An Innovative Study Seeking to Combate Traffic Congestion

Could data from your mobile phone help in dealing with traffic congestion? This is the question which researchers at the Fraunhofer IAO and Telefónica Deutschland are investigating.

A new study at the Fraunhofer IAO is attempting to determine whether data from cell phone networks could offer a reliable source of information for traffic planning and an improvement over current data collection methods. The study is being supported by Telefónica Deutschland who is providing anonymized cell phone data.

The German city of Stuttgart is facing major challenges in regard to mobility and traffic. The city is struggling with congestion, excessive noise and stress, and there is a clear need to improve air quality. This situation prompted the state capital of Baden-Württemberg (as well as a growing number of other cities) to find ways to optimise transport planning and mobility management. One of the key factors is having access to accurate transport data.

Key to the study is the creation of anonymized mobility profiles using cell phone data. This data is collected automatically during the normal course of business at Telefónica Deutschland and it can be used to create anonymous mobility profiles.

The next step is for the researchers to analyse the status quo of traffic measurement methods based on case studies and interviews with experts. The research team will then shift their emphasis to Stuttgart by comparing the data from existing traffic surveys conducted in the region with the insights obtained from the city’s cell phone data. One of the key things the researchers will be focusing on is the real-life variation caused by factors such as heavy rain or major events being held in the region. The hope is that this study will reveal how much potential this data source offers in comparison to other data collection methods.

Photo credit: “www.colourbox.com”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Fraunhofer IAO.

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