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11. 05. 2019 10:05


‘Hacking the Highways’ to improve road users' experience 

PA Consulting and O2 have organised an industry hackathon for this year’s Highways UK event, running at the NEC Birmingham on 6-7 November.

It will explore how anonymised mobile phone data about the journeys we make can help the roads industry solve critical challenges, from congestion and maintenance to poor air quality.

The Hackathon will bring a new focus on technology, innovation and data analytics to the 2019 conference.

Data on use in roads

The ‘Hack the Highways’ event will bring roads, automotive, telecoms and technology sectors together with more traditional engineering and construction firms to create an integrated approach to solving some of the roads sector’s most complex problems.

By encouraging this kind of collaboration, the initiative will help to break down barriers and silos that have been a problem for the roads supply chain in the past.

The participants will work with data scientists, behavioural psychologists and engineers and have exclusive access to O2’s data set - capturing 140m road user journeys, and a range of other open data sources from Highways England, the Met Office and other data providers.

They will be working in collaborative teams, across different technology, engineering and analytics organisations, to find data-driven insights to improve drivers’ experience across the country.

Selected teams will present their insights and recommendations to senior industry attendees, live at Highways UK 2019.

As part of the Hackathon, Highways England has a member of staff with each hack team, to provide insight into road user/network challenges, what insights would be valuable and support on how to source and use other relevant anonymised data sets, in combination with what O2 will be providing.

Charlie Henderson, head of road transport at PA Consulting says: “Collaboration between industry and exploiting data are vital to solving the big challenges in transport. 

"The hackathon is not a competition, but a unique opportunity to work with individuals from many organisations such as Highways England, WSP, TFL and IBM to come up with ingenious solutions that will make a real difference for road users.”

Dave Sweeney, director at O2 Motion, says: “This is the first time we have shared this data externally and the hackathon fits brilliantly with our shared aim of improving the way people in the UK travel.”

Daisy Smith, head of performance analysis and modelling at Highways England, says: “We are looking to work with both existing partners and companies from outside the sector to help us deliver our Digital Roads vision. This hackathon is a great way to stimulate fresh thinking in this area.”


About PA
An innovation and transformation consultancy, it has 3,000 specialists in consumer, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, and transport, travel and logistics. It operates globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics and the Gulf.

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