Harnessing Open Data and AI Initiatives to Reduce Traffic in the Philippines
On April 29, 2023, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for freedom Philippines, in partnership with Smart CT, hosted Open Data to AI: Smart Mobility for Reducing Traffic in the Philippines at the SF Gallery in Quezon City. The event celebrated Open Data Day 2023 and aimed to explore how open data and artificial intelligence (AI) can help encourage smart mobility and ease traffic congestion in the Philippines.
Representatives from the public, private, and civil society sectors came together to discuss the advantages and challenges of using open data and AI. The ultimate goal was to inspire collaboration in open data and AI initiatives to promote innovative and sustainable solutions for smart mobility.
Dr. Rainer Adam, Interim Project Director for FNF Philippines, opened the event citing how he hopes everyone would "have an interesting exchange with the experts and have a fruitful discussion". Dr. Adam was optimistic that everyone "hopefully is able to spread and to make more people aware what potential new technology gives us in order to work for a better and more environmentally friendly world".
Kris Libunao, Executive Director of Smart CT, also gave opening remarks to the event saying how "The goal of this particular event is to really build the community around smart mobility. What we notice is currently we are still in silos and what we want to happen is to really have a tight knit community in terms of smart mobility". She reinforced the advocacy citing that "[We] want everyone to be open regarding their ideas, open regarding their risks and opportunities, and of course the challenges that we have currently in smart mobility. And from there, build a community that can sustain the smart mobility in small cities in the country. What we want is for the commuters to be coordinated, to be transparent, so that the commuters will have a more comfortable travel".
The event featured several speakers who provided valuable insights into the role of open data and AI in shaping the future of transportation in their respective sectors.
One of the speakers, Joanna May Macaranas, the Project Manager of the Department of Transportation, talked about the benefits of using AI and open data to influence the future of public transit. She also introduced the Davao Mobility project, a comprehensive strategy that promotes smart mobility and sustainable transportation in Davao City.
Atty Kent Avestruz, the Deputy General Manager of Megaworld, a leading real estate developer in the Philippines, discussed the organization's strategy for mobility within its townships. Megaworld builds townships that are accessible, sustainable, walkable, and bikeable for all people, regardless of their means of transportation. Atty Avestruz also talked about how Megaworld is exploring the use of AI-powered traffic management systems to ease congestion.
Myles Delfin, founder of Bike Scouts Ph, spoke about the data-driven revolution of micro-mobility. He stressed the importance of considering the human experience in creating sustainable transportation solutions that are not only effective but also considerate of the requirements and experiences of their users. Delfin questioned the conventional approach to smart mobility that frequently puts technology before people.
Ann Clarice Ng, the Executive Director of SafeTravelPH Mobility Innovations Organization, Inc., discussed the collaborative future of open data, AI, and smart mobility. She introduced Safe Travel Ph Mobility Innovations, a non-profit organization that aims to promote safe and sustainable mobility options in the Philippines. The organization develops and implements innovative solutions to transportation problems through collaboration with various stakeholders.
Ann spoke of the transportation system as "something that we use every day and we're affected by it. And as long as someone is using the transport system, there are needs to be improvements to be done. We've all contributed to AI. We all started with kind of fake data, but now AI is the thing. Our goal is to help people untie the brain knots related to AI. In other words, actually, there are a lot of consultancies, a lot of IT firms, but they're used to implementing. But what we see in the market is there's a lack of ideas. Actually, there are a lot of IT people, but they don't use data. So we try to bridge the gap."
The Open Data day event became a platform for promoting collaboration among representatives from various sectors to find innovative solutions for smart mobility. By exploring the benefits and challenges of using open data and AI, the event inspired stakeholders to make open data and AI initiatives a top priority in shaping the future of mobility in the Philippines.
Watch highlights of the event below: