Waylay and MORE LION launch together www.manyways.be. Manyways is a project that brings mobility data in Belgium to life. We crawl in the deepest digital caves, we drink coffee with the coolest civil servants and play pingpong with the most skilled startups to find interesting data on mobility in your beloved city. The Manyways wizards unleash their IoT skills and mobility insights on the datastreams. They chop, cook, blend and iron the information to make sense and look pretty. Especially for you! You, daily commuter, data enthusiast, mobility expert, concerned citizen, trainspotter and cyclist with a preference for dry underwear.
Manyways.be is a Smart Mobility Belgium project that fetches mobility data from numerous technical platforms. The data streams are boiled, blended, aggregated, mixed, molded and displayed in an interactive map and a real-time dashboard. Mobility information is brought to life, showing the many ways to move around Brussels. And much more, the data, graphs and metrics tell the story of a city. Today, a Manyways.be dashboard is being launched for Brussels Capital Region, with dashboards for the Port of Antwerp and Brussels Airport to be released later on as well.
Why is more than 80% of open data not being used?
Smart cities exist by the grace of smart citizens, people that work together to continuously improve the quality of life and safeguard the future of their communities. Smart citizens are experts in the stories of their own cities To interact with their municipality and shape a citizen-centric policy together, citizens need access to objective and qualitative information about what is happening in their community. Governments recognize this: both European, Belgian and local governments have drafted guidelines and laws on sharing the data they possess, with their citizens. Many cities and economic hotspots in Belgium share information this way, in what is called open data.
But alas, this data is severely underused.. Citizens cannot find it - and if they do, it takes a lot of technical skills and perseverance to process the information. The data is locked up in dusty web portals, in the form of endless files with code that has no meaning to most citizens. The threshold to do something with the information is very high. It not only takes good coding and data analytics skills, one also needs a lot of imagination and subject matter expertise to discover the power and true potential of the encoded data. This results in only a fraction of the open data being effectively used. Some sources claim that this fraction represents only 12% of the open data published.
The Manyways.be approach
Manyways.be closes the gap between technical mobility data and its use by citizens, developers, visitors, commuters, neighbors, mobility experts, academics and local governments themselves. The data gets unlocked, uniformized, stored and processed in real-time on a map and a dashboard with insightful graphs, visualisations and metrics. Manyways.be removes the technical thresholds through instant visualisation.
Manyways.be is built on the smart Waylay.io Internet-of-Things (IoT) platform. Waylay’s automation enables real-time collection and uniformization of all relevant mobility data while adding a layer of intelligence to the processing of information for live visualisations. Moreover, Waylay’s technology enables third parties to have uniform access to all data. In the months to come, a comprehensive interface will be opened up to parties that are interested in working with the data themselves. Fetching processed information from one single point removes the need for a lot of data manipulation, and especially, the need to integrate with all the separate data sources.
What data is brought to life through Manyways.be
The Manyways.be smart city platform for Brussels Capital Region contains a comprehensive map with data on the number of cyclists, the availability of Villo bike sharing, parking garages, the status of tunnels and indications on the traffic intensity, for example the number of vehicles driving around on the city’s ring road. Clicking a symbol on the map shows more information for each specific point. When using Manyways.be on your mobile phone, your location is shown on the map in order to easily find the closest sharing bike or parking garage.
Besides the map, Manyways.be contains an extensive dashboard, organized by means of transport. It’s possible to compare today’s air quality with the average air quality on a typical Friday or check if the number of cars on Brussels’ ring road has an impact on the air you breathe. Another graph shows not only the number of cyclists counted today, but also the impact of rain on cycling behaviour. Have you always had the impression that sharing bikes are used more to descend Brussels’ hills than to go uphill? A comprehensive graph compares the altitude of bike sharing stations and the availability of bikes, so you can finally find out!
The 200.000 train users departing every day from Brussels can in real-time see the share of trains that leaves with a delay, how many trains drive through Brussels at each moment and how the total delay relates to a similar day of the week.
Information on vehicles is included as well; it’s possible to see at a glance the number of cars and other vehicles driving on Brussels’ ring road and how that affects the average speed of those vehicles. The dashboard shows you how travel times and delays evolve throughout the day. Another graph tells you the amount of vehicles that drives into Brussels, versus the number of vehicles leaving the city. Manyways.be also lists the carpool opportunities from and to Brussels today. Clicking one of them brings you to the Carpool.be platform where you can join the ride!
Open mobility data is a much frequented buzz word, but with this dashboard we succeed for the first time in visualizing information in a clear and accessible way. Air quality measurements, the number of cyclists, cars and trains, .. all can be observed, in real-time. Through the dashboard, citizens are informed on mobility in Brussels and experts can correlate data, like the relationship between air quality and car traffic.
- Pascal Smet, Brussels minister of Mobility and Public Works
First Brussels, than the Port of Antwerp, Brussels Airport and the rest of the country.
Today, a Manyways.be dashboard is released for Brussels Capital region. Later this spring, versions are to follow for the Port of Antwerp and Brussels Airport. Thereafter, the data analysis and documentation used to build the dashboards will be shared as open data. This way, the pioneering work can be reused by other cities and economic hotspots that want to visualise mobility data, relevant for them and the people that make them who they are.
On the accuracy and quality of the data
All data is fetched from external (open) data sources. Manyways.be does not perform any quality control on the data contents, meaning that the original source is and remains responsible for the accuracy of the information they share. More information can be found by clicking a widget on the dashboard. Information will pop-up on the source of the data, what manipulations have been performed and parameters to take into account when assessing the quality of the data or deriving conclusions from it.
Who is enabling Manyways.be
Manyways.be is a project funded by Smart Mobility Belgium, an initiative of Belgian ministers De Croo and Bellot. The project is led by Waylay.io, a software scale-up from Ghent that enables real-time orchestration of large amounts of Internet-of-Things data. Waylay collaborates with MORE LION who have a broad experience with smart cities, innovation and mobility. The Manyways.be graphical user interface is designed by Cloudswimmers.