A Spanish system that improves urban mobility


Terrain Technologies is a small company that specializes in mapping. Its technology allows users to generate comprehensive and predictive mobility patterns for cities. The firm’s systems have attracted the attention of the European Union.

Knowing what happens on Monday mornings in a mid-sized city’s transportation system, or who the biggest users of a city’s bus network are, is data that helps to optimize a transportation system’s operations.

Terrain Technologies is a small Spanish company specializing in mapping. The firm has developed an algorithm called SIADE that converts available data into useful information. The main advantage is that transport agencies already have the data at their disposal, given that they can gather it from their own busses and subways.

The company is now testing its algorithm in the northern Spanish city of Gijon. In collaboration with the local government, the firm is observing the data that is collected which shows how the city’s inhabitants use the local bus system on a daily basis. The resulting analysis determines, for example, if the bus lines are used more often in economically depressed areas and—if this is the case—how to adapt them and whether it’s necessary to add to their numbers or expand their routes.

The system also uses data taken from the census about where the greatest concentrations of elderly people are. Other data analyzed involves meteorology, leisure activities and commuting traffic to work. The key is to convert this data into useful information for decision making.

The system is still undergoing testing but has already attracted the attention of the European Union, which has selected it under the EU’s program for assistance to small companies.