Grab uses local data to generate traffic solutions in Malaysia

Heavy Traffic Jam at the toll plaza gombak heading to kuala lumpur.

With over 780,000 drivers on the roads across South-East Asia, ride hailing company Grab pretty much knows the real-time traffic conditions of major cities in the region.

And soon, this data will be available to Malaysians who can use it for real-time traffic updates to plan their travel times and routes, as well as road conditions – for example the location of pot holes, flash floods and even road accidents – in major cities in the country.

Using the GPS data collected since the company’s inception in 2012, Grab – in partnership with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) and World Bank Group – launched the OpenTraffic initiative which provides an open dataset for Malaysia’s traffic management agencies and city planners.

By using the information – provided at no cost via an open data license – the government will be able to better manage traffic flow and make investment decisions on local transport infrastructure.

“We want to contribute by sharing our data and working alongside local government agencies to make transport more accessible to the 620 million people in the region. We are certainly excited to participate in the OpenTraffic project to help shape and improve Malaysia’s transport sector,” said Grab Malaysia country head Sean Goh at the launch in Kuala Lumpur.

OpenTraffic translates Grab drivers’ GPS data into anonymised traffic data to map traffic speeds on roads, to analyse traffic congestion peak patterns and travel times.

“The platform is able to assist traffic management agencies with easing traffic flows, particularly within dense urban areas. Local government agencies can use the data to enhance existing traffic management systems such as optimising traffic light control and coordination,” said Goh.

Malaysia is the second country to get access to the OpenTraffic platform. The initiative was launched in the Philippines last year, and has already improved the traffic condition in Cebu City without the need for additional infrastructure investment, and has lowered transportation cost for commuters.

“By leveraging big data partnership and open source tools, transport agencies in both emerging and advanced economies can address urban mobility challenges more efficiently and effectively,” said World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia country manager Faris Hadad-Zervos.

Currently, the OpenTraffic platform and the generated data is only accessible to Malaysian agencies such as Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), Pos Berhad, and Malaysian Institue of Road Safety Research (Miros).

The OpenTraffic platform will be available to public in September.

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