MIS Helps Fortaleza Build a Smart City

Sept. 22, 2015


In many developing cities, transportation options – whether it be bus, bike or car – is not growing fast enough, and cannot keep up with the ever-increasing demand for urban mobility. More and more of these cities are turning to technology to provide better, faster and cheaper ways to address their citizen’s mobility issues. One of the cities addressing these issues, with the help of the MIS department, is Fortaleza.

Fortaleza is the capital of the state of Ceará found in the northeast section of Brazil. It spans 121 square miles with a population of approximately 3,606,319 people. It is the fifth-largest city in Brazil.

The mayor of Fortaleza, Dr. Roberto Cláudio Frota Bezerra Neto, is an UA alumnus, who in 2012, was elected mayor. Since entering office, Roberto has become a proponent of making Fortaleza a world-class mobile city.

To help meet this objective, Roberto and the MIS department have partnered together on a new project titled “Smart Cities.” The project combines the expertise of MIS’ INSITE Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics, Fortaleza’s Department of Urban Transportation and Mobility and the University of Fortaleza. Smart Cities is the main component of I3FOR, an exciting new collaboration that is being formed between The University of Arizona and UNIFOR – University of Fortaleza.

During the first phase of the project, INSITE will conduct analyses of the Fotaleza’s public transportation systems to understand their usage with the specific goals of addressing the challenges of overcrowding, delays, and public safety.

INSITE will collect, link, and analyze many different datasets from the city including

  • Operational databases that use GPS sensors and reports the location and time details of public buses every 30 seconds
  • Passenger demographics using Fortaleza’s “smartcard” (Bilhete Unico) data 
  • Datasets of congestion levels based on traffic volumes generated from sensors at traffic intersections and enforcement radars
  • Databases of crimes in the city including those that take place at bus stops and holdups in buses
  • Accidents on the streets related to motorcycles, bicycles and other vehicles
  • Databases related to a newly initiated bike share program.

During the second phase of the project, INSITE will develop a performance management dashboard that will use scalable machine learning techniques and spatio-temporal models to predict “hot spots” where crimes, overcrowding, and/or delays are likely to occur. These will be used to identify the bottlenecks in the transportation system, and propose intelligent solutions for efficient urban mobility.

It is the hope of the project team that a third phase of this project would occur that would entail INSITE helping Fortaleza with a similar analysis and solution design for their public health system, waste management, energy and air quality management.

For more information on this project, please contact Dr. Sudha Ram, INSITE Director and Anheuser-Busch Chair in MIS at ram@eller.arizona.edu.

Image Courtesy Pixabay.