Why do we need Data Analytics for Urban Mobility? Engineers have been developing infrastructure for decades without having digital data and analytics at their disposal. So why are engineers emphasizing the use of big data now?
The Need for Big Data in Urban Mobility Analysis
Well, Big Data is a relatively new innovation. The data collection, processing power, and data analytics were not present in the earlier days. Also, the application of digital data and information is groundbreaking.
Mobility data and data analytics helps engineers build infrastructure that complements the already existing roads, and cities. Along with enabling people to safely travel to their destination, with Big Data scientists can assess the environmental impact. So the bottom line is, data analytics sheds light on the entire mobility ecosystem.
Urban Mobility Data for Public Transportation
In many cities around the world, almost everyone has their own cars. On the other hand, there are cities where people rely heavily on public transport. South Korea, the home to Hyundai and LG Electronics, has a fast, and affordable train system that provides rides to over 2.6 Billion riders annually. Then we have Japan, the country with a public rail system that spans around 193 miles.
So you see if you build an affordable, and convenient public transportation system, the general public will always line up for it. But the decision to build a train system or a metro bus system depends on many aspects. How many riders can the public transport accommodate each day? Is public transport faster than other mediums of transportation?
Mobility Data Visualization for Regulation
Engineers also need to evaluate the peak hours and hot spots in the suggested route plan. This is where data visualization comes in.
When you take the insights from assessing the big data and put it on a map, you get to see whether or not the plan is feasible, or if you should consider an alternative. The Maps are also a great way to communicate to your stakeholders about your plans and seek feedback.
Regulating Ride-Sharing Companies
Mobility as a Service has grown in popularity over the years. Uber, Ola, LYFT, and other popular ride-sharing apps are built around this urban mobility concept. They have made the lives of people in the cities easier. People no longer have to fight over a taxi.
However, city planners need to understand the impact of ride-sharing apps on the existing city infrastructure. Are the existing ride-sharing apps making the roads excessively clotted? What parts of the city are still not covered by any ride-sharing app.
Data analytics can also help ride-sharing companies and other car fleets. They can customize, curb, or expand their services depending on the findings. Companies can see if bikes are the right solution for an area or premium cars.
Big Data & Analytics for Traffic Management
Traffic is a big issue for big cities. In many parts of the world, due to heavy traffic, the usual commute time is increased substantially. People have no other option but to spend a significant amount of their work hours sitting inside their cars.
Using Big Data and Data Analytics, engineers can properly assess the peak hours for every route in the city. They can dig deep, and pin down the sources of traffic to the routes. When they know this information, they can suggest drivers take alternative routes that do not get heavy traffic, thus lowering the pressure on a single route.
Software Solutions for Smart Cities
Cities, like Hamburg, are deploying software solutions that can accurately predict traffic congestion around the city. According to Dr. Melanie Mergler, Lead of Hamburg State Agency for Roads, Bridges, and Waters (LSBG), the purpose of developing a simulation software was so that the city planners got to see real-time data on city traffic congestion, and forecast congestion beforehand.
This simulation software is also being used to plan long-term traffic. The city of Hamburg has many development projects in its hand for next year. For this purpose, certain roads might need to be narrowed, or closed completely during the entire duration of the project.
The city planners are now using the software to assess alternative routes that can effectively take the load of traffic from these closed roads.
There are full-fledged mobility companies, such as Net4things, that provide end-to-end mobility solutions to customers.