Openness + Cooperation = Innovation

In two weeks from today this year’s POLIS conference internet will take place in Brussels. The conference topic is “Transport innovation for sustainable cities and regions” and I’ll have the opportunity to present some conclusions from our long-term involvement in the Radlkarte project(s).
In my talk I’m going to show how open minds and open data together with a fruitful cooperation across domains and institutions lead to significant innovations. My demo example is the history of the bicycle routing portal Radlkarte, which is currently available internet for the federal state of Salzburg and four adjacent municipalities in Bavaria.


First version of the Radlkarte bicycle routing.

When the first version of the portal was launched in 2012, one had to fear to cycle off the edge when leaving the city of Salzburg. The routing portal was exclusively fed with data from the city administration which naturally covered only the administrative area of Salzburg.
This situation has changed dramatically since the city administration started to adopt the national standard for road-related data (GIP internet). Moreover, the federal state of Salzburg – now hosting the harmonized road data set – has started to publish a wide variety of data as Open Government Data (OGD internet), among them all road-related data. This development has facilitated a much larger coverage of the bicycle routing portal and fast update and innovation intervals. We are currently in the 4th year of continuously improving the Radlkarte. The success formula behind this developement is: Openness + Cooperation = Innovation.

These are the lessons we have learned so far and I’m going to talk about in my presentation:

  1. Enthusiasm for a common topic – in this case bicycle promotion – is the most efficient facilitator for cooperation across departments, administrative bodies and domains.
  2. Long-standing collaborations and an open communication atmosphere are driving forces for change.
  3. Worthwhile applications can act as trigger for data standardization, harmonization and quality improvement. Seeing the immediate impact of data motivates to invest in standardization, harmonization and quality improvement. This effect has also become obvious in the context of the Basemap internet project.
  4. cooperation_innovationPublishing data as OGD fosters efficient know-how generation and application development. Costs for data and the cumbersome negotiations and handling of license agreements become obsolete which frees resources for prolific things.
  5. OGD can stimulate value creation in all of the following domains: researchers benefit from the availability of rich data sets, which help them to develop new models and analysis routines. Transferring this know-how to the private sector, allows companies to develop tools and applications without additional costs for data. Finally public authorities can use these products in order to reach specific planning goals.

Although there is still plenty of space for improvement, the Radlkarte case nicely shows several aspects of openness (from open minds to open data) and cooperation (from different departments within administration to academia to the private sector) and how these ingredients contribute to innovative information provision for bicyclists.

I’ll provide my presentation slides along with a conference report later. Nevertheless I’m more than happy receiving your questions and remarks right now; just use the comment function or the contact form.


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