The OpenTraffic initiative was launched in Malaysia by the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), ride hailing platform, Grab, and the World Bank Group on April 10. The initiative will provide traffic data from Grab’s GPS data streams to Malaysia’s traffic management agencies and city planners. It will enable them to better manage traffic flow, addressing traffic congestion and improving road safety and to make investment decisions on local transport infrastructure with access to an open dataset.
Anonymised data is being provided to the Malaysian government agencies via an open data license. Local government agencies can use the data to enhance existing traffic management systems such as optimising traffic light control and coordination. Easing city congestion during peak hour traffic would not only save time for commuters but also help reduce carbon emission.
The platform was first launched in Philippines in April 2016. It has helped to make a number of enhancements. Benefits realised included improvement in traffic signal times along the primary west-east arterial in Cebu City, without additional infrastructure investment and improvement in the the quality of travel time along Manila’s EDSA, the most congested corridor in the country.
“By leveraging big data partnerships and open-source tools, transport agencies in both emerging and advanced economies can address urban mobility challenges more efficiently and effectively,” said Mr. Faris Hadad-Zervos, Country Manager for World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia.
Ir Dr Karl Ng, Director, Data Economy Division, MDEC, said, “We are proud to work with Grab and World Bank on this initiative as this will give our young local talents the opportunity to showcase their technical skills, capabilities and knowledge. We are excited that Grab and World Bank has extended the access of the Open Traffic platform and the data generated to the Malaysian agencies. It is only practical for traffic solutions that can impact a nation to be borne from local data. We hope that initiatives such as this will help in growing and building the technology ecosystem.”
World Bank’s Open Transport Partnership
Grab has been invited to participate in the Open Transport Partnership (OTP), a global initiative launched by the World Bank in December 2016. In addition to Grab, Easy Taxi and Le.Taxi are also participating in OTP. These three ride-sharing companies cover more than 30 countries and millions of people. OTP aims to build on the success of the pilot in Philippines, mentioned earlier. The objective is to make traffic data derived from their drivers’ GPS streams open to the world, empowering resource-constrained transport agencies to develop better, evidence-based solutions to traffic and road safety challenges.
Mapzen, the World Resources Institute, Miovision, NDrive, and the National Association of City Transportation Officials are among the other founding partners of OTP.
In a separate initiative earlier this year, Uber started providing access to anonymized data through the platform, Uber Movement. The data is available under a Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial license to government experts, transportation professionals, and academic organizations around the globe. Plans had been announced to make the data publicly available to everyone in the future.
Waze, a community based traffic and navigation app, also shares user generated information on traffic, road hazards, road conditions and weather through its ‘Connected Citizens’ initiative.