Brilliant Planning – Web tool for City Planning

The Idea

I heard about the TU20 fellowship from my computer science teacher and was excited to apply and eager to learn. I came to my idea for my project through my frustration about city traffic as I just recently acquired my G2 licence. Thus I oriented my project around aiding city planner on improving traffic flow. My initial vision for my application was to identify problems in city streets using traffic data. However, there was a problem, where would I get this traffic data?

Surmounting Obstacles

The solution to this problem was a company named Geotab, which produces a device that attaches to a vehicle and monitors a wide variety of information, such as location and fuel consumption. Other companies would use this product to ensure that their fleets are running optimally. Geotab, using the information from over a million different vehicle, is able to derive an anonymous dataset about infrastructure, location, and even weather and use it for a variety of reasons. In my case, I was interested in looking at traffic patterns.

My Mentor

As part of the TU20 fellowship, I was connected with a mentor who coached me and helped guide me with my project. My mentor was from Geotab and she assisted me in understanding the data I was working with, as well as explaining best practices for displaying and working with data, as she is a data scientist. We had bi-weekly check-in’s in order to monitor my progress and discuss next steps. Working with my mentor was a very useful aspect of the fellowship as it ensured that I stayed on track, introduced me to the professional world, and expand my knowledge.

What did I learn?

Not only did I learn things from my mentor, but I also spend an incredible amount of time self-teaching. I learned different languages like javascript, HTML, and PHP in addition, to learn how to set up a website, leaflet and the google bigQuery API. The fellowship also pushed me to learn about business, entrepreneurship and the fundamentals of a startup. The specific skills that I learned are very valuable, but I also learned how to learn, which is an essential skill in the software industry. The final project ended up being a website(currently at *not mobile compatible*) that would load the top 20 idling points in a requested city and then when clicked on the points it would display a graph of the hourly distribution of the idling hours in that location.

Final Thoughts

The goal of this website is to help city planners identify areas and high idling times so that they can create preventative measures. Such measures might include putting up regulative signs that ban idling at certain areas or certain times. All in all this project what not only informative but also enjoyable. It was great to be pushed to do something awesome and explore the business and entrepreneurship side of the fellowship. It was truly a great experience that I would definitely recommend anyone who is interested in the internet of things, big data, or entrepreneurship to consider applying for future fellowships.

      Calvin Mozola
Ryerson Computer Science