Each industry is undergoing digital transformation, and a lot of this begins with research and development into applying technology to fundamental issues. At the crux of research and development to create productive innovations we need reliable data. The data that is collected can make an active difference if more people can have secure access to it.

Examples of where mobility data stems from include the findings of GPS devices, CCTV footage, IoT sensor data, satellite imagery, and much more besides. Access to mobility data is crucial for informed urban planning, efficient transportation systems, and sustainable development by enabling evidence-based decision-making and responsive solutions to societal needs as they evolve.

The European Commission has released clear objectives as part of a digital strategy to enable us to do more with mobility data through initiatives like the European Strategy for Data and the Data Governance Act.

This article will detail these initiatives and let us know what to expect when we unlock the potential of mobility data for Europe’s digital future.

The role of mobility data in Europe's digital landscape

Mobility data refers to information generated by the movement of people, vehicles, or goods, providing insights into transportation patterns, trends, and dynamics within a given geographical area. To unlock the potential of this data, the European Commission has a strategic approach that involves multiple initiatives for one unified goal.

The European Commission's policies on mobility data focus on unlocking its potential to support digital and green transformation through EU initiatives, aiming to establish fair rules, invest in infrastructure, and foster data literacy.

Ultimately, this collection of policies and initiatives reveals that there is an increasing awareness of the importance of data: we should not be making decisions without it. As we embark on enhancing our towns and cities into smart cities, we need to keep referring back to mobility data to see where the room for improvement lies, what people need, and how we can increase sustainability.

Examples of how we can use mobility data

Looking at the European Commission’s plans for mobility data, if we have free access to this data, we could reduce the time we spend in traffic. The data equips councils to see how road layouts and traffic signalling need to be optimised.

This can be applied to planning extensions of public transport. What areas need a bus route? Capturing data along train, tram, and bus routes will help us identify overcrowding, which would show the requirement for increased services, for example.

Key components of Europe's digital strategy for mobility

  • Carrying out the European Strategy for Data which encompasses 5 actions such as setting clear rules on data access across sectors and joining forces to build a European federated cloud capacity.
  • Creating a “cross-sectoral framework for data” through the Data Governance Act. This will allow the government to access business data helping to create necessary legislation and not have to second guess decisions. The framework will strengthen how we share valuable data.
  • Scheduling upcoming initiatives for data transfer within transport such as creating the digital transport and logistics forum which is an expert group working on creating a shared system for easily exchanging data in the freight transport and logistics sector.
  • Announcing the mobility sector as a “common European data space”.
  • Investing into the deployment of cloud and edge computing to enhance the mobility data space, by facilitating reliable mobility services and fostering data exchange within the automotive production ecosystem.

Why is it important to integrate mobility data into public services and infrastructure?

With each industry’s digital transformation, whether it’s in pharma or education, there is always initial resistance to change. We need to see improved technological innovations, powered by data, to be deeply beneficial and crucial for our day-to-day lives as well as for public safety.

For example, taking advantage of mobility data can equip us to:

  • Improve emergency response - During emergencies or public safety incidents, mobility data helps authorities track population movements, assess the impact, and plan effective emergency response strategies. Looking closely at this data, we can improve situational awareness enabling quicker and more targeted emergency responses, leading to enhanced public safety and potentially saving lives. We can also analyse mobility data once the emergency has taken place to specify what the emergency response should be to various incidents. In simple terms, we can learn from the past.
  • Optimise resource allocation - Integrating mobility data allows for the efficient allocation of resources based on actual usage patterns and demand for public services. This is important because governments can better allocate their budgets, prioritise projects, and ensure that resources are directed to areas and services where they are most needed, maximising the benefits for the community.
  • Creating inclusive and accessible services - Mobility data identifies areas with limited accessibility. Governments can improve accessibility by implementing infrastructure projects that enhance connectivity and ensure that public services are accessible to all members of the community. Accessibility can be kept at the heart of urban development.

What role does mobility play in the environment and eco-friendly initiatives?

The European Commission’s plan will advance sustainable and smart mobility solutions. Mobility data provides real-time insights into transportation patterns, facilitating informed decision-making for urban planning and infrastructure development.

Through the analysis of mobility data, we can reconsider public transportation routes, reduce congestion, and promote eco-friendly modes of transport, contributing to a more sustainable and efficient urban environment.

Furthermore, the integration of mobility data enables the development of smart mobility solutions, fostering innovation in transportation technologies and enhancing the overall quality and accessibility of urban mobility services.

In conclusion

Through the digitalisation of the mobility sector and improved access to data, we’ll see further advancements such as autonomous vehicles, connected logistics, and new mobility services.

The benefits of the European Commission’s initiatives include safer and more efficient transportation, decarbonisation, increased accessibility, improved data synchronisation, and support for zero-emission mobility.

To make the European Commission’s strategy a reality, it is up to the contributions of policymakers, industry leaders, and citizens. If we can collectively embrace the importance of mobility data, we can shape a smarter and more sustainable future.