Friday November 2 marked the second demonstration of the RailSmart Project’s proof-of-concept web-based planning platform.
The RailSmart Project, an initiative of the Planning and Transport Research Centre (PATREC) in partnership with the City of Wanneroo, is creating a first-of-its-kind smart land-use and transport planning tool.
The Project’s key objectives are to maximise local employment and transport access to railway station precincts of the METRONET extension to Yanchep within the City of Wanneroo between Butler and Two Rocks.
The first demonstration of the platform held on 28 September highlighted the integration of PATREC’s Accessibility model into the RailSmart platform. It also gave an overview of the system’s foundational architecture.
This second demonstration saw RailSmart’s large collaborative team of researchers, clients and consultants reconvened to assess further developments to the platform, including the integration of additional research models.
RailSmart Project Manager and PATREC Research Fellow, Dr. Linda Robson opened RailSmart’s Demo 2 presentation by introducing the scope of RailSmart, and how it will powerfully contribute towards meeting Project objectives once integrated with other PATREC research,
“ As it stands at the moment, the tool is largely Metropolitan Perth analysis.
We are taking five tools, which PATREC has developed before, and running them into a model.
We are then modelling the whole of Perth Metro with these tools, spitting the data out for analysis via a user-friendly dashboard, which reflects the resulting statistics. These can then be used for scenario building, in other words predicting future trends.
The next stage will move onto applying this process to Wanneroo by working with the City of Wanneroo business and structure plans and inputting the data of what the City wants the housing density to be. Also pinpointing employment areas in the structure planning.
With this information we can then run the model across it in relation to what we have found reflected in Perth Metro – and work out similarities. ”
Dr Robson went on to explain the value in recognising these similar attributes,
“ For arguments sake, we might identify that it is similar to Midland – and because we know the attributes of Midland we can then start to predict what we are likely to get. This is the basic premise and logic behind what we are doing.
… the project aims to deliver this information not in voluminous, dusty static reports, which inevitably sit on a shelf unread, but via a dynamic and evolving user-friendly interface or dashboard. ”
The second tool integrated into the platform, Activity Hub Analysis; was presented by Assoc. Prof. Rachel Cardell-Oliver, a computer scientist and sensor network specialist.
The ‘Activity Hub’ analysis around the Perth Metro Area lends significant insights into land-use and transport planning, in full alignment with the Project. The analysis is based on the deep data mining of the Smart Rider Data, thus it uses all of the tag on and tag off data to work out where people go. The data is then related to land use and it was found that natural activity hubs occurred where there was more than one bus or train station serving one function, for example at UWA. By aggregating data in these hubs a clearer analysis of the transport patterns becomes evident.
‘Activity Hub’ research, studies evident patterns of public transport usage. These patterns indicate where people are moving in and around the Perth metropolitan area, and their reasons for doing so – at different times of day.
Where these patterns show a concentration of activity, is referred to as a ‘hub’.
“ We are not looking at all the origins or destinations, but rather at stays. In this manner we are looking not at where people travel but rather why people travel.
We are finding these hotspots from the data. Once we have found the hotspots the activities that take place there becomes evident by the average length of the stay at the hub, we can then classify the types of hubs by the stay length. We know for example that a nine to five pattern is related to a work pattern; a nine to three pattern occurs near schools and a five pm to 8 am pattern occurs in suburbia as it reflects home life.
What is interesting is these profiles come out quite clearly.
For example, the Perth metro area has a lot of dormitory hubs. People sleep there but not much else goes on.
If you are aiming to create a large number of jobs, you do not want to build a dormitory hub.
There are working hubs and some good models that we might want Wanneroo to look like.
It is also about asking what are things that we definitely do not want it to look like. This will be useful in this context, in the planning. “
Mr. Tristan Reed, Research Associate, PATREC built further on the momentum of the presentation, by illustrating the latest adaptations made to the Accessibility tool, yet its development he says, is by no means complete.
“ We are also looking to integrate scenario modelling of employment numbers by industry, feeding those into the accessibility model and saying, ‘Okay, if we adjust the number of jobs how does that affect things?’ That sort of scenario planning is part of the next sprint. ”
Arup’s Digital Advisory Leader for Australasia, Mr. Ben Cooper-Woolley presented components of the RailSmart dashboard, which have been built to date.
“ I think we’ve really started to gain pace and momentum over the course of the project. This is now the second demo and we have made a lot of improvements both on the back end, in terms of data accessibility, and also in terms of being able to incorporate more academic models into real applications. “
Mr. Cooper-Woolley gave an overview of analysis outcomes already obtainable, and how these – along with upcoming integrations – will be visually represented.
“ We’ve also designed a new framework for how the front end is going to show this information and join the dots between the different models to start to enable scenario planning – and look to scale to include many more different models and theories as the program evolves over time. “
The RailSmart Project is a Federally funded project under the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. Participants comprise The University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Department of Transport, Main Roads Western Australia and Western Australian Planning Commission.
The RailSmart Project is presently integrating existing research and relevant land-use and transport data into a proof-of-concept platform and dashboard to optimise employment and transport access in the METRONET railway line extension station locations of Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep as City of Wanneroo population and housing continues to expand.