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Moscow to track cell-phone users in 2015, to aid traffic analysis

Tue 20 Jan 2015

Authorities in Moscow will launch a new system of mobile-phone tracking in 2015 to aid research into potential modification to the transport infrastructure of the city. M24 reports [translated]. The system will be augmented by GPS data in particularly dense and labyrinthine areas, such as ‘old Moscow’. The information will principally be gathered via the standard Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and used to identify redundant or needful traffic arrangements, as well as the provisioning of interchanges on the underground system and corresponding availability of bus services.

Head of The Center for Traffic Management (Центра организации дорожного движения / TSODD) Vadim Yuriev said: “In 2015 we plan to establish a system of analysis of traffic flows based around GSM-tracks in the Moscow metropolitan area. [The system] will collect, process and analyse data on the movement of mobile subscribers in Moscow and the Moscow suburbs.”

The system, which appears to be a unilateral move on the part of Moscow authorities, with no evidence of ‘opt out’ so far reported, claims that the anonymity of cell-phone users will be preserved.

M24 reports that Moscow’s government has ‘big plans for the use of data on the movements of mobile subscribers’.

The scheme is also intended to help predict traffic congestion in one of the world’s most famously traffic-clogged capitals, currently home to a population of more than 11.5 million people.

The ‘big three’ mobile providers in Moscow already cooperate extensively with Moscow authorities in providing access to the movements of its mobile subscribers. One of these is VimpelCom Ltd., a Bermuda-incorporated Telco provider based in Amsterdam, which operates in Moscow under the ‘Beeline’ brand. Beeline representative Anna Aybasheva says: “We prepare reports that detail where our subscribers work, live, move, and other aspects. We do this by analysing the load on our network’s base stations,”

Head of the city’s Department of Information Technology Artyom Ermolaev adds in the article that Moscow authorities need detailed information on the movement of passengers underground, in order to track and anticipate congestion on the Moscow metro.


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