Data City | Data Nation Launch – The Challenge is Underway

The London Data City | Data Nation challenge was launched on the morning of Tuesday 12 April at an event hosted by Digital Catapult. The launch event outlined the context and details of the 6 month-long challenge being undertaken by teams in London and Singapore, starting with the Transport and Mobility challenge that runs until Monday 16 May.

In partnership with TfL, the Greater London Authority and Ford, Digital Catapult are setting challenges based around 2 key questions:

Public Transport Challenge

How can we accurately identify, filter and characterise transportation delay events across large-scale, dynamic, multi-modal transportation systems?

Enabling users to make seamless progress towards their destination. People need help to very quickly identify breaks in the system and need greater help for decision making in case the system breaks and when to abandon their plans for a better option. Participants need to choose data sources (from sandbox or beyond) to achieve the end goal.

Road Network Challenge

How can we enhance customer service and experience across London’s road network?

Through Data City | Data Nation we intend to deliver new technology solutions that help understand and predict events on London’s road network and go about enhancing the overall customer experience whilst travelling that network. TfL will provide SCOOT traffic data (described in more detail here) to participants of the challenge that is not yet publicly available.

We’ll update this blog as key milestones in the challenge are met, and will of course announce the winners in May. Good luck to all taking part!

Setting the scene for the challenge

There were many expert speakers setting the context and details of the challenge, and their presentations are summarised below.

Rikesh Shah
Rikesh Shah, Lead Relationship Manager at TfL, introduced our open data policy and what data would be released for the challenge

Introduction – Chirdeep Chhabra, Digital Catapult

  • Digital Catapult’s 4 main areas of focus: Sharing of data between organisations, personal data, content and licensed data and data generated across the Internet of Things
  • Data City | Data Nation overview: Brings together London and Singapore and private sector closed data in a sandbox for innovation, 6 months duration for the whole challenge. Transport and Mobility starts today
  • Aim is to produce new insight into public services and private products
  • Email [email protected] for more info

London Datastore – Andrew Collinge, Assistant Director, GLA

  • Keeping the city moving is a huge challenge, with a rapidly increasing population.
  • We need to innovate to keep up with this growth.
  • London Datastore is currently a large collection of static data
  • London and Singapore face very similar problems and we hope this could be the start of more worldwide data sharing. 

Issues for Cities – Isabel Dedring, Director, Global Transport Leader, Arup

  • Drivers are not in the habit of checking before they travel, as passengers on the Tube and other public transport modes are.
  • We need better data and tools on air quality, letting people know when levels are high.
  • Road safety data can continue to be improved, finding patterns and commonalities through more data.
  • Helping people find the best fares, including looking to connect data across public transport and congestion and other road user charging.

Citizen Canvas Tool – Priya Prakash, CEO Design for Social Change

  • ‘Citizen Canvas’ trials have take place in six European cities, acting as a way to capture the key issues and concerns of citizens through interviews, profiling, activity auditing and so on. 
  • Top-down, centralised data is of little relevance to ordinary people.
  • Bottom-up data such as social media is seen as ‘noise’ and is not properly captured.
  • We need to integrate top-down and bottom-up data, and hope this will be the path to citizen participation in cities.

Towards New Urban Mobility – Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities

  • Predicted growth trends in the use of cars continue to be proved wrong, as far less miles than expected are being driven.
  • Both walking and cycling are on the increase in cities around the world.
  • Technology is changing the nature of transport sharing, electro-mobility and multi-modal journeys.
  • The huge, continued increase in the use of travel apps means people are making real-time decisions modes.

Ford Smart Mobility – Will Farrelly, Smart Mobility UX, Ford Motors

  • There will be a significant cash prize for the most innovative solution to the transport and mobility challenge!
  • Research into multimodal journeys in various cities shows people are more driven by positive experience than duration of journey.
  • Ford are interested in the future of transport and creating new solutions for multimodal users.
  • Hope this challenge will give fresh insights into the impact of delays on the end user.

Open Data – Rikesh Shah, Lead Digital Relationship Manager, Transport for London

  • Innovation is one of the key expectations our customers have of us, and our Unified API and open data policy feed into this.
  • Over 8,000 registered developers using our data to produce over 400 apps, serving millions of Londoners.
  • We want to design data sets that are the most useful, rather than just looking to push out as much data as possible. Hope the challenge will help with this.
  • For the challenge, we encourage people to use the data available from our Unified API.

The Challenge in Singapore – Daryl Arnold, CEO, Newton Circus

  • Singapore is administratively independent, even more so than London. The two cities are very suitable to work faster and implement change.
  • This challenge represents a key partnership, allowing collaboration, knowledge sharing and cooperation.
  • Private organisations own valuable data, example given of a food retailer in Singapore. This data will be made available for the challenge. 
  • Resources, tools and microsite introduced, there to support those taking up the challenge.

Find out more about the Data City | Data Nation challenge

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