The Arrival of the Big Data Era: the Leapfrog Development of China's Transportation System through Smartization

With the rapid development of economy and society, the trend of deeper integration between new generation information technology and transportation is becoming increasingly clear. "Where are the people?", "where do people come from? Where will people go?" and "How do people go?" These basic problems in the field of transportation can be addressed in detail by means of big data. What's more, big Data plays its part in such important fields as transportation infrastructure, production organization, transportation services as well as decision-making supervision. It can effectively promote the digitization, networking and smartization of the transportation, thus pushing forward the leap-frog development of China's transportation system.

On May 9, a report about the Opportunities and Challenges on Transportation in Big Data Era was delivered in the lecture hall of Ministry of Transport's Management of Cadre Members. Those attending the lecture reached the consensus that the age of "the Data is King" transportation sector has arrived. With over 2 decades' effort made in developing China's intelligent transportation, progress has been made in promoting the integration and integrated application of hi-tech such as communication and electronic information into the transportation industry as well as in boosting the intelligent transportation industry to take shape.

The supply-side structural reform of transportation is the main task of transportation in the new era. It has become an important measure to deepen the supply-side structural reform of the transportation that we should nurture and develop new technologies, modes, and formats of transportation as well as foster new driving forces and promote the integrated development between transportation and relevant industries by utilizing the new generation of information technologies such as "Internet Plus", Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and Big Data.

In 2016, the Ministry of Transport and the National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued The Implementation Plan for the Promotion of the "Internet Plus" Convenient Transportation for Intelligent Transport Development. In 2017, the Ministry of Transport launched Action Plan for the Deployment of the Intelligent Transport (2017-2020) aiming at encouraging an all-round cooperation between government and enterprises, central and local governments, capital and technology to promote the industrialization of China's intelligent transportation and stimulate the innovation capability in a market-oriented way. Intelligence has become an inevitable choice for the transformation and upgrading of China's transportation industry as well as the modernization of China's transport system.

"Faced with the historic opportunity of the new era, China must keep up with the times and capitalize on the favorable circumstance to develop its digital economy",  as pointed out by Mei Hong, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and vice president of Beijing Institute of Technology.

When it comes to the current applications of the Big Data, Mei Hong admitted that are still at an embryonic stage. Mei pointed out that there are more descriptive and predictive applications of Big Data, but fewer guiding applications at the application level; as far as data sources are concerned, there are more applications based on a single data source and fewer applications based on multi-source polymorphism. There are quite a lot applications based on existing data sets, but few applications on taking the initiative to collect new data; there are more applications of "model-oriented" and fewer applications of "demand-oriented" from the perspective of analyzing models.

Mei also pointed out that it is imperative for China to establish a Big Data management system. This is a prerequisite to implement China's Big Data strategy and an important factor to bring into full play the big data and strengthen the digital industry.

Taking traffic congestion during peak hours as an example, the Big Data technology of intelligent transportation can make travel plan more effective. People who have travel plans could properly make their own travel plan according to the estimated traffic condition at certain time in the future based on others' travel data. For another, the Big Data technology of intelligent transportation can improve the reliability of traveling. For example, if A wants to go from place A to place B, where the traffic jams cannot be avoided, the Big Data can help us estimate the extra time needed in the same route based on the former traffic conditions at the same time. Moreover, security could be improved to a certain extent by the auto-evasive and braking functions with the intelligent traffic Big Data technology applied on the car.

To sum up, Big Data technology of intelligent transportation is improving the adaptability of the entire transportation system and personal travel by increasing the intensity and amount of information collection, improving the level of data processing and transmitting the obtained information to the needed through various channels.