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What Pedestrian Sensors can Tell us About Irma and Harvey

Posted by Stu Waters on Sep 11, 2017 5:28:54 PM
Stu Waters
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The 2017 hurricane season has put a few firsts into the history books.  According to Wikipedia, this year included the easternmost Category 5 Hurricane on record and the first-ever occurrence of two Category 4 hurricanes to hit the US in a single season - Harvey and Irma.

Hurricane_Irma_4-5_September_GOES_Floater_Rainbow_IR_view.gifBecause of the intensity of these storms local economies are facing completely new challenges. Prior to the storm, long lines at grocery stores and home improvement centers all over the south were common. Other businesses that rely on walk-in traffic like restaurants and retailers will feel the repercussions and effects of the storm for months to come.  

Our thoughts are with those that have been affected as many of our friends, clients, and family in Texas and Florida took on the full force of the storm. In calmer weather, our clients use our sensors to track trends in pedestrian and vehicle traffic in order to make confident decisions about their businesses and properties. But with the recent storms, our weatherized sensors have quantified the story of locals preparing for and evacuating from the storm and provided an inside look into how pedestrian behavior shifts around incoming storms.


Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, which affected Texas and much of the south, had citizens flocking to local grocery and home improvement stores to stock up on essentials in preparation.  Our sensors in Corpus Christi clearly show the activity before and during the storm.

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Here is an hour-by-hour comparison of traffic through the week of August 20th. The traffic is nearly is non-existent on Friday and Saturday while the eye passed through.

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And this is the the week prior. The traffic is nearly steady in preparation of the storm.

Hurricane Irma

In Florida, loss of power in many areas has caused sensors to stop collecting data however over a ⅓ of our sensors installed in the path of Hurricane Irma have maintained functionality through the peak of the storm. Despite the brutal weather, they are reporting metrics on traffic counts before, during, and after one of the largest storms Florida has ever experienced.

During Hurricane Irma

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The Month before Irma

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Data a few weeks apart.

As recovery efforts continue to develop, the data we provide will help retailers and restaurants track the effects the storm has on the local economy in greater detail. Business owners will be able to see month-over-month and year-over-year analyses on average traffic and prepare more fully in the future.


To participate in the recovery, please contact Red Cross Disaster Relief 

Tags: pedestrian Sensor


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