Connected Traffic Counting
Connected Traffic Counting

WayCount ® is a platform for collecting and sharing accurate automobile and bicycle traffic counting data. By sharing traffic data online, we aim to positively influence transportation design decisions and create better cities.

Using the WayCount app, you can use your mobile device to setup a WayCount device for a traffic study, then later upload that data to the cloud, and use the WayCount.com website to access and manage your data.

The beauty of WayCount is that it is engineered to meet industry-standard accuracy, while blowing away the often bulky or expensive traffic counting competition with its digital platform and bluetooth connectivity. WayCount is designed for federal and state DOTs, transportation advocacy groups, business owners, and concerned citizens alike. WayCount is now available for purchase at CountingCars.com.

3 Phase Product Development
Product Strategy
Industrial Design
Product Architecture
Mechanical Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Firmware & Software Development


Establishing the Core Sensor

We designed the core of the WayCount device to work like other traffic counters including durable road tubes connected to the device to lay across the road for the study. The data gathered is time-stamped axle count, and processed by an algorithm to create output reports showing volume, speed, and automobile classifications. Road studies may last hours or weeks at a time.

In order to meet industry-standard timing accuracy with a low cost, we started with the design of the sensors themselves: the piezo sensors, which create a voltage when disturbed. In this case, when the volume of air inside the road tubes are squeezed by a vehicle's wheel, a pulse is generated and the device triggers a record of a time stamp.

We created several 3D-printed prototypes here at Tomorrow Lab and tested them to validate the design of a 'Piezo Package' assembly. With this Piezo Package engineered to securely hold the sensors, we were able to move on to the larger product housing and circuit design.

Mechanical & Electrical Engineering

Next, the piezo package needed a secure enclosure design and circuit board. We designed the circuit board with a Bluetooth processor, allowing users to wirelessly manage studies and collect data. By selecting a single Lithium battery for power, we could to provide years of use for prolonged data recovery. All data is stored locally on the device until extracted by a user using the WayCount App on their mobile device.

The enclosure design insisted on a number of performance requirements including:

  • Be lockable - must allow user to lock the device to a street fixture (e.g. lamp post) using a cable lock
  • Be crushproof - must withstand a car driving over it
  • Be waterproof - must withstand water ingress in heavy rain
  • Be durable - must withstand rough wear & tear in daily use
  • We made several 3D prints and silicone castings as the design evolved a 2-part shell with an internal gasket. By utilizing an outer silicone 'boot', we could protect the inner casing from wear, while also providing functional grip and bounce in daily use. To hold the clamshell halves together, we used five screw fasteners to be covered by the silicone boot, creating a more seamless design.

    In addition, we conducted extensive, internal water submersion tests to ensure water tightness of the gasket design.

    Industrial Design

    When it came to design, we intended the WayCount product to look tough, but not too visually loud so as to reduce the amount of attention brought to it on the street from those unfamiliar with its purpose. Since this device is left unsupervised in public space for hours at a time, we did not want to attract vandals.

    In addition, we did not put any LED indicators on the device, and the WayCount only contains one button, discreetly situated on the bottom surface, as the only user touchpoint.

    We focused on a tread grip design, reminiscent of tool hardware and car tires, as the functional and aesthetic form decoration to the base of the product. For inspiration, we looked to existing "tough" design qualities such as space-centric form factors like a stormtrooper's uniform, the shape of a smartphone protection device, and even newer flashlight and outdoor light models. Lastly, the colored silicone boot design is meant to stand out against the muted grey plastic shell.

    Digital Strategy

    Alongside the hardware, Tomorrow Lab also worked to develop the WayCount Mobile app for Android and WayCount.com website. In this process, we partnered with The Office for Visual Affairs designers and Vuzum developers.

    The App is intended to setup and manage studies, as well as retrieve and upload data from the WayCount by communicating with the devices over Bluetooth.

    After the data is retrieved and in the cloud, users can access their data using the website. There, users can review raw data, view other users' data, as well as download this data and insight reports on each study. These reports include Per-Vehicle Records, Speed, Volume, and Classification information.

    We consider the processed data to be the main output of the WayCount.com website, providing the accurate reports listed above. This is all accomplished through a web-based processing algorithm which churns through the raw timestamp data revealing cars and trucks. An example output of this report created by Tomorrow Lab engineers is shown here to left. It is fundamental to the WayCount process, traffic counting progress, and creating better cities to see this data as a public resource open for review.