a bad name. For a quick rule of thumb—if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. For example, many traffic data organizations organizations do not update their traffic count data on a regular basis to keep it current.

Other agencies may update only portions of data annually, whilst others could go years between updates. 

If all you are looking for is a single traffic count in front of your location, you can usually obtain that traffic count for free from your local government agency’s website. If you want to see trends and gather actionable insights over a more complex period of time, however, its advised to seek the assistance from a trusted traffic data supplier.

Kalibrate’s TrafficMetrix® is the most comprehensive database of traffic counts, globally. It gives you a deep understanding of local markets, so you can enhance your planning decisions. Request a free sample of Kalibrate’s current, complete, and accurate traffic data counts.

Here are some key questions to ask your traffic data supplier:

  1. Where do you source your data from?
  2. How often is it updated?
  3. What format is it provided in?
  4. Do you provide a free sample data set in advance?

Kalibrate’s traffic counts database is published quarterly and included in a global database of over five million traffic counts.

To read more about the standards to expect from your traffic data supplier in our blog: All retailers need better traffic count data.

4. When to use traffic data

Traffic data collection has a number of key use cases, but it is best used when analyzing the feasibility of a new business location.

For example, when making strategic decisions, do you know:

  1. The percentage of traffic that pulls off the road? 
  2. The impact of proposed infrastructure such as traffic lights and junctions?
  3. The impact of potential major construction, such as building a new bypass?

"Planning a new site build takes good gut instinct, and that means instinct that’s well informed with data-driven scenarios”

Anila Siraj, Managing Director, Kalibrate Insights

First, let’s consider the absence of traffic data. For example, if you were considering the acquisition of two separate businesses and were not aware that one location saw traffic continuously, whilst the other only experienced high traffic for one hour of the day, it would be easy to make a poor investment.

What’s more, if you already owned these locations, it would be challenging to make the right operational decisions on opening hours, stock, and staffing levels without that key traffic information.

Understanding the flow of vehicles passing by any prospective site is critical to success; those vehicles all represent potential customers. 

The most popular uses for traffic data include:  

  • Convenience stores selection modeling
  • Commercial real estate brokers marketing their property 
  • Restaurants for expansion planning 
  • Technology companies modeling consumer behavior 
  • Planned residential communities 
  • Government planning education institutions

For in-depth information about harnessing traffic insights to make better business decisions and ensure the feasibility of your new site, read our blog: Building in new site success.

5. Is traffic data just for fuel and convenience retail?

While traffic count data is an essential piece of the puzzle for fuel retailers looking to invest in a new location for a site build, many other businesses can benefit from this information

For example:

  • A commercial real estate company can use traffic count data for marketing properties 
  • A tech company can integrate traffic data into its platform to model consumer behavior

Regardless of what products or services they sell, retailers with access to detailed, accurate traffic counts can achieve various business goals.

From Global Fortune 100 companies to small businesses, governments, and educational institutions, Kalibrate’s TrafficMetrix® is a critical component to strategy planning and tactical execution.

Companies of all sizes and from many industries should utilize traffic data to answer a number of business questions. For example, Kalibrate has provided traffic data to: 

  • Real estate and construction outfits
  • Out of home advertisers
  • Network planners
  • Coffee shops
  • Cell phone companies
  • Transportation companies
  • Grocery stores
  • Budget stores
  • Hotel chains
  • Retail restaurant chains
  • Financial institutions
  • Signage providers

Kalibrate’s biggest clients use traffic volume data for demand-based modeling, and as a useful supplemental dataset to any existing data they already have.

Any business that needs a strategic understanding of traffic flow trends around an identified location, can find value in TrafficMetrix®.

Find out more about the importance of data insights for businesses in our blog: Big data in the convenience retail industry.

6. Converting traffic data into actions

We’ve established that traffic data can be gathered from a number of official bodies or third party agencies.

Free data, however, is rarely fit for purpose. Data from a questionable agency, meanwhile, may be cheap but perhaps out of date. In order to turn traffic data into key actionable insights, you need clean, versatile information from a reputable provider.

TrafficMetrix® provides retailers and other businesses with a deep understanding of local markets, so they can enhance their strategic planning decisions. Request a free sample of Kalibrate’s traffic data to see it for yourself.

There are three types of retailers: 

  1. Those who do not collect or use traffic data
  2. Those who collect traffic data, but poorly
  3. Those that collect traffic volume data with an eye on strategy

First, let's assume a retailer is interested in collecting information about traffic in order to sharpen it’s strategic planning. The second type of retailer, most likely using free data, will soon come across roadblocks with integrating this data and struggle to convert it into the correct format. It is almost impossible to take decisive, strategic action from lines of disparate data. In this scenario, the retailer is likely to receive poor insights at best, give up entirely at worst.

The third type of retailer has invested in accurate, up-to-date traffic data from a trusted third party like Kalibrate. This retailer can gain access to raw information that's easy to use and versatile. In this scenario, traffic data becomes core to the business’ decision-making process. 

This business is much more likely to make informed strategic decisions by incorporating traffic data and achieve a higher ROI on its retail sites.

Kalibrate is home to the largest verified global data set of traffic data, fuel, and convenience retail intelligence in the world. See how to use, import, and visualize traffic data in this short video: