Cities and local authorities face major challenges. With increasing frequency, decisions relating to sustainability, safety, health, and mobility are being made at local level. Innovative technology can help local policy makers to make such decisions intelligently. Cegeka is launching the Mobilize data platform, which offers data-driven traffic insights and allows policy makers to get to work immediately.
“We assist cities, local authorities and citizens to build liveable cities. With access to smart technology such as big data and artificial intelligence, we provide solutions that help people make better decisions, and make them faster,” says Stijn Bijnens, CEO of Cegeka.
Mobility: a contentious issue for cities and local authorities
Every time infrastructural projects, small or large, are carried out, the same deliberations have to be made again: What impact will this change have on road safety? Will the intervention leave adequate space for cyclists? At the same time, will the city remain accessible to trade and industry? Or where are the optimum places for charging stations for electric cars? Every decision has consequences in terms of economy, ecology, health, and quality of life. And intuition alone will not help one come up with the right solutions. “Data-driven, innovative technology can help local authorities and cities to make well-considered choices in matters of mobility. That is our firm opinion. That is why we, at Cegeka, try to develop technological tools that can assist policy makers in this,” Stijn Bijnens explains.
Mobilize – better insights thanks to an ‘urban digital twin’
Mobilize gathers and uses traffic data, context data and geographical data. In addition, the platform enables the traffic flows to be visualised. On that basis, you can quickly develop new scenarios and forecast their future impact. Mobilize provides a true ‘urban digital twin.’
For example, the Mobilize technology platform helps with major challenges such as the introduction of a new circulation plan. “Furthermore, you can predict the impact of changes to the traffic infrastructure on the surrounding road network, determine the ideal detour for roadworks, and examine how best to deal with rat-runs. In just a few minutes, you can visualise the impact of scenarios on your computer screen. In addition, you can gain insight into the number of passages or the optimization of the traffic flow. The multiplicity of insights thus provided will enable local authorities to work more pro-actively on a future-oriented, smart mobility policy,” says Benny Schaelen, Director of Smart Cities at Cegeka.
The success formula of Mobilize is its innovative approach, using three technological building blocks: big data, artificial intelligence, and the use of specific traffic methods.
- Mobilize visualises traffic flows
The more data, the better the insights. Mobilize gathers both historic and ‘realtime’ data about (for example) the number of vehicles, their speed, and where queues arise, and also geographic and contextual data about such things as planned roadworks, events and the weather, because these elements can also affect, and therefore explain, the traffic. Important data partners are TomTom, Here, and Telraam.
- Make changes to traffic quickly and easily with Mobilize
New scenarios can be developed, thanks to a simple user interface that digitally allows streets to be added, closed off, or have their flow direction changed. What’s more, the maximum permitted speed can be adjusted.
- Mobilize simulates the changes
In just a few minutes simulating a new scenario leads to a display of the impact of the changes, in images and figures. Comparison of the results of various interventions allows one to determine the most suitable scenario for a traffic issue.
Mobilize from Cegeka is a user-friendly platform that helps you visualize traffic patterns and simulate, predict and discuss the impact of changes. Not only does all this save you time and money, it also leads to smoother, safer traffic – and ultimately to a more liveable, accessible and sustainable city.
“Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, Mobilize not only detects interrelated connections but can also apply what it learned in the past to new situations. That means you can acquire - even with little data - better insights into how mobility will work in a city or community, and therefore make forecasts about new, as yet unknown, traffic situations”, says Tim Jacobs, Product Manager at Cegeka.
Smart collaboration between Cegeka and IMOB
In the Mobilize platform, Cegeka combines its knowledge of IT and AI with the academic transport models of IMOB (the Institute for Mobility) of Hasselt University, which conducts research into road safety and mobility.
“Travel behaviour is an important aspect of IMOB’s research. Every day, people make numerous decisions about their journeys: When should I depart? Should I take the car, the bus, or the bike? Which route should I take? And for what other activities will I still have to travel today? At IMOB, we try to understand why they make these choices, because only then can you assist the authorities and policy makers in making decisions. In our models, we try to simulate the activities of people on a daily basis. Transport is actually only the secondary question, and that makes our transport model genuinely unique. After all, if - as with most other models - you only chart the quantity and type of mobility, you still can’t explain why people make certain journeys”, says Prof. Dr Davy Janssens of IMOB, Hasselt University.
“I can only applaud the level of engagement with which Cegeka takes up this project. With Mobilize, we nicely combine theory and practice. That is not so evident, because it calls for intense cooperation and major investments. Nevertheless, I am convinced that Flanders needs efforts of this kind. If everyone stays on their own little island, within their comfort zone, you will never make big advances in knowledge. Innovation is a real team sport,” concludes Davy Janssens.
Mobilize – working with an ecosystem of partners
“As well as IMOB and the data partners, several companies are actively involved in this quadruple helix collaboration. Mobilize is not only interesting for cities and local authorities; consultancies such as Arcadis also see the value of this tool in their daily activities. In addition, Citymesh’s experience with networking and secure data collection offers an ideal basis for supplying Mobilize with relevant data.
Cities and local authorities wishing to get started with Mobilize can even do that right now, without procurement, via the Smartville consortium, which agreed a 5-year contract with C-Smart”, says Bart Verbeeck, Business Development Executive at Cegeka.
The Mobilize data platform was realized with the support of VLAIO.