Over 60 participants attended the webinar organized by BigDataEurope on 11th December assessing the different aspects on needs and requirements identified at the BigDataEurope Workshop for Transport held earlier this fall in Bordeaux.

Dave Marples from Technolution set the scene with an introduction to the business aspects giving an extensive overview on the various roles corporates, research facilities, and public authorities play within the big data ecosystem. Next, he highlighted the key objections, the risks and challenges but also the opportunities that lie in utilizing big data in the transport domain such as its ability to change behaviour and mind-set or the potential of exploring new opportunities and values.

Next, Seán Gaines (Vicomtech-IK4) gave an overview on the lessons learnt in terms of data and technology requirements summarizing the key dimensions discussed at the workshop, namely: infrastructure, vehicles, and users. He concluded with a list of issues and challenges awaiting to be discussed such as the importance of building a big data expertise within the domain, or the ever-hot topic of data privacy.

Finally, Maxime Flament from ERTICO-ITS Europe presented the view of policy, giving an overview on the added value and impact of big data in road transport ranging from urban mobility (less congestion, environmentally friendly solutions) to socio-economic and urban planning benefits. In terms of expectations towards regulation, he highlighted the importance of using open data along with the approach of market self-regulation as opposed to a rigid regulatory framework.

Following the presentations the attendees had the opportunity to post questions to the speakers. One participant inquired about key application areas of big data in the transport domain. Seán Gaines gave several examples including the possibility to schedule one’s own trip whether they are using private or public transport, to the prospects of using big data in scheduling transport infrastructure such as road maintenance. Finally, he mentioned the potential of using the data generated by vehicles to enhance the vehicles themselves.

One attendee asked about the safety aspect, about how it can be ensured that autonomous vehicles will not be hacked. Maxime Flament pointed out that this is not a matter of autonomous vehicles but of all vehicles equipped with connectivity technologies. The manufacturers are constantly developing new safety measures to mitigate the risk however the idea that the threat lies solely on autonomous vehicles is not accurate.

A discussion among the speakers emerged regarding quality control and how to ensure that the data gathered is of high quality. Seán Gaines highlighted the aspect of trustworthiness in the data that one uses, while Maxime Flament added that it is the beauty of big data itself that it auto-regulates, meaning that it gives the opportunity to cross check a variety of streams of data acting as a mean of quality control on its own. Dave Marples agreed, going into deeper detail on how such vast amount of data enable those who use it to check for poor quality and effectively filter them. He added “It is the quality of the information that matters and not the quality of the data”.

Click through to view the recording of the session.

We would like thank all of you who have contributed to the webinars and the workshop this year and invite you to stay tuned on our W3C group or sign up for the newsletter to find out what we’re up to!

Wishing you the best for the New Year!