PUTTING CITIES ON THE MAP: INNOVATIVE GEOSPATIAL INITIATIVE WINS EUROPE’S DIGITAL GOVERNMENT AWARD
26 October 2018. A project to tackle complex urban mobility challenges in innovative ways across Europe has been honoured at the 18th annual Digital Government Conference Awards, held at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. OpenTransportNet (OTN), a multi-partner, multi-country initiative, led by Informatie Vlaanderen, received an award for outstanding digital transformation work in the smart cities of Antwerp, Belgium, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France and the Region of Liberec in the Czech Republic.
OpenTransportNet was chosen by the European Commission in 2013 to receive funding to help cities turn their open, location-based data into insights through easy-to-read, visually appealing maps. The resulting Open Data Hubs helped cities and businesses solve transport related challenges by visualising their problems, enabling them to co-create solutions together with developers, data providers and community representatives.
One solution generated by OpenTransportNet, used today by the Flemish Police, is a Traffic Accidents App for Flanders. The analytical tool allows users to discover hotspots of traffic accidents such as those in certain hours of the day or ones with certain severity, or in specific locations, nearby schools for example. These insights help to identify where to apply specific traffic management or security measures.
Whilst the ground-breaking project ended last year, one of the OTN Coordinators, Mr. Geert Mareels, from Informatie Vlaanderen, said: “I am thrilled with this win. OpenTransportNet has been a great example of pan-European partnership working, advancing the use of disruptive technology to solve complex challenges in the Public Sector”. Mareel’s colleague, Lieven Raes, who project managed the initiative continued, “It is testament to the commitment, talent and skills of the whole team that we are able to continue our innovative research and innovation with OTN’s daughter project, PoliVisu”.
The new PoliVisu initiative builds upon the results of OTN by making it even easier for Cities to benefit from data-driven decision-making and low-cost policy experimentation by embedding big data directly into traditional policy making processes. “Equipping decision makers with the skills and tools, from open geospatial data processing to more advanced visualisations, helps them make better, more sustainable policy decisions and manage operations more effectively” said Mr. Lieven Raes, PoliVisu Coordinator, from Informatie Vlaanderen.
PoliVisu Communications Manager, Susie Ruston McAleer from 21c, commented “Thanks to ground breaking initiatives like OTN, the demand for acquiring intelligent insights conveniently has never been greater. The benefits of geospatial data and advanced analytics are now firmly on the agenda of cities across Europe.”