Project Traffico, an ambitious new traffic tracking database, is using bus arrival times to chart patterns and collect data on the busiest roads in Singapore.
- Published On March 9, 2018
Singapore may not rank among the world’s most congested cities, but that doesn’t mean that traffic in the southeast Asian city-state is completely predictable. Even though the city is often lauded as a great example of a well-planned metropolis, and has even been referred to on numerous occasions a “well-oiled machine” (high praise in city talk), the population is still prone to hiccups in their commute times that can affect planning and general mobility. Luckily, in this age of ever-evolving technology, many developers are looking for creative ways in which we can make our cities more livable. One of these ways is through a more predictable commute time.
Within a new database called Project Traffico, SingTat, a Singapore-based software engineer, uses bus arrival times as a method to analyze traffic conditions on the busiest thoroughfares in Singapore. SingTat saw a traffic tracking opportunity within the city’s highly connected public transit system, which runs frequently and on a tight schedule. By tracking bus arrival times on established city routes, Project Traffico can interpret the rate at which traffic is moving at any given time. On the website of Project Traffico, prospective travelers can view statistics and other data that paints a larger picture about the state of commuting in Singapore. Presenting this data in one spot has multiple benefits: not only can passengers better plan their journeys, but city planners can use the intricate data to draw conclusions of their own.
A City Always Striving to Be On Time
It would be understandable to wonder why such a system is needed in Singapore, which already ranks as number one on the list of quality life in various Asian cities, a ranking which takes public transportation and traffic congestion into consideration. However, perhaps part of the reasons why Singapore gets its reputation for efficiency is that the city sees an opportunity for intervention before a situation escalates to the point of inconvenience. This proactive attitude is clear in the way in which SingTat approaches traffic tracking. When it comes to whether or not Singapore will fall victim to the same congestion problems facing its counterparts within Asia and beyond, SingTat has a hopeful outlook.
“I don’t think so”, SingTat said, when asked if Singapore has a traffic congestion problem, before pointing out that cars and driving in Singapore is a very expensive endeavor.
When asked about the state of the city’s public transportation system, SingTat admits that there have been road bumps over recent years, but expresses optimism in the system’s ability to get back on the right track at the right time. “Having taken the trains since the 90s, I must say there really is a difference between the system then and now,” SingTat said. “We have regressed a little for sure, but two things are clear, [that] the government is putting in massive efforts to improve the system, and it will take time.”
This can-do attitude is reflective of the ways in which Singaporeans care about their city and are putting their resources forward to ensure that city life keeps running smoothly, such as the case of Project Traffico, which embodies this goal in the most literal of senses.
To learn more about Traffico’s unique traffic congestion tracking program, you can visit their website and have a look at their data here.
Rachel Cribby is a writer based in Montreal. She has a background in creative writing and urban studies.