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The General Directory of the Walloon Service for Public Roads wins the Agoria Smart Cities Award 2017

27 January 2017 – Orange and Maxime Prévot, Walloon Minister of Public Works and Road Safety, are proud to announce that the Walloon Service for Public Roads received the “Agoria Smart Cities Award 2017” for the crowd monitoring initiative to solve the mobility problems resulting from the growing success of the Pairi Daiza family park. An action plan was imminent for the community of Gages to improve the daily life of its inhabitants during peak season, as well as the optimisation of traffic through the region as the roads could not handle heavy traffic jams.

Last year the park attracted during peak season over 1 million Belgian and foreign visitors, which led to a huge number of vehicles in the villages surrounding the park. To improve the accessibility of this important park and limit the impact of heavy traffic for its inhabitants, Maxime Prévot asked the Walloon Service for Public Roads in July 2016 to study the feasibility of a mobility solution. To better understand how many vehicles crossed the region, where they came from, and which roads they took when visiting the park, the Walloon Public Service ordered via a public contract an innovative crowd monitoring solution to map mobility issues. The results of the analysis conducted by Orange and CROPLAND will lead to a new mobility plan adapted to the traffic increase by Pairi Daiza.

“Agoria Smart Cities Award” for Pairi Daiza crowd monitoring project
The General Directory of the Walloon Service for Public Roads explains: “Nice spring weather and the immense success of the panda bears lead to enormous traffic jams in the wide surroundings of Pairi Daiza last year. In addition to long queuing times for park visitors, locals were often blocked in their cars not knowing which roads to take. To solve the traffic issues, we wanted to partner with a reliable party that could analyse the situation before we started making the necessary changes in our mobility plan. We selected CROPLAND and Orange to provide us with all the necessary info and analysis to improve mobility in our region.”

Michaël Trabbia, CEO of Orange Belgium, elaborates: “Together with CROPLAND we used our innovative methodology to create 6 areas around Pairi Daiza to map traffic, based on the data captured from the masts in Ath and Mons as from the opening of the park in March 2016. We also installed an antenna in the park to target the visitors data and exclude the inhabitants or tourists not visiting the park. Thanks to our origin-destination matrix and a moving timeframe per area we were able to map inhabitants along with national and international visitors on main roads and visiting the park. Because our tool allows us to go back in time (up to 1 year) we gathered valuable information (completely anonymised at the source) about the amount and origin of people moving in these specific areas since the opening of the park: during peak hours, holidays, the weekend, … This valuable information helped the Walloon Service for Public Roads to better understand the traffic problems in the region. This is a nice example of the power of big data solutions that service smart cities with an absolute guaranty of the privacy of personal data.”

CROPLAND and Orange offer these crowd-monitoring solutions to cities, governments and all parties who encounter mobility challenges, in order to better understand traffic jams before improving their mobility plan.

The advantages of crowd monitoring
Crowd monitoring offers numerous new possibilities for cities and municipalities, besides the monitoring of crowds. For example, the CROPLAND-Orange tool can measure the impact of weather conditions on how a crowd moves, the pressure on the feeder roads to and from the event and much more.

Not only can crowd monitoring improve mobility and safety during events, it can also help cities and municipalities improve their marketing. Day tourism, stay over tourism, and the organisation of events all have major economic impacts on a city. New measurement techniques and “big data” analytical tools make it possible to detect and map out mobile devices and offer valuable info that can be used to decide where city marketing needs to focus: where do most visitors come from, how long do they spend in a specific area…

Data privacy is always respected
The sources of the analytical data are anonymised traffic data from the Orange network. The data are anonymised at the source and filtered via specific algorithms in order to comply with the regulations on the protection of personal data at all times.

Maxime Prévot is pleased with the results obtained from the new technology Orange offered. He wishes to encourage such partnerships in the future as they offer adequate solutions to improve the mobility on Walloon roads and therefore also ensure the safety of the drivers.

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