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MEDIA RELEASE

PA Consulting and O2 launch ‘Hack the Highways’ to improve road user experience

PA Consulting, the consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, and O2 have organised an industry hackathon for this year’s Highways UK event, running in Birmingham on 6-7 November. This will explore how anonymised, aggregated mobile phone data about the journeys we make can help the roads industry solve critical challenges, from congestion and maintenance to poor air quality. The Hackathon will bring a new focus on technology, innovation and data analytics to the 2019 conference.  

The ‘Hack the Highways’ event will bring roads, automotive, telecoms and technology sectors together with more traditional engineering and construction firms to create an integrated approach to solving some of the roads sector’s most complex problems.  By encouraging this kind of collaboration, the initiative will help to break down barriers and silos that have been a problem for the roads supply chain in the past. 

The participants will work with data scientists, behavioural psychologists and engineers to analyse an anonymised, aggregated data set from O2 - capturing 140m anonymous road user journeys, and a range of other open data sources from Highways England, the Met Office and other data providers. They will be working in collaborative teams, across different technology, engineering and analytics organisations, to find data-driven insights to improve drivers’ experience across the country. Selected teams will present their insights and recommendations to senior industry attendees, live at Highways UK 2019.

Charlie Henderson, head of roads at PA Consulting, said: “Collaboration between industry and exploiting data are vital to solving the big challenges in transport. The hackathon is not a competition, but a unique opportunity to work with individuals from many organisations such as Highways England, WSP, TFL to come up with ingenious solutions that will make a real difference for road users.”

Dave Sweeney, director at O2 Motion, said: “Anonymous crowd data can help transport providers deliver better customer service, so it’s really interesting to be working on this project with PA Consulting. It fits brilliantly with our shared aim of improving the way people in the UK travel and we’re excited to see how the new technologies and partners brought together here can further enhance road travel across the country.”

Welcoming the opportunity to be part of the event, Daisy Smith, head of performance analysis and modelling at Highways England, said: “We are looking to work with both existing partners and companies from outside the sector to help us deliver our “Digital Roads” vision. This hackathon is a great way to stimulate fresh thinking in this area.”

The PA hackathon takes place on 6 and 7 November at Highways UK.

Read more about Hack the Highways

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