Data Science is Important to Make Better Decision in Transportation

image1 SBM ITB in collaboration with MRT Jakarta, held a workshop “Data Science to Support Behavioral Modeling in Transportation” (24/9/2018). Attended by academicians, data scientists, and transportation industries, the workshop discuss about the increased importance of data to understand people behavior in using mass transportation. It also marked the first collaboration between SBM ITB and MRT Jakarta in disseminating knowledge and information in the area of transportation, especially related to the target of the first run of MRT Jakarta trains in March 2019.

Opened by the CEO of MRT Jakarta, Dr. William Sabandar, and started by the Keynote Speech from the Founder of the school, Prof. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto the session run well. Prof. Kuntoro shared an interesting story when he studied his Master at Stanford University back in the 1970s. During that time, he conducted a feasibility study of a new train route between San Francisco and San Jose. The research team then performed a thorough study using manual methods and calculation that used many papers. “Nowadays, these manual methods are no longer used as we utilize big data. That is data science, and it will lead us to make a better decision,” he said.

Director of Operations and Maintenance of MRT Jakarta, Dr. Agung Wicaksono as one of the speakers, shared the findings of ridership survey performed by MRT Jakarta. The study involved more than 10,000 respondents to reveal the Jakartans’ willingness to pay for the future MRT ticket, and the people’s willingness to shift to using the train to commute. “It was found that more than 65 percent of respondents are willing to move to MRT for commuting. It is estimated that the MRT would load 130.000 passengers a day with an approximate trip distance of 10 km/trip,” said Agung.

Continue to the next speaker Dr. Yos Sunitiyoso from SBM ITB and Ir. Alvinsyah, M.Sc from the University of Indonesia provided insights about the importance of behavior modeling in transportation. Transportation modeling is useful to identify patterns of transportation preferences from users, in that way decision and policy can be designed to provide better use of transportation, especially public transportation usage.

The workshop also invited two Indonesians who currently work for Grab in its headquarter in Singapore, Jourdan Hussein as the Regional Manager of New Products and Hendra Wirawan as Senior Data Scientist. They shared the current practice of data in making better transportation service in one of the largest online transportation providers in South East Asia. The interesting thing in this session is the fact that Grab has the vision to promote active urban mobility to its customers. “By currently operating in most major countries in South East Asia and in 137 cities in Indonesia, data is essential for Grab to serve both its customers and drivers. For instance, Grab utilizes data to make better location prediction so that customers will be matched with the nearest drivers when they make a booking.”

The last speaker in the workshop is Rizal Khaefi from UN Pulse Lab, a UN Agency whose main goal is to utilize data science to alleviate problems in transportation, urban, economic development, and other areas. Currently, UN Pulse Lab has 3 laboratories global wide, in New York, Jakarta, and Kampala. Rizal shared the research activity from UN Pulse Lab to identify the Origin-Destination transportation pattern of people in Jakarta Metropolitan area. Having done this research, UN Pulse Lab can provide suggestion to the government on how to make better transportation development.

This collaborate workshop between SBM ITB and MRT Jakarta is an example of how data science as an emerging discipline can be developed collaboratively by academician, industry, government, and society. In the future, further collaboration is expected to find solutions in current pressing issues in our society.