Monday , 18 November 2019

Data, Data & Data

Bangalore based DataCorp Traffic, an offshore Traffic and Transportation data analysis company caters to transportation data collection companies, transport planners/ consultants and other transport authorities worldwide. Madhu Meenakshi, Managing Director, Datacorp Traffic shares with TrafficInfraTech new developments and company’s strategic partnerships

Data collection in airports

Madhu Meenakshi, Managing Director, Datacorp Traffic receiving “Economic Times Business Excellence 2019” award in Bengaluru, under the category of “Excellence in women Entrepreneurship for Building a SME with Global Footprint”

India is the fastest growing market for domestic air travel. Datacorp is working on a project that spans across 48 airports in India. Here, our company’s expertise is used to collect requisite data for airport modelling and passenger simulation.

How does the model work? Let us say, there are ten thousand passengers but what happens if there are twenty thousand in the future? Here, the model will show exactly what happens if there is an excess of ten thousand passengers. For building that model, the modeller needs the data to understand what the current situation is in all the 48 airports. The airport needs information/data like how many male and female passengers are travelling, how many people are carrying bags & what is the size of these bags, what is the delay time at the entry gate and how long does a passenger wait at the check-in area and how much time it takes him/her to clear in the security counter etc. DataCorp uses advanced auditable data collection methods to get this information.

DataCorp Traffic previously did an extensive study at the Bangalore Airport for its Master Plan. The study involved Passenger Arrival/ Departure modes – whether by personal car, taxi or public transport; movement of vehicular traffic within the airport premises including parking and cargo; passenger trip pattern; parking demand; movement of people in the forcourt area; pick-up/drop-off kerb usage etc. The successful completion of this project paved way for the recent project that involves 48 airports.

Datacorp’s tie-up with NHAI for data collection project…

Datacorp is working on IHMCL’s (which is a subsidiary of NHAI) automatic traffic counter and classifier project. We have around 600 locations across India and carry out survey twice a year for five years. This is one project; we have been doing it for the last two to three years in a row.

DataCorp Traffic also did a pilot project using the proprietory AI based technology for Congestion Monitoring at Toll Plazas. This technology was completely developed by our in-house R&D team.

Here’s how the model works; normally cameras are placed at every 100 or 200 metres on either side of the toll plazas. Let us say, if the vehicle queueing reaches up to 300 metres from the toll plaza, these cameras will automatically detect congestion and immediately send a notification to a centralised command centre and an SMS/email alert to the concerned authorities.

The system can be configured to send special alerts to different personnel (toll operators, highway authorities, road users etc.) based on pre-set congestion thresholds. After an alert message is sent to toll operator, the next alert message is sent to NHAI data office or somebody from the Ministry who wants to know the situation in any toll plaza across the country. We can send SMS alert especially when the traffic reaches 500 metres. This automatic monitoring is being carried out with the help of Artificial Intelligence technology. We did a two weeks pilot for NHAI at Mulbagal Toll Plaza near Bengaluru in May this year.

Datacorp is also involved in a video-based solution, traffic counter data collection projects…

There are various kinds of automatic traffic counters that use tubes, radar, laser, IR, and piezo technology on the road. We are currently proposing automatic traffic counters by video-cameras using artificial intelligence. We have trained our model to identify the vehicles correctly. Similarly, the machine can see whether it is a car ,truck or a bus. It automatically classifies and counts, it gives realtime information to the control centre. This is something our R&D team has been building it for the last few years. Right now, it has come to 90% accurate data. The software can go into any existing camera; you do not need a separate hardware to install in the cameras.

In all metros across India, thousands of cameras cover the city; we need to integrate our AI software to these video cameras which will acquire all the information out of it. At present, we are showcasing this technology to our UK clients.

What are the other new developments at Datacorp?

We have developed a portal called Trafficlenz which is like a platform for storing database. The idea behind developing this portal is that this could be a centralized repository for all Highway, Local Authorities and Consultants. Any type of information could be fed in this platform.

For instance, in the Mumbai metropolitan region, there are a lot of data that comes from the metro, road & highway authority, traffic police and many other authorities who collect data within the Mumbai jurisdiction. But these are separate entities collecting data and nobody is using other’s data. So, we are building a database like a platform which will be sold to the local authority where all data can be stored and used.

There are a lot of analytics that one can do with this portal; the authorities can choose the peak hours; traffic composition; traffic movement patterns; speed analytics; congestion; density etc.

The AI can track the person/ vehicles from the start of the journey to the destination. A line is drawn wherever this person walks/vehicle travels, from that information, one can see the exact line of movement. The Trafficlenz has this feature too. So, this is an excellent platform for all the local authorities to store their data and do the analytics on the data.

Datacorp is also looking at a mobile network data?

Yes. We are partnering with an international company to bring its technology into our country. Our mobile phones constantly send out signal to the nearby towers and there is always a record of it.

Such big data from the mobile phone network can be used to understand and picture people’s movement across the city. This data can be collected from the 3G/4G infrastructure that is already available in place. This technology captures anonymous, aggregated information from lakhs of mobile phones and facilitate analysis across the different modes of transport and different time of the day. This technology shows how people travel across the city at different times.

Currently, this information is being collected in a traditional way. It is called origin destination survey; the information is collected manually door-to-door. Let us say, we collect only 5000 samples in an area. But there could be about five lakh people in that region. We extrapolate the data based on the information. But with this mobile phone data we will get about one lakh samples.

Some may think there could be a data breach because somebody is monitoring travel pattern. However the data is anonymised and aggregated. So, it will not track any individual.

We are trying to bring this company to India. we hope get them to TrafficInfraTech Expo 2019 because it could be a very good platform.

Apart from India, we have done traffic surveys in Nepal, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Mauritius and Oman. We have started operations in South Africa, we are now equipped to carry out projects anywhere in Asia and Africa. We are also strategically partnering with a traffic survey company in Germany.

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