Contacts: Michael Simmons & Professor Peter Landshoff, Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Mentor: Caren Weinberg
More information: http://www.ntdf.org.uk
Organisations in the UK collect data on travellers in a variety of different ways, but most do not have enough data to make accurate predictions. For example, although most of us know that the roads are busier when it rains, to forecast the effect of rain quantitatively requires traffic information and weather information to be collected, stored and cross-referenced.
Researchers at Cambridge University and Imperial College, London, are working together on the National Transport Data Framework, which is a mechanism for collecting a wide variety of data sources, and analysing them in a way to allow useful conclusions to be drawn. This will help transport users and operators make better decisions and government departments formulate strategy. The data to be handled will be very varied and will range from information from sensors on highways and from CCTV to demographic or pollution data.
Clearly there are a wide range of possible applications and customers for this type of information, from companies operating public transport services, to road planners, to emergency services. The challenge for the i-Team will be to analyse the different possibilities, and identify the areas where there is most immediate need, and most significant market demand for the forecasts. In some areas, all the required data will already exist from various sources; in others, the data may need to be collected in a different way by the potential customers. The conclusions from the i-Team will strongly influence the initial applications on which the NTDF project will focus, and will help the team decide whether commercialization is appropriate for this project.