Grab-a ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia-together with World Bank and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) yesterday (05 April 2016) launched the OpenTraffic initiative to improve traffic management and address road safety challenges in major cities in the Philippines.
Traffic management agencies and city planners in Metro Manila and Cebu City will soon have an access to real-time data to better manage traffic flows.
"We are proud to collaborate with the DOTC and World Bank on the OpenTraffic programme to help address traffic congestion along Metro Manila's major thoroughfares, making local public transportation systems safe and accessible for commuters," said Poch Ceballos, Head of GrabTaxi, Grab Philippines.
"We share a common objective of using big data to make critical decisions about traffic and infrastructure management. With Grab's network of drivers travelling across Philippine cities every day, there is a rich real-time GPS dataset now readily available to DOTC as our public service," he explained.
The World Bank and Grab have been developing free, open-source tools that translate the GPS of Grab drivers into an anonymised traffic statistics-including speeds, flows, and intersection delays-which power big data open source tools like OpenTraffic.
Last month, the World Bank together with DOTC helped train more than 200 government staffs from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Cebu City Transportation Office on the use of the OpenTraffic Platform.
"Using big data is one of the potential solutions to the challenges faced by our transport systems. 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.
Moving forward, traffic statistics derived through OpenTraffic will be entered into another application called "DRIVER" (Data for Road Incident Visualisation, Evaluation, and Reporting) for road incident recoding and analysis. This tool was developed by the World Bank and will help engineering units to prioritise crash-prone areas for interventions and at the same time improve emergency response.
"By leveraging advances in open-software and big data collaborations with companies like Grab, transport managers and city planners can have access to the most advanced congestion management analytical tools available," said Mara Warwick, country director in World Bank.
Meanwhile, Grab and World Bank plan to make the OpenTraffic programme available to other city governments in the SEA region.
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