Case Study – City of Charlotte Collects 1500 Hours of Turning Movement Counts with Only One Staff Member

city of charlotte logoThe City of Charlotte simplified their complex data collection with Miovision’s automated technology. One staff member easily collected hundreds of hours of turning movement counts during their three month counting period.


The City of Charlotte is the largest metropolitan area in North Carolina and home to over 1.7 million people. The city collects turning movement counts full time between September and May, with additional counts happening throughout the summer in areas not affected by school traffic. Charlotte’s core count program consists of 8-10 turning movement counts per week, totaling approximately 250 counts per year.


The City of Charlotte faced a growing backlog of traffic studies due to a high demand for data collection, but limited resources to complete the work. The backlog could mostly be attributed to the challenges of collecting data in urban settings. Factors such as heavy vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian volumes at complex intersections made it extremely difficult for manual counters to accurately capture multi-modal turning movements, necessitated multiple staff or multiple days per count site with only volume data collected.


The City of Charlotte encountered problems when attempting to count high-volume, urban locations. Multiple manual counters were required for many locations, and counters were limited to collecting volume data only. To meet demand, the city was forced to outsource a portion of their data collection.

Inadequate internal resources also caused the secondary problem of leaving no remaining resources to complete notable outstanding counts such as weekend counts, holiday counts, and post project counts.

Finally, dense urban locations lack the space for the manual counter’s parked car. As a result, Center City locations were counted less frequently than preferred.


"Miovision has contributed to productivity in CDOT by increasing accuracy and reducing the time and costs associated with manual counting."

 Johanna Quinn, P. E. Charlotte Department of Transportation, City of Charlotte 

The City of Charlotte chose to supplement their count program with four of Miovision’s Video Collection Units, facilitating up to four simultaneous studies. The addition of a Power Pack with each Video Collection Unit eliminated re-charge downtime during the week.

Charlotte’s equipment inventory provides them with the tools needed to overcome their challenges and see an increase in productivity due to the time saved.

Automating traffic data collection with Miovision helped to minimize the time and resources required to collect a data rich Turning Movement Count.

The city is able to gain efficiency and produce more robust data in the following ways:

  • Extending the 25’ camera mast gives a bird’s eye view of the intersection, enabling the enumeration of all movements from an intersection at once, rather than from multiple street-level vantage points. Miovision data includes all vehicle classifications, bicycles and pedestrians.
  • Average accuracy of the data collected is 95% across all classifications, providing more data at or exceeding the quality of manual counting.

By gaining productivity, reducing outsourcing costs, and shrinking the backlog of counts, the city is able to:

  • Collect turning movement counts and pedestrian counts at supplementary intersections that could not previously be studied due to lack of resources. Studies include unsignalized intersections with unique movements and high volume pedestrian locations.
  • Collect counts on weekends, holidays and during events using the Video Collection Unit scheduling feature to set-up during the work day and record on a later date and/or time.
  • Accurately measure improvements made to each intersection by conducting post-project counts, something not previously feasible with internal resources.

Finally, the city uses Miovision to count urban intersections where space for manual counters is limited. Automating data collection with Miovision eliminated the need to park a manual counter in a car at each count site.

The non-intrusive Video Collection Units do not disrupt vehicular or pedestrian traffic flow, or driver behavior, like a parked car or manual counter may. This results in more representative data.

Miovision’s portable Video Collection Units are easy to deploy in less than 10 minutes at ground level on the side of the road, keeping employees off of the roadway and away from danger.

Table 1: Comparison of Charlotte’s Traffic Data Collection Capabilities

Manual Count Miovision’s Automated Count
TMC Volume and Classifications yes yes
Pedestrian and Bicycle Counts yes
Schedule Deferred Counts yes
Standardized Accuracy yes
Audit Trail yes


Productivity through simplicity is how the City of Charlotte benefited from adopting Miovision as their Turning Movement Count collection tool of choice. Through using Miovision, the city was able to:
  • Eliminate the backlog of counts and produce better data with existing resources
  • Significantly lessen staff time required to complete the annual data collection program
  • Add studies to their count program and gather needed insight at new locations
  • Get new insight into intersections by viewing a video record alongside the data reports

The City of Charlotte simplified their traffic data collection process and deepened their database of studies with Miovision. Using Miovision’s automated data collection technology, the city eliminated their traffic study backlog and collected more data more efficiently than their existing methods, saving time and labor.