April 8, 2016

The potential of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) on future transport systems

Time

1:40 pm - 3:00 pm

Location

1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Speaker(s)

Maria Attard, Professor, University of Malta, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, Director, Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development

Abstract

As transport systems are pushed to the limits in many cities, governments have tried resolve problems of traffic and congestion by increasing capacity. Miller (2013) contends the need to identify new capabilities (instead of capacity) of the transport infrastructure in order to increase efficiency without extending the physical infrastructure. Already in 2003, Kenyon and Lyons identified integrated traveller information as a facilitator for better transport decisions. Today, the potential of information is not only integrated across modes but also user-generated, real-time and available on smartphones anywhere. This information play today an important role in sectors such as politics, businesses and entertainment, and presumably this would extend to transport in revealing people’s preferences for mobility and therefore be useful for decision-making. The widespread availability of networks and smartphones offer new opportunities supported by apps and crowdsourcing through social media such as the successful traffic and navigation app Waze, car sharing programmes such as Zipcar, and ride sharing systems such as Uber. This study aims to develop insights into the potential of governments to use crowdsourced information effectively to achieve sustainable mobility. A review of the literature and existing technology informs this article and the aim is to propose a research agenda into these growing technologies as well as increasing participation through the development of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) for mobility.

Biographical Sketch

A geographer by training, Maria Attard has been the Director of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development since 2009 and has published extensively in the area of sustainable mobility and transport policy. She completed her PhD at UCL and then worked as a consultant to Government on transport between 2002-2009, implementing a number of national projects in Malta. She now coordinates the transport research group within the Institute and is particularly interested in research on transport modes, mobility behaviour and patterns, policy, parking and road pricing, and transport and climate change. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography within the Faculty of Arts, responsible primarily for Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and collaborates with various Faculties and Institutes within the University of Malta. She is also active in international fora and is a co-chair in special interests groups on urban transport policy in the World Conference on Transport Research Society (WCTRS) and the Network on European Communications and Transport Activities Research (NECTAR).