Smart Cambridge — Exploring how new and emerging technology and data can address the challenges faced by a growing city.
We all think we know what’s causing traffic problems – whether it’s a particularly slow set of traffic lights, a road that narrows to one lane, a frustrating one-way system or simply too many drivers all trying to get to a particular area at the same time. But you need to be sure of your facts before you start making changes that could affect tens of thousands of drivers every day.
Visualising the traffic data as a heat map highlighted things like the busiest entry points into Cambridge, the trips vehicles are making within the city each day and the peak traffic times. We could even break down the data by vehicle type to reveal, for example, the patterns of delivery traffic.
Not surprisingly, our spatial big data platform highlighted the fact that the majority of delivery vehicles enter Cambridge via the M11 and A14. But one of the busiest delivery routes in the city was revealed to be Gonville Place – which was not designed to be a major traffic route. For city planners, this could suggest a redesign of Gonville Place to address the problem – or perhaps a way to reroute delivery traffic away from that area. It illustrates how bringing data to life gives a valuable new perspective on a problem.
Data is central to the work cities are undertaking to address societal issues such as congestion, pollution and the delivery of services. Cambridge cannot do this alone and our work with GeoSpock has demonstrated the value of collaboration between the public and private sectors. Their experience of working with city data and cutting-edge platform is showing how we can extract value and insights from data, driving real change. — Daniel Clarke, Digital Programme Manager, Smart Cambridgeshire