Ride-hailing platform Grab together with the World Bank premiered in the Philippines the smart data platform called OpenTraffic, which provides free-of-cost GPS information for better analysis of travel speeds and journey times.
Grab and World Bank both collaborated with the Philippines’ Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) in launching OpenTraffic in Manila. The data platform will soon be made available to other Southeast Asian city governments soon.
OpenTraffic is seen to enable city governments to reduce traffic congestion and enhance road safety. The initial targets are Metro Manila and Cebu City.
The collaboration agreement was signed by Grab Philippines country head Yee Wee Tang, DOTC’s undersecretary of planning Rene Limcaoco, and World Bank Philippines’ program leader for sustainable development Victor Cuttaree.
“Using big data is one of the potential solutions to the challenges faced by our transport systems,” said DOTC secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
Poch Ceballos, head of GrabTaxi, Grab Philippines, said they share a common objective with the World Bank and DOTC of using big data to make critical decisions about traffic and infrastructure management.
“With Grab’s network of drivers travelling across Philippine cities every day, there is a rich real-time GPS data set now readily available to DOTC as our public service,” Ceballos said.
Grab continues to be the top ride-hailing platform in Southeast Asia and operates in 30 cities across six countries, namely Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Both Grab and the World Bank have been developing free, open-source tools that translate Grab’s voluminous driver GPS data into anonymized traffic statistics, including speeds, flows, and intersection delays. These statistics power big data open source tools such as OpenTraffic, for analysing traffic speeds and flows, and the DRIVER application or “Data for Road Incident Visualization, Evaluation, and Reporting,” designed for identifying road incident black spots and improving emergency response timing.
In the near future, traffic statistics derived through OpenTraffic will be fed into DRIVER for road incident recording and analysis. This application, developed by the World Bank, will help engineering units to prioritize crash-prone areas for interventions and improve emergency response.
In addition to World Bank support, grant funding for the development of the OpenTraffic and DRIVER open source platforms has been provided by the Korean Green Growth Trust Fund. This fund helps World Bank Group client countries with knowledge to plan and implement green growth strategies, initiatives, and investments.
Only recently, the World Bank and DOTC helped train more than 200 government staff from the agency, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Cebu City Transportation Office on the use of the OpenTraffic platform.