By Mike Spack, PE, PTOE
A unique aspect of CountingCars.com compared to our competitors is that we are traffic engineers and data collectors. Not only do we listen to our customers as any good company should, but we are our best customer preparing hundreds of engineering studies and collecting tens of thousands of hours of data a year. Based on this in depth knowledge, we recently teamed up with the folks at Tomorrow Lab to bring you the industry’s most advanced road tube counter, wayCOUNT.
Innovative Technology Partner
We knew what the 21st-century tube counter device and ecosystem should look like, but we are not computer programmers, app developers, electrical engineers, and hardware designers. We were drawn to Tomorrow Lab to bring our concept to reality because they have a record of successfully designing our type of product. Together, we’re bringing the Internet of Things to traffic counting.
Tomorrow Lab works with companies big and small to invent new products. Their talented engineers choose to work on 8 to 10 projects each year. Limiting the number of projects they develop allows their team to focus on prototyping new hardware. They openly admit they are obsessive prototypers! We were further impressed by their three-phase product development process, which includes extensive testing and refinement. With a proven track record of creative solutions, we knew we would be in good hands.
If we had to pick one word to describe the typical road tube traffic counter, it would be archaic. Bulky, obtrusive, and expensive counters with limited capabilities were the norm in the traffic engineering industry until wayCOUNT arrived. With the development of wayCOUNT, CountingCars has revolutionized traffic counting systems and pioneered a new standard for equipment and capabilities.
A New Design
The wayCOUNT was engineered to meet industry-wide standards for accuracy, with enhanced phone/tablet app control, automated report generation in the “cloud,” and a small footprint. The new small, light-weight footprint is made from rugged material to handle the most extreme elements. The wireless connectivity, cloud-based storage capabilities, and long-lasting, replaceable battery make wayCOUNT the most innovative road tube counter on the market and the last road tube counter you’ll ever need.
The process for creating wayCOUNT began with the core sensors. wayCOUNT works like any other traffic counter in this sense:
- You install tubes on the road.
- You plug the tubes into the device.
- The device records the air pulses generated in the tubes as vehicles drive over the tubes.
We went with industry standard piezo sensors to convert the air pulse into an electronic signal which we then convert to vehicle volume, speed and classification data with computer algorithms. An interesting part of the design process was Tomorrow Lab 3-D printing different housings for the piezo sensors and barged host fittings.
To house the piezo package, battery, and circuit board for the wayCOUNT, Tomorrow Lab set out designing an enclosure to include some performance requirements to consider. The housing had to be:
We wanted the product to look “tough,” but we also wanted it to be inconspicuous enough that it would go largely unnoticed by passing motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We drew design inspiration from a wide variety of sources, from cell phone cases to storm troopers’ costumes. We ultimately decided on a design that consisted of a two-part shell with an internal gasket. The inner gasket design ensures water-tightness, while an outer silicon ‘boot’ provides protection for the casing as well as functional grip and durability. Here are a few photos that inspired the look and feel of the wayCOUNT –
Here are photos of prototypes –
The final component in the making of wayCOUNT is the wayCOUNT mobile app for programming the device and transmitting the raw data as well as the website for housing the data and converting it to traffic data reports. We enlisted the help of The Office for Visual Affairs’ designers and Vuzum developers for this.
The wayCOUNT app, a first of its kind in the industry, is a useful tool that allows users to retrieve and upload data from the device using Bluetooth connectivity. Data is stored in the Cloud and easily accessed via the website, where users can analyze their data, as well as others. With this data, users can create reports that include per-vehicle records, speed, volume, and classification information.
At CountingCars, we’re passionate about delivering accurate, reliable products that continually challenge and raise the standards of the traffic counting industry. Through the effective partnership with Tomorrow Lab, cutting-edge innovation, and durability-focused design, we’re confident that wayCOUNT is going to revolutionize traffic data collection for years to come. We believe so strongly in our products that we offer the industry’s only full-replacement warranty and money back guarantee. If your wayCOUNT has a manufacturer defect in the first 90-days of use, we will replace it with a new unit. And you have 90-days to return the wayCOUNT for a full refund if it doesn’t perform as promised.