Big Data in Transportation: Ethical and Societal Issues

BY Roberto V. Zicari
Frankfurt Big Data Lab
Goethe University Frankfurt

September 15, 2018

Big Data and Transportation

Big Data opens up new opportunities to define “Intelligent” mobility and transportation solutions.

The transportation industry is a leader in creating the so-called Internet of Everything (IoE).

The concept of the Internet of Everything, originated at Cisco, defines IoE as “the intelligent connection of people, process, data and things.”

We can think of IoE as an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT) which is primarily focused on machine-to-machine interactions.

In the transportation industry, each day vast volumes of data are generated, for example through sensors in passenger counting and vehicle locator systems and ticketing and fare collection systems, just to name a few.

This huge amount of data needs to be stored and accumulates over time. The goal to accumulate such Big Data is to create value out of this raw data. By analysing data, we can provide a comprehensive picture of what’s happening.

Using data analytics, leveraging big data tools and predictive analytics, we can help transportation stakeholders, to make better decisions, improve operations, reduce costs, streamline processes, and hopefully better serve travellers and customers.

But, as it is often the case, the use of new technologies, such as in this case big data-driven technologies, creates new ethical and policy issues.

“Normative assessments of transportation plans and policies invoked by policy-makers, researchers and activists often use concepts such as equality, equity, fairness and justice, which are informed by ethical views. Despite the increased interest in these issues in policy debates and research, there are few examples of actual attempts to explicitly address them in transport planning. “ [Anciaes et al.2014 ]

In the rest of this report, we are going to address how the use of data and the deployment of new data-driven technologies may have a strong impact on the Ethical and Societal discussions.

Whenever possible, we will use examples from the Transport sector, which is the domain of the LeMo project, but the issues presented here are valid for other domains as well.

Download .PDF: Big Data in Transportation


This work is conducted as part of the EU H2020-EU.3.4. Project LeMo: Leveraging Big Data to Manage Transport Operations

You may also like...