Grab and MDEC to integrate real-time traffic data for Malaysia City Brain initiative

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Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and fintech (financial technology) platform in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, and the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) have formalized a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of the Malaysia City Brain initiative.

First announced in January this year, the Malaysia City Brain project represents the development of an MDEC-led smart city traffic management system, which uses big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to help the country’s fast-growing capital city, Kuala Lumpur, better manage its urban transportation needs.

Used by 2.5 million Southeast Asians daily, Singapore-based Grab operates the region’s largest transport network, which is a key source for efficient and accurate data that represents real drivers and city dwellers in everyday conditions.

Under the new MoU, MDEC will be able to make use of Grab’s ability to provide substantial amounts of traffic data through its app-based ride hailing, ridesharing and logistics services, in order to help Kuala Lumpur’s smart city traffic management aspirations.

Grab’s real-time, anonymized traffic data will include traffic speeds and travel times for popular Kuala Lumpur routes. This will be coupled with existing traffic sources such as video feeds from the 500 CCTV cameras and 300 traffic lights that are controlled by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

The Grab data will also be integrated with social media feeds and traffic information from local traffic agencies and government sources, in order to provide city planners with a more comprehensive view of conditions on the roads. When processed using cloud computing and AI-based technologies, it is expected that the Malaysia City Brain will be able to identify potential traffic challenges and develop better predictive modeling and more efficient management of city traffic in real time.

“Our core mission is to help provide safe, efficient, convenient and affordable mobility solutions to cities in like Kuala Lumpur. By working with strategic partners like MDEC and the Government of Malaysia, we can offer the Malaysia City Brain effort our expertise from across the region, along with the vast anonymized data that is generated daily by our drivers,” explained Sean Goh, country head of Grab Malaysia.

“This will help provide urban planners and traffic managers greater success in resolving key transportation issues, enhance emergency services response times, and reduce congestion. It also allows better insights in addressing the growing transportation demands and urban transport planning of one of the leading digitally-enabled capital cities in Southeast Asia.”

Dr Karl Ng Kah Hou, director of data economy at MDEC, noted, “We are delighted that Grab is working with us to further build on the success of Malaysia City Brain, particularly as this high-impact initiative to catalyze the nation’s AI ecosystem is vitally dependent on the richness and variety of its data sources.

“The sharing of such data resources by Grab will also help our planners to better understand the unique transportation needs of each city, and will help us to better deal with using the roads more effectively in real time.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).