Local Transport Today is the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers. Analysis, Comment & News on Transport Policy, Planning, Finance and Delivery since 1989.

Using BIG data in transport modelling

Both innovation and ingenuity are required to turn an increasing amount of data that is not obviously ‘transport oriented’ into useful information that can assist with model building in circumstances where relevant data is otherwise not available or in poor supply

Erik de Romph
Erik de Romph
Erik de Romph
Cellular data mapped on actual road network
Cellular data mapped on actual road network


Companies such as TomTom possess enormous databases with vehicle-movements based on GPS data to predict traffic jams in real time and, with the introduction of public transport smart cards, large databases with public transport movements are a potential source of useful matrix building data.

The most interesting new data source, however, is GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) location data, which is location-based information retrieved from mobile phones. Each mobile phone is at all...

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