July 22


TurnCount App Review

By Mike Spack

July 22, 2010

Traffic Counting Turning Movement Count TurnCount

TurnCount 001 A few weeks ago I wrote about TrafData's new iPhone/iPad turning movement count app (here).  We bought our iPhones and have been testing out TurnCount.  The short review – it works and is significantly cheaper than the count boards currently on the market.  If I was starting my company from scratch, I'd purchase iPod Touch's and put this app on them instead of buying count boards that cost two to five times this new solution.

Some of my issues:

  1. The software only does turning movement counts.  Some of our Jamar count boards can be used for other types of data collection such as gap studies, saturation flow rates, etc.  This isn't a huge issue for us – roughly 99.95% of our manual data collection is turning movement counts.
  2. You double tap when you want a movement to be tallied as a heavy vehicle.  We inadvertently did this when we didn't mean too.  I'd like to be able to toggle this feature off because we don't collect heavy vehicle data with most of our counts.
  3. The "end" count button is in the middle of the screen and works with a single push.  We'd like a longer duration on this button (i.e. you have to hold it down for five seconds) because we accidentally stopped our counts a couple of times.
  4. The time/power bar on the iPhone (on the right side of the above picture) slightly gets in the way of counting on the leg of the intersection where it's located.

Gary Shoup with TrafData
has been very responsive to my questions.  He also let me know about a couple of issues they've run into with their testing:

  1. An iPad overheated in 90 degree weather before a three hour count
    could be completed.
  2. A 2nd generation iPod Touch with 8 gb of storage locked up with
    about 5,300 data events in it.

The great thing about TurnCount is that it's software and Gary is already working on several of these issues.  I believe my four issues above will be dealt with in later versions of the software.  There may be some hardware issues (i.e. overheating) that will need to be compensated for, but I've had count boards break on me too.

We're fans of the Hyper Interface where you make a swiping motion on the screen with your thumbs.  This works great on our iPhones.  I'm not sure the larger iPad would be an improvement.  It's easy to hold the iPhone/iPod Touch in your hands.

This is a great product for our industry.  I hope you'll go out and buy it so TrafData makes some money.  I want them to keep improving the app.  Hats off to Gary and TrafData! 

  • Mike,
    This probably doesn’t have anything to do with the topic at hand, but I wanted to say WOW!!! Neat blog. Lots of cool info here. I will come back regularly.

  • I just downloaded the APP yesterday on my way out to conduct a count and though I would test it. I did have some of the same issues that you mentioned.. ie, heavy traffic (multiple lanes) requires some pretty quick clicking and it registered as trucks several times rather than two cars. I too, do not really need the heavy vehicles to be identified, so a “toggle” would be nice that would turn this feature off. Additionally, their seems to be a bit of a delay between the time that I click the button and the time that I hear the audible “click”, sometimes when I was trying to “catch up” to some heavy traffic, this delay messed up my “cadence” and made it a little awkward. Also, as I was watching traffic and clicking away on the “thru” move, I inadvertently began clicking on one of the turn move buttons… as I was not looking down at my iPhone until I was ready to purposely select a turn move… I think it would be nice to hear a distinctive “beep” or other sound for right/left turns, so I would know immediately that my finger was clicking on the wrong button.
    All in all, I think this could be a very cool and useful tool for my business and would love to see how it improves with future updates. I hope you accept my comments as “user” information that might prove useful for consideration in future releases. By the way, how can I be notified when a new release is available?

  • Hi, thanks for the review, which answers some of questions. Do you know how many counts it store before you have to dump? Also, I would like to see that it will produce sounds like thru, left, or right, instead of a beep. When conducting traffic count, one would normally looking at the intersection instead of the board.

  • I had the idea to create an app like this while recently doing some counts. Looks like someone beat me to it! It’s a great idea, but I do wonder how well it would function in actual use. With the Jmar, I usually position my fingers on the buttons, and keep my eyes on the intersection. With the touch screen, do you find it necessary to constantly look at the screen to make sure you’re still counting okay?

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    Mike Spack

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