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Alan Turing Institute and Toyota Mobility Foundation collaborate to modernize city planning and traffic management

The Alan Turing Institute—the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence—and the Toyota Mobility Foundation are collaborating on a project to transform the way cities are planned and managed. The objective of this new project, Optimizing flow within mobility systems with AI, part of the Turing’s new AI program, is to transition complex traffic management from static systems into dynamic, optimized systems that are managed in real-time across many types of mobility.

The work is an 18-month, £650,000+ (US$871,000+) collaboration between the Turing and Toyota Mobility Foundation. Researchers will also be working with data providers, and government managers underpinning future cities, as well as drawing upon expertise from the Turing and partner universities’ ongoing work in the area with the Greater London Authority, and mobility expertise within the Toyota Mobility Foundation.

Potential outcomes include:

  • Integrating an AI system for traffic lights (signal) control;

  • Building a platform for interactive data manipulation to monitor and predict traffic behavior, and to test out planning scenarios; and

  • Finding mechanisms for fleet operators and cities to work together, for example by sharing data about congestion or pollution hotspots, and rerouting around the problem before it becomes serious.

Our vision is that city planners and operators should have a system that shows them real-time data feeds, lets them analyse how the city is working, integrates mathematical and computer modelling as well as machine learning models so that they can test out scenarios, and gives them insight into when behaviour patterns are changing. Because of data and new technology, transport patterns can now change dramatically in a short time. We hope that this will lead to improvements in health and mobility for city populations as well as safety and efficiency in traffic management.

—Alan Wilson, CEO of The Alan Turing Institute and lead researcher

While there has been significant focus on AI inside the vehicle, we are excited for the opportunity to work with the Turing to bring data science and AI to a complementing facet of mobility: Infrastructure. We believe mobility is critical to promoting societal progress and improving lives around the world, and this project represents an important step to improve the social good and help achieve harmony in mobility across all modes for all citizens.

—Ryan Klem, Director of Programs for the Toyota Mobility Foundation

The Toyota Mobility Foundation was established in August 2014 to support the development of a better mobile society. The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. Programs include resolving urban transportation problems, expanding the utilization of personal mobility, and developing solutions for next generation mobility.

The Alan Turing Institute is named in honor of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence.


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