PoliVisu Kicks-Off in Gent!

It is trite but true that many cities are currently under pressure, whether it’s due to urban sprawl, poor governance or the effects of globalisation. Transport systems are especially affected because they must also meet the evolving social demand for affordability and quality; for disabled access, uninterrupted access to infrastructure and a 24-hour access to public services; as well as for many of the services associated with the gig economy like car-sharing. So what should authorities do deliver transport policies that have citizens’ interests at heart? How can they minimise disruption to city life resulting from the nightmarish but necessary roadworks? And can this disruption nudge commuters toward new routes and modes, ones that are shorter and more convenient perhaps? These were just some of the questions that 15 partners, discussed at the launch of PoliVisu initiative in Ghent on 7-8 November 2017.

PoliVisu is a three-year long Horizon 2020 project that will transform local transport systems, making them more optimised, resilient and citizen-centric. To that end, it will work with the three cities of Ghent, Pilsen and Issy-les-Moulineaux to promote data-driven policymaking as a solution to urban mobility challenges, including parking difficulties, traffic congestion and inadequate transport infrastructure. The experience of pilots and other cities across Europe shows that policymaking can be a long and laborious process, and that making agile policy decisions is easier said than done. PoliVisu will change that by offering new methods and tools to public administrations, enabling them to easily explore, experiment and test innovative approaches in response to local problems. Its framework envisages agile policymaking as a continuous process consisting of three cycles. The design cycle reconciles the views of different stakeholders and facilitates experimentation of policy scenarios through data visualisation. The implementation cycle goes beyond mere policy execution and includes frequent communication activities coupled with reaction monitoring, while the evaluation cycle is all about assessing policy impact on areas like environment, mobility, financing and citizen welfare.

Supporting all these activities will be a set of ICT tools that partners intend to use to varying degrees at different stages of the project. They include Geosparc open source visualisation components, JavaScript WebGLayer library, MICKA metadata catalogue, social media evaluation tool TruthNext, WARP 10 platform for working with sensor data, MACQ smart mobility platform, Open Transport Map for visualising traffic volumes and SensLog integrated solution for sensor networks.

“What is clear now is that the project has an ambitious vision and a correspondingly high potential to realise it while delivering multiple benefits to a variety of stakeholders” said PoliVisu coordinator Geert Mareels of Informatie Vlaanderen. “There will be financial benefits for public administrations and logistics companies; business opportunities for consultancy and IT firms; greater policy acceptance among citizens translating into greater political capital for policymakers and politicians; improved quality of life, including environmental conditions; and more opportunities to innovate thanks to the availability of new data, knowledge and tools. We invite cities in Europe and beyond to join us on this exciting new journey!”

PoliVisu is a joint effort of many partners. Five are from Belgium: Vlaams Gewest, Stad Gent, IS-practice, Geosparc and Macq. Five from the Czech Republic: EDIP, Help Service Remote Sensing, InnoConnect, Sprava Informacnich Technologii Mesta Plzne and Plan4All. Two from France: Issy Media and Citi Zen Data. The remaining three are Athens Technology Center (Greece), Politecnico Di Milano (Italy) and 21c Consultancy (UK).

Follow @PoliVisu on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to keep abreast of all the latest news and forthcoming activities.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 769608.

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