A global data platform to process anonymous positions of vehicles and smartphones into real-time and historical traffic statistics

Cities are complex and fast changing organisms, especially in low- and middle-income countries where rapid population growth, urbanization and technological advances are creating a dynamic mix of opportunity and challenge. One major issue facing many cities is road safety.

Open Traffic is an initiative of the Open Transport Partnership that aims to help improve transport planning, traffic management and safety by facilitating the delivery of detailed traffic data to cities. The partnership, led by the World Bank, along with its founding partners Mapzen, the National Association of City Transport Officials (NACTO) and WRI, will enable leaders to:

  • Make informed, targeted decisions about sustainable urban mobility and road safety and
  • Monitor the impact of these decisions, potentially saving thousands of lives and improving productivity too.

Open Traffic offers cities the opportunity to understand and measure the impacts of road safety interventions on safety and traffic flow. This applies both to identifying risks, such as dangerous speeds and the types of roads that encourage these, and measuring the impacts of traffic safety improvements, such as a street redesign or lowered speed limits.

Furthermore, it empowers cities to study the impacts of traffic safety interventions in a fraction of the time and cost previously required. The data generated by Open Traffic provides the opportunity to identify high speed areas to target, quickly establish a baseline, and review impacts of speed reduction, almost in real time. Most importantly, it allows decision-makers to convey messages about the benefits of these interventions in a clear and transparent way.

About OpenTraffic

OpenTraffic, forming as a nonprofit organization, is coordinating open source software development and data collection by individuals and organizations across the transport sector.

The benefits from using this platform are summarized below:

  • Share anonymized traffic statistics: benefit from combining data with sources to create a more complete and current dataset. In addition to using this data in your applications, sharing data can contribute to improving the global data pool and help improve transport outcomes in your community.
  • Traffic data for your application: Historical and real-time travel speeds will enable accurate routing, estimated time of arrival and other transport analysis and planning applications.
  • Traffic data for your city: Use traffic data to help inform transportation planning decisions in your community. OpenTraffic’s analysis applications will allow users to query real-time and historical traffic conditions and monitor roadway conditions. Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll let you know as these tools become available for wider testing.

Since its launch in December 2016, the Open Transport Partnership has been seeking to secure partnerships with other data partners to make the platform truly global and to start generating new types of data, which will further aid city policymakers in improving safety and equality, and reducing emissions and congestion. The data will consider elements such as curb space utilization, lane space, parking inventory and trip-level data, among others. As well, as data is continually gathered over time, it becomes cumulatively more reliable; patterns by times of day, week and year will be better understood and visualized by the platform.