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WEF's Principles for Mobility Data

By Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 07/02/2020 - 17:35

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released new material regarding the principles public and private entities should consider when using mobility data. "If mobility agencies, public or private, have any gap of knowledge in their mobility data, those gaps will transfer over to the transportation service they provide, creating mobility deserts, inaccessible service or unsafe service. To avoid such oversights, we recommend all mobility data leaders to consider this document," said the organization on a statement. 

The use of data for public or private mobility solutions is essential. In particular, C-V2X applications for autonomous vehicles require not only processing data in real time, but also to be sustained by a reliable infrastructure. "The C-V2X protocol handles the multiple connections that vehicles will have with other devices, such as traffic lights, other vehicles and cellphones," explains Ricardo Anaya, Product Manager of Qualcomm Mexico. 

You can read the full interview with Ricardo Anaya here.

All records generated by C-V2X solutions, for instance, can be used to design broad mobility solutions for cities or regions. WEF’s document details the principles needed before using the data, while using it and the reasoning that comes afterwards. 

In the planning stage, four principles are important. First, players need to question assumptions. "Data is not a magic blanket of objectivity. It carries with it your own biases, prejudices and assumptions," says WEF. Thus, when selecting data, a holistic, inclusive and diverse picture should be sought. Second, it is important to prepare an inventory of the available mobility data. Rather than spending a lot of resources on integrating different datasets, WEF recommends to be aware of the already available data. 

The third principle in the planning stage is that there is no need to "reinvent the wheel." This means that "before diving into your data process and analysis, you should leverage the knowledge that already exists and rely on data-exchange frameworks and standardization processes," the document says. The fourth principle entails that data "likes companies." In the mobility ecosystem different sectors and actors are involved, from government sources to startups. The document stresses that mobility data works better when combined. 

While using mobility data, three principles are to be considered. First, the process should be user-focused. Second, using small amounts of data does not mean the analysis is flawed, since actually using too much data can be expensive. Third, setting too ambitious goals can mislead the purpose of the analysis. It is better asking one question at the time.

Finally, when justifying the whole mobility data exercise, WEF recommends focusing on pilot tests which "need to be carefully designed so they occur in conditions that properly reflect the parameters set in your data analysis and can feed information back to your insight generation process,” the document says. It is also important to review the check and balances in the project. Finally, as complicated as working with data is, "posing as a problem statement the complete transformation of a regional mobility system, for example, is seeking a demonstration of prowess that will take time and effort."

You can access the full WEF document here.

Photo by:   World Economic Forum
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst

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