Smart Mobility Project Using Google Data Shows Promising Results

The pilot phase of the Climate-KIC supported project Green Paths Copenhagen (GrePaCo) is now completed. With the aim of facilitating and incentivising increased bicycle use in central Copenhagen, the project has explored ways of measuring traffic and movement that are less resource intensive than traditional methods. The results are an efficient green path for bicycle commuters, and validation of both the method and data set used.

In early 2015, Climate-KIC partner city Copenhagen announced three challenges with urbanisation and infrastructure to the local research community:

  1. Can traffic lights be optimised for bicycles through new best practices for integrating traffic data from hitherto unused sources?
  2. What will be the effect on bus travel with the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transfer (BRT) solution on a highly trafficked stretch?
  3. How can we solve challenges related to flooding while ensuring the smooth flow of traffic along a highly trafficked commuter route?

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) (a Climate-KIC Core partner) rose to the challenge, and the GrePaCo project was initiated in April 2015, under the lead of Allan Olsen (DTU).

Using Google Data to Build Better Cities

It became clear at an early stage that the last two research questions were difficult to answer appropriately because of a lack of required empirical data. The first challenge, however, stood out as the most interesting and viable for a solution.  Google took an interest in the project through their Better Cities project, and joined as a project partner.Vesterbrogade

A number of cities across the world have been involved in the Google Better Cities initiative, which aims to demonstrate new big data driven innovation solutions for existing challenges using Google’s Big Data archive of Location Statistics.

Transferrable and Scalable

The partnership allowed GrePaCo access to Google’s aggregate, anonymised data on historical traffic patterns, which could potentially represent an alternative to traditional traffic metering, which is both costly and time consuming.

The generic nature of the challenge combined with the world wide coverage of Google traffic data means that, if successful, the solutions would be scalable and transferrable to other cities, providing a template of opportunities for local climate mitigations.

Promising Results

The findings of the study have been remarkably positive. The data has been validated by Climate-KIC partner COWI, showing that the alternative data sets are in fact viable substitutes to more expensive options for traffic metering.

The success of the project has secured jobs for a PhD student and two postdocs at DTU. Three to four master students are also continuously involved in finding useful applications for the data sets. Beyond that, it has also opened the doors for further collaboration with Google through DTU’s Smart Mobility Lab.

Professor at DTU, Francisco Pereira, is currently working on combining Google’s Application Programming Interface (API) and traffic statistics with data on internet search behaviour and social media use with the aim of detecting and predicting traffic disruptions, like traffic jams, without the need to physically observe them. 

Further Implications

Google have made the data sets available upon request and some projects have already applied for access. According to Allan Olsen, project lead, they are of particular interest to city officials within transportation eCopenhagen bikesconomics, infrastructure and logistics, city planning, and traffic safety.

It remains to be seen whether the ultimate goal of the project – to nudge the behaviour of citizens towards increased bicycle use as opposed to private cars – will be fulfilled or not. However, the Municipality of Copenhagen now has the appropriate empirical data and the required efficient measuring methods to make accurate comparisons in the future.

Next Steps for the GrePaCo Findings

Although the GrePaCo project is now finalised, the findings will continue to be of use with Copenhagen Municipality as a partner and Google as the data provider. 

The City of Copenhagen’s Economics Department may use the data for evaluating some of its previous initiatives, as it presents a supplement and a basis to compare with existing data. This denotes an improvement of the city’s current decision metrics in relation to climate mitigation and adaptation.

The GrePaCo project is part of a larger project which aims to create a resilience plan for Copenhagen, and preliminary results will be presented in February 2017.

 
News you may be interested in
news
City Finance Lab to launch beginning of June

A new initiative run by South Pole Group and...

City Finance Lab to launch beginning of June
news
Fresh boost to industrial symbiosis in Europe

EIT Climate-KIC has teamed up with five partners to...

Fresh boost to industrial symbiosis in Europe
news
Europe’s annual climate innovation summit to be ...

The 2018 Climate Innovation Summit, Europe’s leading event on climate...

Europe’s annual climate innovation summit to be held in emerging green finance centre Dublin
news
Pollution-sucking ‘smart’ trees bring clean ai...

Recent installations of the pollution-sucking CityTree in London and...

Pollution-sucking ‘smart’ trees bring clean air to London and Brussels
news
New project aims to mobilise Europe on ‘drawdown...

EIT Climate-KIC, together with the German Energy Agency (DENA)...

New project aims to mobilise Europe on ‘drawdown’
news
Mainstream climate change into post-2020 funding f...

EIT Climate-KIC is calling on the European Commission to...

Mainstream climate change into post-2020 funding framework, Climate-KIC urges European Commission
news
New European research-backed programme aims to inc...

EIT Climate-KIC is to launch an ambitious forestry innovation...

New European research-backed programme aims to increase sustainable forestry
news
EIT Climate-KIC Spain boosts new national public-p...

EIT Climate-KIC Spain is playing a major role in...

EIT Climate-KIC Spain boosts new national public-private partnership for climate action
news
EIT Climate-KIC aims for truly pan-European reach

Europe’s leading public-private innovation initiative focused on climate change...

EIT Climate-KIC aims for truly pan-European reach
news
EIT Climate-KIC CEO urges mayors to consider their...

Cities must consider the infrastructure and environmental legacy that...

EIT Climate-KIC CEO urges mayors to consider their role in boosting climate innovation
news
Solar start-up praises EIT Climate-KIC’s assista...

EU-backed start-up incubation programmes such as EIT Climate-KIC’s Accelerator...

Solar start-up praises EIT Climate-KIC’s assistance on clean energy live stream
news
European Commission report on Sustainable Finance ...

The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance...

European Commission report on Sustainable Finance affirms its commitment to climate action
news
EIT Climate-KIC innovators featured in Forbes 30 u...

Six EIT Climate-KIC innovators have been honoured in this...

EIT Climate-KIC innovators featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe List
news
New EIT urban mobility and manufacturing innovatio...

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), the...

New EIT urban mobility and manufacturing innovation communities launched
news
European innovation body offers support to Portugu...

EIT Climate-KIC is calling on leading business, educational and research...

European innovation body offers support to Portuguese and Lithuanian regions
news
Europe’s first open innovation platform for clim...

A new EIT Climate-KIC supported capacity-building tool for climate-smart...

Europe’s first open innovation platform for climate-smart agriculture launched
news
New study finds Climate-KIC and wider EIT Communit...

A new study has found that EIT’s Knowledge and...

New study finds Climate-KIC and wider EIT Community delivering significant impact for Europe
news
Climate-KIC start-up SOLHO one of Europe’s Top 5...

Climate-KIC start-up SOLHO was one of four winners honoured...

Climate-KIC start-up SOLHO one of Europe’s Top 50 innovators
news
Innovative solutions sought for urban challenges

Climate-KIC’s Urban Challenges programme is seeking to support start-ups...

Innovative solutions sought for urban challenges
news
Climate-KIC supported start-up ZOLAR completes €...

• Sunstone Capital, Statkraft Ventures, Partech Ventures and Tim...

Climate-KIC supported start-up ZOLAR completes €4m financing round
news
Women entrepreneurs talk climate business in Bonn

What characteristics do people think of when they hear...

Women entrepreneurs talk climate business in Bonn
news
Climate-KIC kicks off innovation initiative for ci...

Comprehensive plan launched to support urban agglomerations as test...

Climate-KIC kicks off innovation initiative for cities