/ Transportation / IBM Is Harvesting Location Data from Cell Phones to Build Better Bus Lines

IBM Is Harvesting Location Data from Cell Phones to Build Better Bus Lines

Matt Ball on January 29, 2013 - in Transportation

People around the globe are flocking to cities, where, the thinking goes, they’ll be able to live nice, robust lives more efficiently and emit less planet-killing pollution. Ideally. But city living can only truly be a solution to woes like climate change and resource overconsumption if 1) a city actually helps its residents use resources more effectively and 2) people decide to keep living in them.

IBM Researchers have developed analytics software that provides accurate and meaningful information about massive numbers of peoples’ movements. These insights can be used by city managers to plan new transit routes, improve the efficiency of current transit systems, and coordinate the various transportation modes with a goal of making moving around in cities a lot more convenient and comfortable. The project, Insights in Motion, is a so-called First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) collaboration with transportation officials in Dubuque, Iowa, and Istanbul, Turkey.

The Insights in Motion technology draws on transit data, geo-spacial information, census records, points-of-interest information and data from cell phones and smart phones. The telephone data is completely anonymous so no individual’s privacy is compromised. By tracking the movements of thousands of people from place to place and correlating it with time and the speed of travel, the system understands the mode of transportation people are using and knows where they’re traveling to and from–whether its home, work, school or shopping. For city planners, it’s a revelation. “It’s like a blind person for the first time opening their eyes and seeing,” says Milind Naphade, leader of the IBM Research project.


Read more via A Smarter Planet

Matt Ball

About Matt Ball

Matt Ball is founder and editorial director of V1 Media, publisher of Informed Infrastructure, Earth Imaging Journal, Sensors & Systems, Asian Surveying & Mapping and the video news site GeoSpatial Stream.

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