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Every time you pop the car into gear and pull away from home, work, or out on errands, your vehicle creates a trail of digital data: how far you drive in a year, how much gas you use, even whether you could have taken the T or walked.
Multiply that bread crumb trail by 5.2 million times, for every active registered vehicles in Massachusetts, and you have a giant electronic Rorschach blot showing how the state’s roadways, cities, and public transit systems are used and abused over the course of a year.
Now state transportation officials and a local planning agency have come up with a typically modern way to interpret that messy inkblot of data to better understand how we get around Massachusetts every day, and what can be done to improve the daily drive: a data challenge.