April 5, 2016Michael Sutherland-Shaw
A new pilot project in the Philippines is aiming to ease traffic congestion thanks to real-time data collected from one of Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing companies.
On Tuesday, Grab along with the World Bank and the Philippine Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) launched the free OpenTraffic Initiative, a set of tools using big data to address congestion and road safety challenges.
Big data has become increasingly important for countries as a way to reveal patterns and trends relating to human behaviour and interaction.
According to Grab, data collected from its drivers will be analyzed so government agencies can better manage the flow of vehicles on city streets.
“Through this we can provide accurate, real-time information that can help alleviate traffic congestion and improve road safety,” said DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya.
Some of the major issues that will be studied during the pilot program include:
- Peak hour analysis along key corridors – this can help in designing effective travel demand management policies;
- Travel time reliability – with this initiative, the Philippines will be able to quantify urban travel time reliability for use as a benchmark for making improvements;
- Corridor vulnerability to inclement weather or traffic incidents – by analyzing traffic flows due to these factors, the DOTC can begin designing flexible routing schemes; and
- Identification of road incident blackspots – with OpenTraffic data integrated with the DRIVER platform, agencies like Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and local engineering departments can identify and prioritize high-incidence areas for interventions and improvement.
The program was launched in Metro Manila and Cebu City, but Grab and the World Bank said they plan to make OpenTraffic available to other Southeast Asian governments in the future.