Toronto Unveils ‘Big Data Innovation Team’ to Tackle Traffic Troubles

The City of Toronto is taking steps toward investing in the power of data to help understand how, where, and when people travel and how the City can use this information to better assist the public move around Toronto.

Thus, Transportation Services is announcing the creation of a “Big Data Innovation Team.” The City says the team will be spending the first few months developing a strategy for how to use big travel data to improve travel by all modes.

“The availability of travel data has improved dramatically over the past few years and is at a point where the City can – and should – be using it to better understand travel patterns, evaluate the City’s investments and monitor performance,” said Mayor John Tory. “This will be a game changer and will establish Toronto as a leader in running a truly smart city.”

“Learning about how we can better use travel data – by all modes – is a huge step forward,” agrees Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West), Chair of the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. “We need to be investing in projects that tap into the power of big data. This type of work will serve as a foundation for improving commutes for all Torontonians, whether you travel by transit, bike or car.”

The Innovation Team will be partnering with McMaster University to analyze historical travel data on city expressways and streets and working with the TTC to closely analyze surface transit data to identify operational improvements to further improve streetcar service. The team will also be releasing a report from the Cycling Unit of Transportation Services evaluating cycling travel patterns based on data collected from its cycling tracking app and developing a Big Travel Data strategy for Transportation Services to determine ways to make this type of information available.

Transportation Services is also working with partners on hosting an open data “hackathon” planned for later this year.