TrafficCast, the global provider of traffic data, moved to The Mill Space in Wilmington. The company explored other locations in the Philadelphia area but none were quite right to the CEO, Al McGowan.
Summarized from the full article, One of Wilmington’s newest tenants is a global provider of traffic data from, Delaware Business Times. Image Courtesy of TrafficCast.
Over the last 20 years, TrafficCast has become a global provider of digital traffic data and software. The firm develops technology, applications and content that forecast travel times, monitor road speeds and track construction activity
Despite steady growth, CEO Al McGowan didn’t feel the company would continue to evolve if it remained headquartered in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
“The site we had out in Newtown Square was on a beautiful campus, but it didn’t have a lot of energy if you know what I mean,” he said.
The company explored other nearby locations and sites in Philadelphia, but none felt quite right.
Then McGowan paid a visit to Wilmington. TrafficCast had been working with Zip Code Wilmington and CompassRed, both located in The Mill co-working space on the fourth floor of the Nemours Building.
After touring the facility with founder Robert Herrara, McGowan settled on the company’s new home. TrafficCast opened its East Coast operations at The Mill in June bringing with it 68 jobs and the promise of more.
Wilmington’s Got Talent
“The ecosystem [Herrara] created here is energizing for the kind of people we want to attract and retain: young developers, [quality assurance] and operations people,” McGowan said.
Indeed, ready access to well-trained and capable workers was a critical factor in the decision to relocate, McGowan said. He pointed to the nonprofit Zip Code Wilmington, which graduates a new class of coders every three months, as a potential pipeline for young and eager talent.
“I can post a vacancy and immediately have applicants line up outside the door,” he said.
State and local officials have also been responsive. “We do business in 48 states and six countries, and we’ve had access to as many government officials and business leaders as we’ve had anywhere,” McGowan said.
TrafficCast and Technical.ly
Not long after the company relocated to Wilmington, TrafficCast partnered with Technical.ly to challenge the community to come up with fresh ideas for new app features that would improve the daily commute based on the company’s market information and data.
“We have our heads down so deep into our data that we don’t always see possibilities,” said McGowan. “It was fun to see the different insights of how people look at our data and what can be done with it. It’s helpful for us to get different points of view. We also wanted to raise our awareness level. We’ve been pretty low-key.”
“Rise and Drive”
First prize for best new idea went to Raghav Hardas and his “Rise and Drive” app, which combines a personal assistant and calendar with traffic tech. Second-place winner Katrice Williams-Dredden offered an app called “Hop,” which provided tools for getting around regardless of ability. Third place went to 15 year-old Dorcas Olatunji, who presented her idea for a student-focused carpool app.
“She just blew everybody away,” said McGowan. “She was by far the best presenter.”
McGowan, a Malvern, Pennsylvania, resident and University of Delaware alum with a degree in civil engineering, got involved with traffic reporting at Shadow Traffic when the industry used helicopters to collect data.
“The technology we brought in was putting up remote-controlled cameras all over the country,” he said.
After Shadow was sold to Westwood One, McGowan founded a company called traffic.com, a more technologically sophisticated company that eventually went public and was sold to Navteq before being acquired by Nokia. Not long after, McGowan was tapped by TrafficCast to re-position the company for the future.
McGowan said that what TrafficCast is doing now could not have been done twenty years ago.