Global positioning system (GPS) boxes perch on the dashboards of cars, collect data on journey times and routes as their users drive around. But with thousands of boxes running at a time, the data streams quickly turn into data oceans. Now a data-processing platform called Transport tEchnology and Mobility Assessment (TEMA) is finding useful patterns hidden within this data to inform and improve future transport policies.
Michele De Gennaro and colleagues present the results of the TEMA pilot study in the Elsevier journal Big Data Research. The study uses TEMA to analyse data from 28,000 vehicles in the Italian provinces of Modena and Firenze, with a particular focus on hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
They found that although the driving performance of BEVs is more limited than conventional vehicles, most vehicles studied did not exceed these limitations. For example, about 97% of the vehicles in the sample travelled less than 150km/day, which is within the driving range of most BEVs on the market. BEVs could, therefore, replace conventional vehicles in cities without significantly affecting how people use them. Such findings are relevant to governments creating new transport policies.
De Gennaro thinks there is great potential for using big data in the future to drive change. “In my opinion, the opportunities offered by big data to reduce traffic emissions are unprecedented,” he says, “because it allows us to simulate the direct and indirect impact of the deployment of future transport technologies and policies on a regional scale, based on replications and variational analyses of real-world mobility behaviours from large and statistically representative groups of people.”
TEMA is a collaboration between the Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Center for Low-Emission Transport and the EU Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy Transport and Climate. And using TEMA to improve EU transport policies could go some way to erasing the giant carbon footprint that smears our roads.
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Michele De Gennaro, M., et al.: “Big Data for Supporting Low-Carbon Road Transport Policies in Europe: Applications, Challenges and Opportunities” Big Data Research (2016)