MIT Real Time Rome project utilizes data gathered, in real time and at an unprecedented scale, from cell phones and other wireless technologies, to better understand the patterns of daily life in Rome, and to illustrate what ubiquitous connectivity in an urban environment looks like.
The project aggregated data from cell phones (obtained using Telecom Italia’s innovative Lochness platform), buses and taxis in Rome to better understand urban dynamics in real time. By revealing the pulse of the city, the project aims to show how technology can help individuals make more informed decisions about their environment. In the long run, will it be possible to reduce the inefficiencies of present day urban systems and open the way to a more sustainable urban future?
In today’s world, wireless mobile communications devices are creating new dimensions of interconnectedness between people, places and urban infrastructures,
said project director Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Lab at MIT. “The goal of Real Time Rome is to use this connectivity to map the city in real time, which may ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of how modern cities function.”
Ratti believes these types of visualizations will help reduce the inefficiencies of present day urban systems and open the way to a more sustainable future: “Our hope is that projects like Real Time Rome will give city dwellers more control over their environment by allowing them to make more informed decisions about their surroundings. Imagine being able to avoid traffic congestion, or knowing where people are congregating on a Saturday afternoon. In a worst-case scenario, such real time systems could also make it easier to evacuate a city in case of emergency.”
The user can download high resolution images displaying:
- Number of cellular phone users in north-eastern Rome at different hours of a day.
- Number of cellular phone users around the Termini train station visualized as a three-dimensional interpolation.
- Number of cellular phone users in a quadrant of the Rome area.
- Speed of people’s movement based on data from the cellular network in a quadrant of the Rome area.
- The movement dynamics of cellular phone users at different times of a day in neighbourhood scale.
- The movement dynamics of cellular phone users at different times of a day in district scale.
- Average cellphone users distribution on the satellite image of the city of Rome just before Madonna’s concert on 6 August. A large crowd is assembling around the Olympic Stadium.
- Final match, World Cup 2006. Average cellphone users distribution on the satellite image of the city of Rome.