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News & opinion

8 FEB 2019

Real-time data for real live people

Urban dynamics are being changed by the staggering amounts of robust, real-time data we can now access. This data allows planners to build complex models of where people stop to chat, where they get an Uber from, where they take selfies, even what they do during a grand prix...

All this is enabled by the expansion of big-data sets, such as Transport for London’s Open Data system (which makes all Oyster travel card activity publicly available), projects like OpenStreetMap, social network data, smart sensors and video recognition technology.

Data in action: LIVE Singapore!

Making use of this type of data is the goal of the LIVE Singapore! Project. This taps into data generated by the city’s users – such as taxi journey times and cargo movements – and makes it accessible on an open platform that anyone can use to create applications that help improve the lives of Singapore’s inhabitants.

Racing posts

Live events that take place in Singapore, such as the street-based Formula One grand prix, have a significant impact on people’s behaviour. The LIVE! platform enables users to see responses to such events, by using colour and size to highlight the level of text messaging during such occasions.

Data visualisation apps


Currently being developed by Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, this app uses augmented reality to simulate new buildings before construction. Users will be able to point their smartphone at a site and see a visualisation of the proposal.

Urban Intelligence

This start-up is combing national and neighbourhood policies for planning applications. Users can click on a site in the interactive map and access all the relevant documents in one place.


Residents receive images of potential scenarios accompanied by either a yes, no, or preference question. The proposals could be as simple as a street with more public benches or trees, for example. To give feedback on the suggested scenario, users simply swipe right for yes or left for no.

Improving taxi services

Getting a taxi can be difficult at the best of times, and the platform provides real-time data demonstrating the impact that rainfall has on this transportation system. The aim is to use this information to help ensure supply and demand is better met and streamlined in the future.

Keeping traffic moving

Sometimes, what appears to be the shortest route isn’t necessarily the quickest. Thanks to data obtained from taxis, people get a unique look at the city’s roads enabling them to see the reality of travel times, and the impact that evolving conditions and new developments are having on urban mobility.

Tracking cargo

Singapore’s airport and sea port are among the busiest in the world, acting as stop-off points for carriers from all continents. A live map provides an insight into how the city manages such a huge level of incoming and outgoing cargo, where it’s coming from, and how much stays in the region.