July 1


Turn Count App for iPhone/iPad – Count Board Killer?

By Mike Spack

July 1, 2010

Turning Movement Count Turn Count App iPhone for Counting Cars iPad for Counting Cars Traffic Data Collection Technology

TrafDataApp Since the idea of Apple's iPad was announced, I thought it could be used to replace a Jamar Count Board.  I even emailed a few companies who had tally counter apps for the iPhone to see if they had any interest in working with me to develop an App that would replicate the count board.  Those emails went nowhere.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email this week from Gary Shoup of TrafData letting me know about his Turn Count App.  He stole my idea!  Actually, he had the same idea but he's added a bunch of features which appear to greatly improve the old fashioned count board. 

  • It will automatically tie gps coordinates to your data. 
  • Instead of downloading, it just emails you the data file (and your customer if you want) when you push end. 
  • It configures for tee intersections, removing the unnecessary buttons. 
  • It counts trucks with a simple double tap.
  • You can count pedestrians going in both directions in a crossing.
  • Most impressively, he's developed an alternative to the push button.  In Hyper Interface mode, you use a sliding motion to mimic the cars. 

I think the Hyper Interface could be amazing.  But really, this is going to kill the traditional count board because it replaces an expensive count board ($1000+ for Jamar, $400+ for MicroTally) for $39.99.  Of course you need a $199 iPhone or $499 iPad.  Darn – it's way cheaper, more features, and the device is multi-purpose.

This forced me to make the painful decision to order an iPhone 4g so I can test out the App.  I'll let you know how it works.  I'm sure Turn Count will have a bug or two, but thislooks like the future (of course this could all be supplanted by automated video data collection – see Miovision, but I think we're a few years away from that due to the pricing models).

In the meantime, check out Gary's video about Turn Count –

  • The software works on the iPod touch also. I actually configured it to work optimally with a device the size of the iPod touch and iPhone. While it works on the iPad, I need to design a better user interface. I have several ideas on how to improve it.
    All and any suggestions on the software are welcome. You can send comments through the support page on my website at http://www.trafdata.com

  • Is this app designed to work in canada aswell? I am interested in doing a school project on this app.

  • Mike,
    Have you had a chance to use this APP? We are considering going this route but I heard you need to look down to ensure you are hitting the correct count and you can’t count multiple movements at once (for large volume movements) like you can on the JAMAR boards. Any additional information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for the great blog!

  • I have the same question as Amy above… I was doing a heavy volume location the other day and could not have looked down at the board to press buttons. I was going by feel only knowing the layout- this would be an issue on the ipad?

  • Beth –
    You made me realize I answered Amy via email. Oops. Here’s my response.
    The app works. BUT we didn’t think we were able to do accurate counts with it because it doesn’t have the tactile buttons like the Jamar count board. With the tactile buttons, counting becomes like typing and you don’t have to look at your hands/keyboard. With the flat screen, we kept having to look at our hands which makes it difficult to count a busy intersection.
    I’ve heard this concern from several people. If there are folks successfully using the app out there – I’d love to here from them.

  • we successfully use it for intersection counts, but if it is a very busy intersection then we’ll either make it a two person count or count half one day and half another day. For the busiest of intersections we’ll send it to a vendor who uses the jamar equipment.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

    Get these blog posts sent to your email! Sign up below.