As the key to many transport functions, data is collected, processed, disseminated (as travel information) and purchased (from third parties) by local authorities. Historical, static or real-time data is used to support functions such as transport planning, traffic and fleet (eg, public transport) management, delivering real-time travel information and increasingly to know more about, and to influence, travel behaviour.

The transport data landscape has changed substantially in recent years. The amount of transport data held by the private sector has grown exponentially, be that travel app operators, mobile phone operators, vehicle manufacturers or individual mobility service providers. Data sharing between the public and private sector has become a very topical subject and is certainly not yet resolved.

The move to open up data by public authorities, which has accelerated over the past 10 years, has brought home to authorities that data does have a value. Through simple or more complex processing, it is possible to gain useful insights to how people and goods move and generally to how the transport network as a whole is performing. The open data movement has also revealed that public authorities may be lacking the data management skills and resources to be able to harness the full potential of data, which is something that some cities and regions are addressing, with the support of central government in some cases.

Polis has covered extensively the topics of open/access to data in the Working Group on Traffic Efficiency.

Road safety data

Data is an essential tool to plan effective road safety strategies and actions and evaluate their effectiveness. There are substantial efforts to improve road safety data collection at the European level, as proved by the work of organisations such as the European Transport Safety Council. Nevertheless, there is still very little data on local and urban road safety which can be used to benchmark initiatives and carry out meaningful cross-border analyses. One of the main reasons is the lack of common indicators for urban road safety in Europe, and the various types of methodologies for accident reporting and data collection.

POLIS facilitates the exchange of information on road safety data between local authorities, researchers and interested stakeholders. We have gathered data from several European cities and local authorities to start building a European database on urban road safety. A template with agreed indicators has been defined and can be downloaded here as ‘urban road safety data collection template’. All interested local authorities are invited to fill this template and to send the data to Polis secretariat by e-mail. All data will be handled confidentially.

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