Continuous Tracking: Exploring the Long-Term Value of Bluetooth

This paper explores the value of continuous tracking of Bluetooth devices in a densely populated urban area. Over 80 Bluetooth Media Access Control Scanner (BMS) devices were installed in 2015 in the central portion of Montreal, the Port of Montreal, and part of the city’s downtown core, and have been detecting devices since. The resulting database contains over 85 million observations emanating from 1.3 million Bluetooth devices over 640 days. To the author’s knowledge, no such wide-ranging data set as been analyzed. With the methodology described in this paper, over 17 million trips were found (approx. 26 thousand per day), with travel-time, travel-distance and origin-destination pairs generally corresponding to expected results. Moreover, the median of the distribution of BT devices per trip shows that trips span over a few detection devices and are not tracked exhaustively over the network. However, extreme values are an important part of the presented distributions. Further investigation is necessary to understand the underlying generating events which are not easily identified without additional information. Finally, this paper explores speed distributions of trips and showed that different families of distributions could point towards different modes of vehicular trips, even multi-modal trips.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABJ50 Standing Committee on Information Systems and Technology.
  • Authors:
    • Bélisle, Francois
    • Saunier, Nicolas
    • Audet, Olivier
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 19p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01659601
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-05475
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2018 9:41AM