Turn transportation data into happier citizens and a better city

31 January 2014 | Gary Wachowicz, Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector

Every city transportation department has a data problem. Cities store huge data sets containing hidden gems that they haven’t known how to extract. But with today’s business intelligence (BI) tools, it’s easier than ever to unearth these gems and transform the way transit is managed and how people live. These tools enable you to analyze your Big Data in real time and build intelligent transportation systems that manage everything from traffic to tolls more efficiently. The best part? Doing this makes life better for everyone—city employees, citizens, you name it. Here’s how.

Easy insights for your employees

The new BI software tools, which are less complicated and less expensive than those available five or ten years ago, make Big Data for transportation less daunting. In the past, your employees may have performed multiple manual processes to pull answers from your city’s data, but they now can find automatic answers fast. BI tools will help them reach quicker, better conclusions and have time left over to generate creative new questions to drive innovation.

And we’re not just talking about your data scientists. These improved tools—some of which you may already have—are just as accessible to your frontline staff. You can see this in the power BI tools in Office 365. With these tools, it is easier for anyone to pull more understanding out of existing data without specialized training. And these tools, like many cloud-based solutions, also enable teams to share data easily across departments. Imagine the actionable insights—and the employee job satisfaction—that can come from empowering your staff with the tools they need to work smarter. 

Greater livability for your citizens

By using data analytics to create reliable, affordable local transportation, you can make your community a better place for people to live in several ways.  

  • Better access to servicesThe easier it is for citizens to get around, the easier it is for them to take advantage of services like education and healthcare. According to the World Bank, better roads can triple education rates and reduce maternal death rates by up to 75 percent.

  • Greater mobilityBetter local transportation enables seniors and people with disabilities to get to their jobs and appointments more easily.

  • Improved environmental healthBy easing traffic and congestion, you can improve local air quality, reduce noise pollution, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Faster economic growthIntelligent transportation systems connect trade centers efficiently to simplify travel, create jobs, reduce the costs of products and services, and facilitate your economy’s growth—all of which enhance quality of life.

The big idea with Big Data is that it’s not a data story at all. It’s actually a people story. By making data analytics a core element of your transportation strategy, you’re doing more than building smarter systems. You’re improving lives. Lots of them. Global transportation systems move citizens 23 billion kilometers a year today—and by 2050 that number could quadruple. I’d argue that this makes investing in government analytics and intelligence and associated tools just as important as investing in physical infrastructure. It’s a new way of thinking—one that’s critical to thriving in our new analytical world.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Gary Wachowicz
Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Gary Wachowicz | Industry Managing Director, Worldwide Public Sector

Gary provides global strategic support to government agencies, and works with Microsoft partners and their government customers to optimize agency operations and citizen services. Read more