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China to improve traffic management with big data shared by ofo bike

Chinese bike-sharing company ofo recently announced plans to share its big data platform with 200 Chinese city administration authorities to improve traffic management in the country.

According to Xinhua Net, the move aims at helping these 200 Chinese cities to better manage traffic caused and disturbed by the growth of shared bikes, and acquire reliable data for planning city transport systems.

The Alibaba-backed Chinese bike sharing company is the world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing platform, according to its official website. The company aims at optimising short-distance travel through connective, convenient, affordable and clean short-distance travel options.

Now, the bike sharing company is operating in 20 countries, with more than 10 million bicycles available to 200 million users around the globe. It has also reached the milestone of valuation of 1 billion.

Major Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chengdu will be the first 20 cities to have access to the big data platform of ofo. The city administrative authorities will be able to track real time information such as the number of bicycles in use, bicycle parking locations and the distance travelled by users.

With the sharing of information on the big data platform, authorities and the bike sharing company are working hand in hand to minimise nuisance caused by shared bikes to the public. For example, local authorities can track the number of shared bicycles in a certain area. If the number of shared bicycles exceeds the capacity limit of a certain area, potential causing blockage in public space, the city administrative department can contact maintenance personnel of ofo to relocate some of its shared bicycles to other areas.

In fact, big data partnerships between the public and private sectors is nothing new. As previously reported, ride hailing platform Grab has joined hands with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the World Bank Group in April 2017 to improve traffic management and road safety.

Another World Bank global initiative called Open Transport Partnership (OTP) is working with multiple ride-sharing companies to assist transport agencies in formulating evidence-based policies to tackle traffic congestion and other road safety challenges.

Similarly, Uber is also providing anonymised data to governments and academics through its platform, Uber Movement.

Featured image: Jon Russell / CC BY 2.0

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