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.

 
Articles you may be interested in
In Detail
Municipality-led circular economy case studies from EIT Climate-KIC and part...

How can cities create prosperity for expanding populations whose rates of consumption are increasing, while strengthening the systemic change that supports waste and resource management?...

Municipality-led circular economy case studies from EIT Climate-KIC and partners
In Detail
Transformative change through innovation: An analysis of the role of innovat...

One of the areas with significant potential to reduce carbon emissions is the energy sector, including the transition away from coal. It is, and...

Transformative change through innovation: An analysis of the role of innovation in five transition regions
In The News
COP24 report: The vital role of land use in climate mitigation

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP24 report: The vital role of land use in climate mitigation
In The News
COP24: Distributed ledger technology could help enact Paris Agreement

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP24: Distributed ledger technology could help enact Paris Agreement
Opinion
System innovation is needed to help regions shift to a low-carbon economy
System innovation is needed to help regions shift to a low-carbon economy
In The News
COP24: Social innovation to drive just transition of coal regions

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP24: Social innovation to drive just transition of coal regions
In Detail
DLT for climate action assessment

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT Over the past decade, we’ve witnessed a myriad of milestones that have put the vision of a prosperous, climate-resilient society on...

DLT for climate action assessment
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC’s ConnectedClusters launches at EUROCITIES

EIT Climate-KIC’s ConnectedClusters project—which aims to accelerate innovation clusters...

EIT Climate-KIC’s ConnectedClusters launches at EUROCITIES
Opinion
St. Patrick is on a Mission – #MissionFinance 1.5 C
Sandra Vlašić, Partnerships, Resources and Stories Terra Hub
St. Patrick is on a Mission – #MissionFinance 1.5 C
In our community
EIT Climate-KIC to showcase its top 30 cleantech startups during Slush 2018
EIT Climate-KIC to showcase its top 30 cleantech startups during Slush 2018
In The News
How to unlock the finance needed for integrated landscape approaches

Why integrated landscape approaches matter and how to unlock...

How to unlock the finance needed for integrated landscape approaches
In The News
Regional Innovation Scheme start-ups showcase cleantech achievements supported...

Last month (October 2018) in Vienna, Austria, 32 start-ups...

Regional Innovation Scheme start-ups showcase cleantech achievements supported by EIT Climate-KIC
In The News
City Finance Lab explores new advisory services to catalyse investment in sust...

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, Climate...

City Finance Lab explores new advisory services to catalyse investment in sustainable cities
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC responds to consultation on Long-Term Strategy for EU GHG emis...

As an active member of the community working to...

EIT Climate-KIC responds to consultation on Long-Term Strategy for EU GHG emissions reduction
Opinion
Distributed ledger technologies are here to stay
Dr. Harald Rauter Regional Innovation Lead, Climate-KIC
Distributed ledger technologies are here to stay
In The News
Search for 100 1.5C-compatible investments launched

The EU-backed Mission Innovation initiative has launched a framework...

Search for 100 1.5C-compatible investments launched
In The News
Can self-reporting be effective for investors?

Most climate and ESG data is self-reported – can...

Can self-reporting be effective for investors?
In The News
Risky business: Why 1.5C-aligned strategies are key to preserving capital

Decision-makers with responsibility for capital need to make bold,...

Risky business: Why 1.5C-aligned strategies are key to preserving capital
In The News
No alternative: Making sustainable infrastructure the only option

Only a fraction of global climate finance is reaching...

No alternative: Making sustainable infrastructure the only option
In The News
Could ambitious financial regulation be a key driver of climate action?

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, Climate...

Could ambitious financial regulation be a key driver of climate action?
In The News
Bridging the climate adaptation investment gap

Financing climate adaptation took centre-stage at Day 2 of...

Bridging the climate adaptation investment gap
In Detail
Techno-economic assessment and life cycle assessment guidelines for CO2 util...

CO2 utilisation technologies, also known as carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) or CO2 re-use, capture CO2 and convert it into new products or services....

Techno-economic assessment and life cycle assessment guidelines for CO2 utilisation
In The News
Re-Industrialise launches at the European Week of Cities and Regions

EIT Climate-KIC and partners recently launched the Re-Industrialise programme,...

Re-Industrialise launches at the European Week of Cities and Regions
In Detail
Reframing our current approach to urban transformations

EIT Climate-KIC gathered the outputs and lessons-learned from an urban transformations community workshop in Malaga, which saw more than 100 city leaders and teams...

Reframing our current approach to urban transformations
Opinion
Reframing perspectives on climate change
Reframing perspectives on climate change
Opinion
Only 20 companies in the world provide 100 per cent greenhouse gas emissions disclosure – Are ...
Only 20 companies in the world provide 100 per cent greenhouse gas emissions disclosure – Are investors in the dark on climate risks?
In The News
Gaining a better understanding of climate risk

The roadblocks that stand in the way of companies...

Gaining a better understanding of climate risk
In The News
The power of persuasion: Great Debate changes audience’s mind on self-re...

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, Climate...

The power of persuasion: Great Debate changes audience’s mind on self-reporting
In The News
A masterclass on climate-related financial disclosure

If we want to keep on track with the...

A masterclass on climate-related financial disclosure
In The News
Transforming financial sector’s core value system may be essential to 1.5C

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, Climate...

Transforming financial sector’s core value system may be essential to 1.5C