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Antenna Characterization for Bluetooth-based Travel Time Data Collection

TitleAntenna Characterization for Bluetooth-based Travel Time Data Collection
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPorter, D. J., D S. Kim, M. E. Magana, P. Poocharoen, and C A. Gutierrez Arriaga
Conference Name Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Meeting
Date Published01/2011
Conference LocationWashington, D.C.

Several approaches for travel time estimation based on the collection of time-stamped media access control (MAC) addresses from Bluetooth-enabled devices have been reported in the literature in recent years. This new approach to collect travel time data offers a number of advantages over more conventional methods, including lower costs of hardware and software, the volume of data that can be collected over time, and ease of implementation. The latter advantage makes this data collection method suitable for quick temporary or permanent deployment along different types of travel corridors, including interstate highways, freeways, and other principal and minor arterial systems. There are several factors that may affect the quantity and the quality of the travel time data collected with a Bluetooth-based system. These factors may be associated with the firmware/software implementation or with the hardware components used (e.g., the type of Bluetooth chipset). A fundamental component in the latter category is antenna type. Antenna characteristics such as polarization and gain must be matched to specific application environments to optimize the performance of a Bluetooth reader unit. In this paper, six different types of antennas were characterized to assess their suitability to support a Bluetooth-based travel time data collection system. The results indicate that the quantity and the quality (e.g., percentage of duplicates) of the MAC addresses read with each antenna type are different when compared to traffic volumes collected over the same time period via inductive loop detectors.