Traffic Light Mapping and Usage

I’m taking a deep breath asking this as I’m totally new to OSM. I’ll make my propositions here and see what comes back.

I am developing a mobile app whereby users can mark the location when they pass an intersection controlled by a traffic signal or stop sign (more reasons why one would stop their drive are being considered).

  1. would this user data be useful in updating the location of the traffic lights maps (and how), and

  2. is there a method via API calls that my app can get traffic light locations are on a particular street/intersection by position (and bearing)?

I’m looking at building both an Android app and associated web server for this system, so the android app and/or the server app could pull data, and send data back up to the mapping system to update. Thanks,

I doubt the position that you will receive from your app will be very accurate, i.e. not accurate enough for individual traffic lights poles. Some apps are doing this for traffic signs and the position can be a few hundred meters off. And that is for signals that automatically recognized signals by the app. So when a user has to press a button while driving, it might be even worse. You might get an indication of where traffic signals are missing, but for complex intersections where right turns do not have to pass the signal, I doubt it can be automated.

Right now, traffic signals are typically mapped at the node that is the crossing of 2 roads, although a few variations are possible, see the wiki

For retrieving data, take a look at Overpass and Overpass turbo (UI)

The lack of accuracy is correct. My design would have the mobile app upload the GPS coordinates at the time the type of traffic flow control was identified, along with the bearing data. Then my server app would be able to analyze this data and find the closest intersection, accepting data only within a few dozen meters of an intersection. The collection would only capture the existence of a traffic control, not details such as left-turn, right-turn, or complex intersections.

I’ll take a look at Overpass to see if I can use that to retrieve signal location. I am building an app that will count how many traffic controlled intersections a driver crosses that are red or green. Red is easy. They are stopped. Green is based on location of the driver in association with the traffic light control. Thanks.

Ok, I see. Good luck with the implementation

There have been various tools that purport to allow untrained users to contribute speed limit and turn restriction corrections and add them as map notes. Almost all of those notes have turned out to be wrong.

Many mobile devices augment GPS data with information from copyright sources (Google will use its map of Wifi SSIDs if allowed to and Mac reportedly snaps GPS data to the nearest road. You should make sure that only real GPS data is included in any coordinate used (you can snap to OSM roads, but not to other road maps).