Sysware Group and Beca have collaborated to create a technology platform for the NZ Transport Agency and its local authority partners to use GPS data to help understand travel conditions on New Zealand roads.
The information gathered has the potential to improve investment decisions across the country, particularly for strategic rural road corridors, which have long proved a blind spot for network performance data.
The new transport analysis interface is administered by Beca on the NZ Transport Agency’s behalf. It uses GPS data supplied by companies specialising in fleet management and operations. Beca transportation analysts study this data to provide aggregated outputs to assist with measuring travel times, identify reliability issues, and accurately assess route choice preferences.
The NZTA and local authority partners can then leverage the aggregated data and analysis for a range of purposes, focusing resources to improve efficiencies on the network and informing funding decisions for new taxpayer investment.
Sysware Group is a business intelligence company. It and Beca have taken the concept from prototype to creating software for analysis that enables any part of the country to be studied at the click of a mouse.
"Using the GPS data provided, we can see the efficiencies of vehicle traffic on any road, which provides a powerful tool for analysis and decision making,” says Charles Chinnaiyah, Sysware chief executive.
Beca senior transportation analyst Chris Vallyon says it is a game changer. “We can now assess the performance of the New Zealand road network. The system is already providing insights that have either been prohibitively expensive, or completely impossible without this system and the data behind it.
“Where previously, most transport analysis has only been conducted in urban areas, we can now study major rural corridors across the country. Our first showcase of the new system assessed the performance of 4000 km of road network by studying more than a million rural road trips – that’s 8000 km of data. That’s big data.”
The developers are now talking about integrating weather information into the system. This will mean an analyst can compare traffic conditions with weather conditions and incident information. This data fusion would then allow road operators to better understand risk factors and make investments to make the roads a safer place to travel.
Chinnaiyah says that while GPS technology is becoming ubiquitous in cars and cellphones, Sysware is one of the few BI companies that have successfully harnessed this source of data to allow road operators to better understand their networks. “Sysware and Beca believe the application will not only assist roading authorities in New Zealand, but has wider international potential.”