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Malaysia City Brain initiative to use real-time, anonymised traffic data from Grab

Malaysia City Brain initiative to use real-time

The Malaysian
Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has signed
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
with southeast Asia’s leading ride hailing company, Grab, for the development
of the Malaysia City Brain initiative.

The Malaysia City Brain project was first announced
in January 2018, to use big data,
artificial intelligence and cloud computing to help the fast-growing
city better manage its urban transportation needs. The key
players involved in Malaysia City Brain are MDEC, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
(DBKL or Kuala Lumpur City Hall), and Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of
Alibaba Group.

At the time, it was revealed that DBKL is providing access
to camera live feeds, traffic light information as well as information on any
events and road work, while MDEC is leading the data analytics and project
management for the City Brain. Alibaba Cloud is the platform provider and
subject matter expert. 

A 2015 World Bank report estimated that about five million
people get stuck in the Klang Valley traffic every day. They spend 250 million
hours a year stuck in traffic, costing the country 1.1 to 2.2 percent of its
GDP in 2014. This has likely become even more costly in the years since.

Under this new partnership, Grab’s real-time, anonymised traffic data, including traffic
speeds and travel times for popular Kuala Lumpur routes will be shared. This
will be coupled with existing traffic sources like video feeds from 500 CCTV
cameras and 300 traffic lights under Kuala Lumpur City Hall; social media feeds
and traffic information from local traffic agencies and Government sources to
provide city planners a more comprehensive view of conditions on the roads.

The data will be processed using cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based
technologies to identify potential traffic challenges, develop better
predictive modeling, and more efficient management of city traffic in real
time.

“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 of Malaysia, 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. 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 South East Asia,” said Sean Goh, Country Head of Grab
Malaysia.

According to the Moving SEA Together report, Grab influences the travel
decisions of 2.5 million Southeast Asians daily. As Malaysia and Southeast
Asia’s largest transport network, it is a key source for efficient and accurate
data that represents real drivers and city dwellers in everyday conditions.

 “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
(AI) 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 by
Grab will also help our city planners to better understand the unique
transportation needs of each city and neighbourhood. This will helping 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: Working together,
we will continue to move Malaysia ahead!” said Dr Karl Ng Kah Hou, Director of Data Economy at MDEC.

Grab has been involved previous in various Malaysian
public-private initiatives. This includes a collaboration between Malaysia SEA
games Organising Committee (MASOC) and Grab during the 2017 SEA Games. The collaboration
achieved its objective of mitigating traffic congestion

In April 2017, the OpenTraffic initiative was launched
in Malaysia by MDEC, Grab, and the World Bank Group. The initiative was
intended to provide traffic data from Grab’s GPS data streams to Malaysia’s
traffic management agencies and city planners.

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