There are many challenges in finding, accessing and making use of transport related data. It is dispersed across a variety of data custodians and it is often not able to work with multiple systems or ready to use by researchers. In addition to this, the tools a researcher requires for analysis, modelling and visualisation can also be difficult to access, use and apply to available data.
Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) is leading a collaboration with researchers, planners and policy makers from across Australia to create the Australian Transport Research Cloud (ATRC). Through funding provided by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), a national digital infrastructure enabled by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the ATRC platform will deliver streamlined data and tools to accelerate transport research and impacts across Australia.
AURIN has been providing world-class Australian researchers with capabilities to develop the evidence-base they need for informed, effective decision-making to shape the communities and urban environments we live in. The ATRC platform will extend AURIN’s existing infrastructure to enable a better understanding of both current and future supply and demand of transport and mobility services in Australian cities and towns. It will also facilitate collaboration between government, research and industry to enhance the planning of, and investment in transport services and infrastructure that will:
- make public transport more convenient, accessible and efficient
- reduce road congestion and vehicle emissions
- improve urban mobility and reduce commute times
- improve national productivity and international competitiveness
- reduce air pollution, noise pollution and urban heat islands
- improve population health and well-being.
The ATRC will provide a platform to find, access and analyse transport-related data, all aligned with the AURIN metadata standards. Data curation and pre-processing steps will save researchers valuable time and resources and ensure accessibility to reliable, high-quality, licensed data, ready for integration and analysis.
The ATRC platform will also provide access to open source analysis tools and modelling developed by the transport research community such as: the sustainable transport network analysis tool Open TripPlanner (OTP); transport accessibility tools such as the Automatic Dynamic Accessibility Planning Tool (ADAPT); Simulation of Urban MObility (SUMO); and transport network modelling tools such as Multi-Agent Transport Simulation (MATSim). This access will allow researchers to conduct detailed network analyses and mobility simulations to test current and future scenarios.
In addition to the new ATRC platform, AURIN’s existing mapping and visualisation tools will also be improved to enable researchers to explore patterns in urban traffic and people flows, for different modes of transport. Scenario modelling tools will enable researchers to analyse and model the impact of potential policy changes and planning decisions on transport and travel behaviour, to enable more informed decision making.
By providing transport researchers with streamlined access to Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) high-value datasets and open source analysis and modelling tools necessary to address complex transport issues facing our cities, the ATRC platform will deliver the vital knowledge base needed to inform smarter transport, planning and policy making.