Smart cities
Smart cities

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Smart cities

3.2 Motion Map

Check out this transport solution that makes use of big data in a way that puts the citizen user in the driving seat.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_smartcities_vid_1033.mp4
Skip transcript


We're all used to driving ourselves - getting lost, getting frustrated. But the IT revolution is opening up a whole load of new possibilities. In Milton Keynes self-driving pods will soon be providing short distance travel around the centre. Such driverless designs offer the potential to entirely reinvent public transport systems.
MK:Smart is an Open University led 16 million pound initiative involving a consortium of local and national partners.
The transport work in MK:Smart seeks to support all sorts of initiatives to address our transport problems.
Radically improving the city's transport system requires real time access to a lot of data. Like it or not we live in a big data society, but can we have big data without big brother?
What we are exploring at The Open University is more of a Wikipedia type approach where users call the shots and have more say. This is the approach that we're adopting from a motion map here in Milton Keynes. This provides real time travel information for residents in the area. A motion map will combine data from transport operators with information people provide themselves. All this can be customised to individuals and trips. And here's how it will look on a smartphone giving you information about how busy the shops are, where you can park, and perhaps if you're going back on the bus whether the bus is rather full and you prefer to wait to have a coffee in the meantime.
But what is really important is the motion map provides a database which other people can use to develop new transport services and systems. It's a real platform for innovation. So, for example, motion map could provide information to design services for those with special needs, set up a cab sharing app, or work out the best places to extend the driverless pods. It’s an open and democratic data system to enable people, community groups, and innovative businesses to develop new services. So rather than big data being authoritarian and controlling, we're looking at how it can be designed to liberate new thinking and new ideas.
That fits with the core values of The Open University and is the sort of smart city we really want.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

The Motion Map isn’t just a great app – it’s also a cleverly customisable tool designed to liberate new thinking and new ideas.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371