The Alan Turing Institute is leading a major data analytics project to support the Greater London Authority in planning to move on from the coronavirus lockdown, which has been in force nearly eight weeks.
Dubbed "Project Odysseus", the Turing is working alongside Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Warwick University, Cambridge University and University College London using Microsoft Azure Cloud and AI services.
Together they aim to assess activity in London before and after the lockdown and provide details on behavioural changes.
The overall goal is to help the GLA to manage the crisis and a return to "normal", partly through an early warning system to fuel communications campaigns in case people give up social distancing too early. Longer term, it is aimed at providing a springboard for economic recovery in the capital.
Using public data, such as from vehicle and transport movements, traffic cameras, and economic activity, the project will tap into machine learning algorithms, statistical time-series analysis and image processing.
The aiming is to create an API which the GLA, Transport for London, London Data Commission and Office for National Statistics can access. These outputs will then be integrated into the London Datastore, with one of the uses being to support the London Air Quality project.
GLA chief digital officer Theo Blackwell said: “City Hall has been doing important work with the Turing on air quality and this is now being repurposed to help deepen our understanding of Londoners’ movements during the lockdown.
“Bringing together open data gives us another tool to understand how the capital is responding to public health measures, as well as how our high streets and shopping centres are doing, as we move from restrictions to recovery."