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City of Ottawa Reveals Real-Time Commuting App

November 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alison Hermansen
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Ottawa - The City of Ottawa and Ryerson University spinoff company Flybits officially released a mobile application called Ottawa Nav today, a commuting tool that delivers up-to-the-minute, customized road information to commuters. The free app is available today for iOS and Android devices.

"Our city is going through significant transformation over the next few years to keep our economy moving,” said Mayor Jim Watson. "This new app offers another means to connect with residents and provide additional on-demand information to give residents better navigation through Ottawa and to help reduce traffic congestion.” 

Flybits has mapped the city into a multitude of zones, associating contextual data with every location. As commuters move throughout the city, they will receive useful and relevant information in real time based on their location and travel preferences. Managed through a secure web console, City staff can easily provide up-to-the minute updates and notifications within a zone—making critical information instantly available to everyone.

With no infrastructure dependencies and the ability to scale quickly, powering Ottawa Nav with Flybits technology is helping Ottawa to further its reputation in being one of Canada’s connected cities. 

"The solution is like a mini-traveller information centre right on their mobile device,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the Transportation Committee. "The system is flexible to enable City staff to communicate the relevant traveller information based on the motorist’s location and the situation, in a safe, reliable and convenient fashion.”

The app’s functionality differs depending on whether the user is a driver or a passenger. While driving, the mobile app delivers relevant audible information to users informing them of events occurring in their area of travel, including construction projects, collisions and other unplanned incidents. 

For increased safety, Ottawa Nav will also provide, where applicable, notifications of a reduced speed limit in construction and school zones. While in passenger mode, users can tap into the City and Ministry of Transportation of Ontario’s traffic cameras to access real time images to view traffic conditions near their immediate location. 

This system was designed and developed by Flybits Inc., a Ryerson University spinoff company and Canadian leader in context-aware intelligent mobility solutions. The Flybits platform features scalable software that enables City staff to share pertinent applications, web pages and other information instantly without any infrastructure investment or demands. Powered by Flybits, Ottawa Nav is a one-stop-shop platform for residents seeking traveller and mobility information in the City. 

"Ottawa is the first city to deploy a context-aware computing strategy,” explained Dr. Hossein Rahnama, Founder of Flybits - Director of Research and Innovation - Ryerson Digital Media Zone. "The system senses and interprets contextual parameters—such as location, day, time, mobile and personal preferences—surrounding each individual user, delivering relevant and customized services to make the most out of their mobile experience.

Ottawa Nav is launching with a focus on intelligent traffic solutions, but the same framework can be used to disseminate all useful information pertaining to Ottawa. By utilizing this powerful tool to connect city services and make them available to residents in real time, the City of Ottawa has become a pioneer in the discovery and actualization of a smarter, more connected city.” 

In addition, the system’s scalability also gives the network the capability to remain current with new transportation technologies and upgrades in the future.

In May 2012, City Council approved the Transportation System Management Plan to promote safe and efficient movement of goods and people, to reduce traffic congestion and fuel consumption, and to optimize existing infrastructure. Today’s release of Ottawa Nav supports two of three key objectives of the plan: TSM Innovation, Collaboration, and Technology Solutions, and Traveller Information Systems (TIS). 

The Ottawa Nav application is now available for free on the Apple AppStore and Google Play for Android devices. Other platforms will become available in the future. For further information or view a video about Ottawa Nav, please visit ottawa.ca.