Traffic analysis with Outdoor Analytics

Rasmus Krone

Head of Marketing & Communication

The Motionlogic solution platform provides a variety of options for using traffic analysis to more effectively organize areas such as public transportation during peak commuter times. Outdoor Analytics is a solution by Telekom subsidiary Motionlogic and is subject to strict German data privacy laws.
Traffic analysis can be useful to traffic infrastructure planners as well as entrepreneurs and authorities. Sound knowledge of traffic flow, for example, can be helpful when planning new public transportation routes based on demand or in planning vehicle deployment based on actual need. Reliable data provided by traffic analysis can also be used to minimize traffic jams or even prevent them entirely.

Traffic analysis can be used in a variety of areas and industries

The sound analysis of traffic flow and movement patterns provided by Telekom subsidiary Motionlogic is based on anonymous, grouped signal data from mobile communications and WiFi networks. This type of traffic analysis makes solutions to pressing transportation infrastructure issues economically feasible. In the past, traffic analysis of all kinds have been created based on manual passenger or vehicle counts, sensor data and surveys. But the expense involved in this type of data collection is high and the findings limited, especially regarding areas outside those being directly monitored. Projections based on this new type of traffic analysis support strategic tactics and can be used to considerably optimize processes in the traffic management area and other industries.
Advantages for …
  • Legal certainty with a legally assured anonymization procedure approved by the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI)
  • Telekom makes sure the data is anonymous
Public sector
  • Costs for traffic analysis and predictions are economically feasible.
  • Traffic counting at "virtual counting points" (individual transport, pedestrian traffic)
  • Flow speed of traffic
  • Departure-destination analysis of traffic patterns
  • Differentiation of modes of transport
  • Aggregated, socio-demographic breakdown of transport users (age group, gender, city/district or state)
Outdoor Analytics can be used in
  • Infrastructure planning
  • Capacity planning and optimization
  • Route optimization: line management, optimizing connections
  • Optimizing timetables and cycle times
  • Developing and optimizing intermodal transportation offers (mix of different modes of transport)
  • Optimizing transportation charges
  • Connection management in case of delays

The technology behind Outdoor Analytics for traffic analysis

The Motionlogic platform makes entirely new forms of outdoor analytics possible and is based on omnipresent technologies like mobile communications and WiFi. The concept is simple. Today, almost every person involved in traffic flows owns a cell phone and generates activity data; when people make phone calls, send messages or go online, these actions are recorded on the mobile communications cell to assist network management processes. The cell phone also automatically connects to the mobile communications network at longer intervals, enabling additional data to be included in movement pattern analysis. All of this data is used anonymously for traffic analysis and Outdoor Analytics can use this data to provide information based on movement patterns throughout all public spaces.
Outdoor Analytics uses the data for anonymous statistical analysis. The Motionlogic technology makes sure that, in all scenarios, data cannot be traced to individuals. The platform was even developed in close collaboration with the office of the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI). That puts Motionlogic in compliance with strict German data privacy laws.

Anonymization and data privacy in traffic analysis

Signal data from the mobile communications network that has been grouped and made fully and reliably anonymous combined with selected socio-demographic user characteristics, which have also been made anonymous, serve as the basis of Outdoor Analytics.
Data is subjected to several steps to make sure it is reliably anonymous:
  • Personal information (name, phone number, etc.) is deleted and not used in the traffic analysis.
  • Movement patterns are segmented so that no individual movement patterns can be identified.
  • The findings are summarized in statistical analysis.
  • These steps all take place at one of Deutsche Telekom's high-security data centers to which Motionlogic has no access.
  • The processes were developed in close collaboration with the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (BfDI).
  • The processes are audited and certified by external testing agencies for data privacy.

Outlook: Indoor Analytics

In addition to Outdoor Analytics, Motionlogic also offers a solution for buildings and retail stores: Indoor Analytics. This solution is primarily used in scenarios such as monitoring customer movement patterns at stores and shopping centers. WLAN is typically used to collect the data, completely anonymous and in compliance with German data privacy laws.
Case study: public transportation