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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.
By Yash Acharya
January 27, 2017
It was peak rush hour one recent morning and I was driving to work on a familiar two-lane road. Suddenly there was a huge slowdown. It turns out one lane ahead was completely blocked to accommodate a construction crane working on a new building. A traffic officer did his best but the flow of vehicles was only a trickle. This half-mile stretch that would normally take just a minute to drive through at 30 miles an hour would now cost me 15 minutes.
That construction crane has been slowing traffic now for 15 weekdays in a row. (It’s not there on weekends.) I made a rough calculation: thousands of commuters like me sat in that congestion every morning for at least 15 days.
This got me thinking about permits for construction projects, wasted fuel, increased pollution and other traffic issues.
Specifically around this and other events, I wondered:
Collecting and analyzing the data to answer these “analytical scenarios” could immensely help governments and citizens understand the impacts of the certain actions, permits or events that occur on a day to day basis.
In my last month’s column, I discussed some ideas around the use of technologies and processes to improve transportation infrastructure and cities in general. This month, I wanted to expand and discuss how to leverage data collected from various smart cities’ initiatives to improve services to citizens.
My traffic slowdown scenario relates to some terms we’ve heard about a lot in recent years: Big Data and Data Analytics. Let’s define them.
Big Data refers to large and complex sets of data which may be interrelated through various degrees of analysis.
Below are some data sets that would be used to analyze the four questions I’ve posed:
Data Analytics refers to various types of qualitative and quantitative data points which are collected and analyzed to improve efficiencies in a business, organization or event.
For each of the four questions in my scenario, data analytics is performed using data analytical tools and big data solutions may be employed to assist with efficient and effective decision making.
With increased computing power on devices and widespread data collection, governments can now leverage these tools to help them make better decisions. For each of the four questions in my scenario, governments could use Big Data and Data Analytics to make decisions such as whether to:
We have the power of technology to help governments collect various types of data, analyze them to solve these and many more scenarios to better manage budgets, and improve services for their residents. Something to think about!!
Author: CreativeTechNerdie – Yash Acharya is a director within KPMG LLP’s State and Local Government Practice, with a focus on assisting governments with business transformation initiatives. Thinker, coffee fanatic and government transformation passionist. Yash’ s column shares innovative ideas, thoughts and real world challenges for government, companies and the public to think about where we want to go next. Views expressed are his own.