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Data Science: The Smart Technology You Don’t See

Nov 23, 2021 | by Mikkel Schultz & Peter Shashkin

Data-driven software touches our lives every day. Sometimes, it is in ways you see, such as when you check your Twitter feed, pay for your bus ticket or order your latte using your phone. Or view spending trends on your bank account using an app or website. Data science is also at work in ways you don’t see — ways that make your life easier, safer, more convenient, and more fun. This is very much the case with public and personal transportation as technology helps us go places faster. Data powers solutions that connect the dots behind the scenes helping you reach your destination with as little trouble as possible. Indeed, data analytics reduce your travel time, manage traffic congestion and create safer and more accessible ways to use public transit.

When you’re waiting to catch the bus or jump on the commuter train to get to work in the morning, your phone app may tell you whether your ride is on schedule – and exactly how many minutes until the next bus or train arrives at your stop. Did you ever wonder how the apps know all this? When you visit a new city, do you use apps to figure out how to get to your hotel or from one landmark to the next? Data analytics and smart apps make all this possible. Similarly, when winter weather hits and roads need to be cleared, data and analytics can help cities send extra drivers to harder-hit areas needing to be cleared using real-time data, so you know when your street will be plowed.

One of many innovative products built by EastBanc Technologies is TERRAiQ, a cloud-based business intelligence platform that powers our transit- and service-oriented solutions, including TRANSITiQ - fleet tracking for public transit agencies, SNOWiQ– snowplow fleet management, TERRAiQ Taxicabs – data analytics for taxicab and ridesharing operators and regulators, and TERRAiQ Inspections – tracking and management of municipal housing and construction inspections. TERRAiQ technology uses real-time mobile tracking to facilitate vehicle and asset management solutions, providing real benefits for operators and customers.

Check out these examples of how having TERRAiQ under the hold helps municipalities streamline building and construction inspections and ensures buses, trains, cabs and snowplows get to their destinations on time by analyzing real-time data to determine where to be. And when.

TRANSITiQ

Public transportation is a vital ingredient in many people’s daily lives. Commuters and other travelers need a clear, up-to-date view of all available options and predicted travel time for trains and buses. Cities that provide rider services want to improve quality and reliability and increase accessibility and use of public transit. By leveraging the power of data, TRANSITiQ enables users of public transit to see stations, stops, routes and service alerts and even receive location-based push notifications. Notably, TRANSITiQ technology enables accurate prediction of arrival times to stops along transit routes. And by integrating Bluetooth Beacons, cities can even help visually impaired riders to safely navigate the transportation system. TRANSITiQ also gathers crucial business intelligence for municipalities, including performance reports and other relevant statistics.

TERRAiQ Cabs

TERRAiQ pulls the strings on taxicab services too. We’ve all been there. Trying to hail a cab during rush hour, or after that night out, can be frustrating. Either every single cab that passes by is taken or off duty, or there just aren’t any cabs in the area. And it almost always seems to happen when you need that ride the most. But with phone apps and other new smart tools at their disposal, operators and drivers can pinpoint hotspots and easily determine where and when to place their cars – thus optimizing services and helping passengers find their rides quicker. These tools use TERRAiQ-based TERRAiQ Cabs technology to analyze historical and near-real-time data about vehicle locations and ride demand, enabling them to map underserved areas as well as popular destinations and pickup points. TERRAiQ Cabs not only benefits cab drivers and their customers; it also provides crucial information to cities to help them with regulation of local taxi services: A central feature of TERRAiQ Cabs is the ability to gather timely and accurate information about every trip and report it to the municipality for analysis and enforcement.

SNOWiQ

Today’s unpredictable, often extreme, winter weather demands a rapid response from busy cities whose residents expect roads to be plowed quickly and efficiently. Simply put, cities need to minimize the impact of inclement weather on daily commutes and doings by getting snowplows and other machinery on the road as quickly as possible. SNOWiQ tackles available data and clears the way for local government to improve response times and efficiency when bad weather threatens to cripple traffic. By implementing SNOWiQ technology, cities can keep track of road conditions, vehicle locations and high-need areas in real time. Another benefit of SNOWiQ is that it allows cities to call in contractors to boost their snow-clearing fleets when demand peaks. Winter weather can bring cities to a standstill, but by implementing intelligent technology, local authorities can improve efficiency and add flexibility to their operations. It helps them minimize wait times and save money — and residents will know which routes have been cleared and when it’s safe to travel again.

TERRAiQ Inspections

TERRAiQ technology doesn’t just help grease the wheels on public and private transportation; in the form of TERRAiQ Inspections it enables municipalities to streamline how they manage inspections of housing and construction projects by providing a convenient way to dispatch and track inspectors. Meeting the inspection demands of a major city can be a challenge for local authorities but TERRAiQ Inspections makes the task just a bit more manageable. Armed with tablets running GPS-enabled TERRAiQ Inspections-based apps, inspectors carry out their duties and report their findings, while administrators have easy access to real-time tracking of inspection progress and inspector location so they can maximize productivity and minimize response time for urgent inspections. Everything is managed from a simple user interface. 

Similar to SNOWiQ, TERRAiQ Inspections adds flexibility to municipal forces and boosts the gig economy. Local government can train citizen inspectors and, when demand peaks, use the technology to scale its forces and optimize service delivery by bringing in the contractors to join municipal forces and perform inspections on behalf of the government.

TERRAiQ Inspections saves municipalities headaches – and money – and drastically improves the customer experience by providing a quick and transparent inspection and permit-issuance process.

The next time you want to hail a cab, jump on a city bus, seek a plow to clear your snow-blanketed street, or need a construction project inspected so you can move it along, rest assured that data analytics will help make it happen. Smart technology is all around, making daily life just a little bit more enjoyable.