Ford is using big data to make our cities safer
by Helen Jackson |
posted 06 December 2018
It is often only after accidents have occurred that particular junctions or stretches of road are identified as problematic for drivers, cyclists or pedestrians. But now Ford has come up with a means by which big data could potentially help cities identify locations which, if nothing is done, are most likely to be the scene of future traffic incidents.
To help find the answer, Ford Smart Mobility, spent the last year recording 1 million kilometres of vehicle and driver behaviour in and around London. The company tracked vehicle journeys in the city and logged highly detailed driving data from driving events such as braking, the severity of that braking, and even where hazard warning lights were applied. This helped to identify “near-misses”. Ford then cross-referenced this information against existing accident reports and built an algorithm to determine the likelihood of where future incidents might occur.
“We believe our insights have the potential to benefit millions of people. Even very small changes could make a big difference – maybe cutting back a tree that has obscured a road sign – whether in terms of traffic flow, road safety or efficiency,” said Jon Scott, project lead at City Data Solutions, Ford Smart Mobility.
The report also investigated other opportunities, such as how scheduling delivery van journeys for earlier in the day, before peak times, could benefit all road users, and how using journey data could help to identify the best locations for electric vehicle charging points.
“The Ford City Data Report is a showcase of what we at Ford can do with connected vehicle data, smart infrastructure, and our analytical capabilities. We are calling on cities to work with us to collectively solve problems that they can become even better places to live and work in,” said Sarah-Jayne Williams, director, Ford Smart Mobility, Ford of Europe.
Ford understands that any data-driven solution depends upon the willingness of drivers to share their data, but believes that where there is a clear benefit, that consumers will be more open to supporting such a service.