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grab and mdec get in bed to better brain the traffic here

Grab and MDEC get in bed to better brain the traffic here

The Malaysia City Brain Initiative will use Grab’s traffic data and artificial intelligence for better traffic management

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

16 Apr 2018

Grab, fresh off its absorbtion of Uber in the region to make it southeast Asia’s leading on-demand transportation platform, and the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) have formalised a Memorandum of Understanding that will leverage on former’s anonymous traffic data to aide the Malaysia City Brain (MCB) initiative in real-time traffc management.

If you’re squeezing your brains trying to figure out what the MCB project is, we’ve got you covered. It was announced in January 2018 and represents the development of an MDEC led smartcity traffic management system that utilises big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to help the fast growing city better manage its urban transportation needs and reduce chronic congestion.

It goes without saying that congestion has left our roads constipated but how drastic exactly are its repurcussions in real world numbers?

According to the World Bank’s 2015 Malaysia’s Economic Monitor report, things are cricital with an estimated five million people stuck in Klang Valley traffic every day. That equates to an astounding 250 million hours a year in traffic that will cost the country between 1.1 to 2.2 per cent of its GDP in 2014. Since then things have likely worsened although the new MRT line has done its part to alleviate the situation

“Grab’s core mission is to help provide safe, efficient, convenient and affordable mobility solutions to cities in like Kuala Lumpur. By working with strategic partners like MDEC and the government, we can offer the Malaysia City Brain effort our expertise from across the region, along with the vast anonymised data that is generated daily by our drivers. This will help provide urban planners and traffic managers greater success in resolving key transportation issues, enhance emergency services response times, and reduce congestion,” said Sean Goh, country Head of Grab Malaysia.

“It also allows better insights in addressing the growing transportation demands and urban transport planning of one of the leading digitally enabled capital cities in southeast Asia,” he added.

Grab impacts the travel decisions of 2.5 million southeast asians daily and represents a key source for efficient and accurate data that represents real drivers and city dwellers in everyday conditions.

All Grab users’ traffic data will be anonymised before providing traffic speeds and travel times for popular Kuala Lumpur routes. Coupled with existing traffic monitoring and management systems such as video feeds from 500 CCTV cameras as well as 300 traffic lights under Kuala Lumpur City Hall, social media feeds and traffic information from traffic agencies and government sources, it will help city planners grasp a more comprehensive view of conditions on the roads.

The cloud computing and artificial intelligence based technologies are expected to help the MCB identify potential traffic challenges, develop better predictive modeling and more efficient management of city traffic in real time

“We are delighted that Grab is working with us to further build on the success of Malaysia City Brain, particularly as this high impact initiative to catalyse the nation’s artificial intelligence ecosystem is vitally dependent on the richness and variety of its data sources. No two cities are the same and the sharing of such data resources will also help our city planners to better understand the unique transportation needs of each city and neighbourhood,” said Dr. Karl Ng Kah Hou, director of Data Economy at MDEC.

“This will help us to better deal with using the roads more effectively in real time, and it will gradually help us to improve our daily Quality of Life Index,” he added.