One of the most persistent problems faced by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (the Authority) is that of handling a growing collection of counts. Traffic, pedestrian and bicycle counts have been collected by staff, consultants and sister agencies for numerous planning studies at various locations in San Francisco over the years. But how should these counts be organized? Some are in Excel workbooks of varying and spontaneous formats, others consist of scanned handwritten documents, and finally some are on (gasp!) paper.
Since the modeling team at the Authority has a continuous need for these counts in order to calibrate and validate the travel demand model as well as to inform model development, these counts have come under the team’s purview. After a couple of failed attempts to standardize Excel formats and directory structures, the modeling team decided to modernized its counts management system. The Authority first explored proprietary software products, but found them either too expensive, cumbersome, or inflexible. Instead, Authority staff embarked on developing Count Dracula, an open source counts management tool. Count Dracula’s aim is to make uploading, downloading and querying counts easy for Authority staff as well as other interested parties outside the organization. The Count Dracula code base has been designed to be reusable by other agencies with similar needs, and it’s built on GeoDjango, a geographic web framework.
Count Dracula includes a web-based map GUI for visualizing where counts are located (and where more counts are needed), and it includes a query interface so that specific types of counts can be batch-downloaded (for example, midweek counts from the last three years). As it was developed by a modeling team, there is a specific emphasis on counts seamlessly interfacing with model transportation networks. Counts can also be uploaded using this interface, and moderated through an admin interface. This presentation will explain the development of Count Dracula and convince everyone attending to download it and dive in.