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Mobile network data for transport planning

10.03.2017 13:02

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Swiss Data analytics specialist, Teralytics partnered with Telefónica NEXT for a study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) that confirmed anonymised and aggregated mobile network data can be used to analyse and predict travel behaviour.

Teralytics is data monetization partner for some of the largest telecom operators in North America, Europe and Asia. The company can offer actual insights to help city planners, venue owners, retailers and media companies make informed decisions, optimize operations and maximize ROI. A study now confirmed that mobile data allow for better planning of mobility systems.

Cities challenged with alleviating overburdened city transports systems must gather precise data about commuter behaviour before acting. However, collecting and analysing data, can often be time consuming and very expensive.

In a recent independent study, Fraunhofer IAO found that Telefónica and Teralytics could extrapolate meaningful insights about actual travel behaviour of Stuttgart, Germany, residents from their anonymised mobile network data. Powered by Teralytics' insights and analytics platform, the insights derived from Telefonica's data offer a glimpse into the data's full potential in aiding cities in transport planning.

"We face major challenges regarding transport planning, especially in urban areas. When used right, digital solutions can provide an important contribution for everyone's benefit. We need to open the data treasure chest for this. We are very pleased that one of the leading research institutes has confirmed the potential of mobile network data. This gives us an important boost for further projects in the area of smart analysis of anonymous data," says Florian Marquart, Managing Director of Telefónica NEXT, Advanced Data Analytics.

For too long, transport planners have relied on manual recording in the form of surveys that are conducted every one to ten years and don't provide comprehensive characteristics. The study shows supplementary, real-time data sources such as anonymised mobile network data, are a much-needed and valuable addition.

"Recording mobility behaviour in cities across modes of transport is a complex undertaking. Our study shows that mobile network data can make a positive contribution to transport planning. The data is available in high spatial and temporal resolution, and provides new insight into the factors influencing urban transport," explains Professor Anette Weisbecker, Deputy institute Director of the Fraunhofer IAO.

For their research method, the Fraunhofer IAO first compared mobile network data against existing data acquisition methods, such as traveller surveys, automatic counting stations, or GPS data and interviewed 18 experts from companies, syndicates, research, and politics. Then, the Fraunhofer IAO analysed the city of Stuttgart with Telefónica Germany anonymised data enabled by Teralytics technology.

Their conclusion - mobile network data can be used to test and supplement current transport models in the short term. Further development of special algorithms and models like those offered by Teralytics will allow for better planning of mobility systems and new findings on passenger transport soon.

"The considerable potential of mobile network data can only be realised through the accompanying offer of corresponding analysis tools," summarised the authors Alexander Schmidt and Tobias Männel.

"We are very proud about this successful partnership and the benefits data can offer to City and Transport Planners. This is a great example of how mobility data can be used for human good," added Stefan Deml, VP Product, Teralytics.

(Press release)

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