The city of Ghent has been a long-time pioneer of open data. Also the Ghent Traffic Control Center strongly believes in the societal and economic added value that open data brings. While exploring new ways to leverage real-time traffic data, the Traffic Control Center turned to Waylay to make these data immediately relevant to citizens
There are various sources of traffic information: the railway and bus companies, the national road-monitoring agency and the city all publish real-time traffic data. However, not all of this is contextualised to the city where you live. You are unlikely to be interested in railway delays or road accidents 400km away from your hometown. Also, in the back-end, some of the processing of this traffic information is still done manually, which is somehow a tedious, repetitive work.
With the Waylay platform, it becomes possible to aggregate all traffic information sources and to contextualise them to a particular location or city. Moreover, this process can be fully automated.
For the Ghent Traffic Control Center, Waylay created a Twitter stream that aggregates all traffic information relevant to Ghent:
- Traffic delays to/from major cities Antwerp and Brussels
- Any road, train, bus traffic information relevant to Ghent
- Providing traffic guidance in case parkings get full (or parking space becomes available again), based on real-time parking occupancy rates, published as open data
- Automated parsing of DATEX II traffic information and filtering on anything relevant for Ghent and its surroundings. DATEX II is a European standard created for information exchange between traffic control centers, to improve sustainable mobility in Europe.
Pieter Morlion, Project manager at the Traffic Control Center Ghent, comments “Waylay’s platform was a great fit for what we wanted to achieve. The flexibility of the platform allowed us to combine various sources of traffic information and provide more context-relevant information to our customers, the citizens and visitors of Ghent. In our traffic control center, we want to use our resources in the most efficient way. We want operators only to be active when they can make a difference. Waylay helps us achieving this vision. Our operators are stand-by and get notified by SMS when something unusual is going on. “ Recently, Pieter also talked about the Waylay cooperation at the Open Data Days Flanders, you can find his slides here (in dutch).
Waylay also created an advanced multi-channel notification back-end where alerts are generated for the Traffic Control Center personnel in case traffic anomalies are detected, e.g. when most parkings get full, when there is excessive delay on the road or when a peak is detected in the social media activity regarding the traffic situation in Ghent.
Waylay’s platform provides full automation for all of the above use cases. Moreover, the platform is future proof: the use cases can easily be extended to other cities and publishing the traffic data to other media such as a website or mobile app is easily accomplished.
You can download a PDF brochure on this cooperation here, and if you are from Ghent, start following @VerkeerGentB to get up-to-date traffic info!