Sydney wants to fix its traffic problem with big data

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The NSW government has enlisted the help of Data61 to ease the congestion of the state’s traffic using big data.

Data61 will be compiling data from the Opal system, GPS devices, traffic signals and public buses to better understand congestion hotspots for the Transport Management Centre, allowing them to alert road users earlier and suggest alternate routes.

“With congestion costing Sydney about $5 billion each year, this partnership is a great example of the private sector coming up with bright ideas to tackle the increased pressure on the road network and on public transport using some out of the box thinking,” Transport for NSW said.

Sydney residents currently make 16 million road trips on an average weekday, and 15 million at the weekend. Of those weekday trips, over 70% of them are made during peak hours, making the easing of congestion a major pressure point that the government hopes to fix with the data.

“This real-time data that is being compiled by the data experts and will help us improve congestion-management initiatives and prioritise programs that lead to more reliable travel times on the road and transport network,” it said.

Funding for the scheme will come out of the State Premier’s Innovation Initiative, which was part of the government’s search for innovation solutions to every day problems.

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