The rise of big data in transport with ARRB

Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge and Chief Executive Officer of ARRB, Michael Caltabiano opening the National Transport Performance Centre.

ARRB has answers for the many questions around using big data within roads and transport. Our National Transport Performance Centre team explains how we do it.

The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) is a data organisation and has been using big data since before it was called ‘big data’.

ARRB uses the four major considerations of Big Data – which are sometimes misunderstood – every day for cutting edge research and to produce the robust foundations that help our clients stay safe and make informed decisions and policy.

ARRB has the ability and expertise to leverage Volume (size), Velocity (rate of exchange), Variety (multiple sources) and Veracity (gaps in data) – the cornerstones of Big Data – to generate an outcome for our clients.

Big data entered common language in the early 2000s.

By quickly looking back at this time, we can unpack how a world of big data was created.

During this time, the internet transformed from static websites (basically the online equivalent of a magazine) to dynamic websites, allowing users to interact with the content.

The emergence of these interactive websites allowed every click and key stroke to be gathered and the big four – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – began accumulating huge amounts of data.

Through the late 2000s, big data took a quantum leap with the widespread use of smart phones, adding location information to the big data pool.

Today and most relevant to the road transport industry, connected vehicles have caused the latest data explosion.

Image: HERE Technologies.

Any connected device with a GPS receiver, can provide data on where and how fast that device is travelling, and modern connected cars provide an even richer dataset from their array of sensors.

Modern cars with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) can generate gigabytes of data every day.

This provides a wealth of new information, but it is also where big data problems begin. Working with big data is not easy.

The challenges include managing privacy and governance issues, combining data that is fragmented and inconsistent and the size of data that dramatically increases hosting, transfer and storage costs.

To meet these challenges ARRB formed the Advanced Technologies Lab which serves as ARRB’s data engine room.

It allows ARRB to work with partners and customers to solve these big data challenges.   

To learn more about how ARRB’s Advanced Technologies Lab uses big data, visit our website at ntpc.arrb.com.au , and use the form at the bottom of the website page to get in contact.

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