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IBM Uses Cellular Data to Examine African City’s Bus Routes

IBM has used mobile-telephone data to analyze and optimize bus routes within Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city. The project was undertaken as part of telecommunications company Orange’s Data for Development competition. The carrier released 2.5 billion anonymized call records from 5 million users of its Ivory Coast subsidiary to contestants creating scientific and development solutions based on analysis of the data. IBM used the cell data to roughly identify people’s movements relative to public transport and created 65 possible models based on it. IBM used the information to determine that the extensive Abidjan bus system needs two more routes and the extension of a third. The proposed route changes IBM found made could theoretically reduce commute times by 10 percent. The company says that its AllAboard project is simply a research exercise but that it could be used for real-world infrastructure projects. For example, IBM says that had the cellular data been added to other types of data such as bus timetables, researchers could have created programs for purposes such as bicycle sharing or the locating of electric-vehicle charging stations. IBM will present its research during the NetMob 2013 conference at the MIT campus 1 through 3 May, at which Orange will announce its Data for Development winner. (BBC)(Technology Review)(Data for Development)

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