3 Things New Technology Brings To the Table
Article by: Tom Wiese, Sales Associate at Passport
It’s growing, it’s innovating, it’s unstoppable. As technology progresses, industries are determining ways to not only manage, but leverage and analyze their data. They have the technology, but what exactly are they doing with the data that’s brought to the table? Inevitably, new data brings new information, responsibility, and interaction. As the transportation industry braces for the movement toward big data and in turn becoming multimodal, cities are able to gain a city-wide perspective on transportation. With big data at our fingertips, both public and private sectors must join forces to interpret it all.
Cities collect mountains of data and many are unable to accurately interpret the numbers to add value for their community.
For years, the transportation industry has been utilizing internal systems to collect, manage, and analyze data. As city decision makers manage the fluctuating population and evolving traffic patterns, utilizing real-time data to determine where their pain points are is significant to making faster and smarter decisions for their cities.
“Data analytics let transit agencies respond to evolving traffic patterns,” said Sanford Weinberg, Vice President for Fare Collection, Public Transit North America at Xerox.
As cities prepare to make changes to their traffic patterns, close streets for festivals, or even repair potholes, having data to back up their decisions can make all the difference for their community. Another huge factor to consider is being able to analyze all data in a single platform rather than going from one platform to another. Passport’s backend platform, Opsman, provides a seamless connection between parking enforcement officers and decisions makers’ workflow. The platform gives both parties the ability to access real-time data.
More data means more people are watching, therefore, the need to be responsible with the numbers is top priority. Five of the largest cities in the U.S. have implemented “open data” policies, the ability to utilize, share, and redistribute data freely. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and now Houston join the list of cities leveraging open data. With the ability to access data, cities are now adding a new level of responsibility to utilizing, analyzing, and providing accurate numbers to the public. Although open data policies make data usage available to the general public, there have been negative effects to the availability of these numbers. With the launch of their open data policy, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), for example, has been caught issuing “thousands of tickets where parking is legal”.
I Quant NY‘s Ben Wellington used Google Maps and NYC’s open data to determine over the past 2.5 years, the NYPD has issued five or more tickets in these 1,966 parking spaces, which is equivalent to $1.7 million in parking violations to parkers who were parking legally. Although the NYPD is now tracking all of these offenses to prevent the citations from getting out of hand, this newfound access to data is putting more responsibility in cities’ hands. It’s pretty evident that the general public is absolutely keeping their eyes open and making their voices heard. New information means new responsibility.
With the ability to access open data comes the ability to give the public more interaction with this data. Now, cities are offering the public the opportunity to not only vocalize their opinion, but really make suggestions to the entire transit system. Seattle’s Transit Sound, for example, is proposing a $50 billion bill to expand its light rail and other transit options over the next 25 years. Seattle’s regional transit agency has launched a website, which includes a survey, for the public to voice their opinions on the proposal and other proposed projects. The website also allows users to rate specific projects in the proposal, which in turn provides them the ability to fully interact with the proposals before they reach a final decision.
As data becomes readily available to public and private sectors, and the general public, new information, responsibility, and interaction follows suit. With the movement toward big data, cities and agencies alike can leverage the ability to make more accurate and smarter decisions for their communities.