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How ARRB uses big data to improve our roads

by Australian Road Research Board on July 21, 2020

In August 2019, the Honourable Alan Tudge, Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure opened Australia’s National Transport Performance Centre (NTPC).

NTCP opening Alan Tudge

The NTPC is at the centre of ARRB’s Port Melbourne office and brings together road transport data to report on the performance of Australia’s road network. Big data is at the heart of the NTPC which employs a team of engineers, data scientists and software developers.

The NTPC receives a steady stream of data from ARRB’s iPAVe and survey vehicles which generate over 90 terabytes of data each year. This dataset is combined with asset data from road authorities, open crash data and traffic data from our partners enabling the Centre to measure the safety, condition and congestion of our roads.

To make sense of these varied datasets, the NTPC has overcome the challenges of working with big data. The first step was achieved by linking all data and its exact location to a common base map and then securely storing the data is a data lake so it can be quickly referenced, compared and displayed. The NTPC has used the latest cloud computing techniques that allow for efficient. The second was to harmonise the data, aligning the time- period and the categories in which the data was collected. The third was de-identification to preserve data privacy.

Creating the process for ingesting transport data solves half the problem, but to fulfil its role and to convert data into knowledge, the NTPC draws upon the knowledge and experience of ARRB’s subject matter experts that literally surround the NTPC data engine room in Port Melbourne and connect with the centre across Australia. By combining data with knowledge, and through a process of benchmarking, measuring and forecasting the centre services as a single source of truth providing the evidence needed to make informed policy decisions to help shape our transport future.

To learn more about The NTPC and how it uses big data, click here: ntpc.arrb.com.au

Topics: ARRB News, ARRB, Australian Road Research Board, Road and Transport Research