Cutting Edge Project Uses Cell Phone Data to Plan Bus Routes

Utilizing the largest data release of its kind, researchers at IBM have analyzed the location information from 500,000 cell phones to help optimize the routing of buses in Ivory Coast's largest city of Abidjan.
May 3, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Researchers at IBM, using movement data collected from millions of cell-phone users in Ivory Coast in West Africa, have developed a new model for optimizing an urban transportation system," reports David Talbot. "The IBM model prescribed changes in bus routes around the around Abidjan, the nation’s largest city. These changes—based on people’s movements as discerned from cell-phone records—could, in theory, slash travel times 10 percent."

"The IBM work was done as part of a research challenge dubbed Data for Development, in which the telecom giant Orange released 2.5 billion call records from five million cell-phone users in Ivory Coast."

"IBM calls its model AllAboard. For Abidjan, the model selected among 65 possible improvements to conclude that adding two routes and extending an existing one would do the most to optimize the system, with a 10 percent time savings for commuters."


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Published on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in MIT Technology Review
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