The Winner: Grab – Open Traffic with the World Bank

Grab is the largest ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, with over 400,000 drivers on its network in 31 cities across 6 countries. As a social startup, it aims to make transportation accessible to all and thereby improve lives.

To build on that social mission, Grab agreed with the World Bank in April 2015 to provide the OpenTraffic smart data platform to governments in a regional public-private partnership (PPP) designed to assist traffic monitoring and management. The platform, and associated training and support, is provided free of cost.

In many regional cities, resource-constrained traffic management agencies have a hard time mitigating congestion. They traditionally employ manual survey methods and install physical sensors to collect traffic data. Such methods require substantial capital outlays, maintenance and technical expertise, and the reach is limited.

OpenTraffic overcomes those obstacles by marrying the functional expertise of the World Bank with the data that Grab collects and transmits in real time. The widespread use of Grab’s application made possible an open-source platform that analyses travel speed, journey time and traffic congestion information derived from the smartphones of Grab’s drivers.

The platform converts Grab’s GPS data into real-time traffic statistics, providing governments with a wealth of information to help them make decisions on traffic management.

Grab and the World Bank identified government agencies in each country that had the technical and human resources to lead the PPP on behalf of their governments, starting with the Philippines’ Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

In the months leading up to the launch, the World Bank and Grab held training sessions for government officers from agencies that would use OpenTraffic, including  the Philippines National Police, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metro Manila Development Authority.

OpenTraffic was then rolled out in Manila in April and a public launch for Malaysia is also planned for this year.

The OpenTraffic platform is being used by Philippine government agencies in the planning and evaluation of new policies and to monitor the impact of traffic management initiatives.

Data from the OpenTraffic platform is being merged with a road incident database developed by the World Bank, called DRIVER, to enable emergency response agencies to position and deploy units in a more efficient manner.

The launch in the Philippines stoked interest from other governments eager to bring the PPP to their countries and rollouts are planned for Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.

The award was presented by Gold Standard Awards judge Karen Khaw to GRAB at the gala awards reception in Hong Kong