Cambridge taps transport data for real-time travel app

A vast amount of transport data is being generated in Cambridge thanks to a series of sensors on buses in the region, Ely News reported last week.

The City Deal’s Smart Cambridge project has data on around 1,000 buses in the city, showing where they have been every 30 seconds for more than a year.

“It is monitoring 20 areas around the region, telling us in real-time what the journey times are across those zones,” explained Dr Ian Lewis, director of infrastructure investment at Cambridge University.

This data is likely to form the basis of a new ‘real-time’ travel app, due to launch in 2017, which will plot the exact location of buses and provide other information about congested roads.

Work is also under way to improve the real-time information displays at bus stops in and around Cambridge by using the GPS trackers on buses.

Meanwhile, Bluetooth technology will be used to count traffic and monitor congestion, and sensors will capture data on air quality, Cambridge News said.

Real-time traffic data could also, for example, be used to warn car drivers about heavy traffic or full car parks, encouraging them to use the bus instead.

The Smart Cambridge project is a collaboration between local councils and the University of Cambridge, aiming to develop smart solutions to the region’s transport problems.

City Deal board vice-chair Francis Burkitt commented: “We all agree that we can use technology to give more transport information to residents. It’s a complex and leading-edge IT project, and I’m delighted that it’s moving forward so well.

“The app next year will be very useful, as it will give bus passengers real-time information on where each bus is, and I hope that extra convenience will encourage more people to use buses.”

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