Florida Poly graduate project aims to transform traffic in Brazilian city

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A graduate from Florida Polytechnic University developed a project that transformed raw traffic sensor data into real-time visualizations for improved traffic management in Sorocaba, Brazil. The project is part of a partnership between Florida Poly and Centro Universitário Facens.

Diego de Paula ’21 completed a graduate-level project that transformed raw traffic sensor data into real-time visualizations for improved traffic management in Sorocaba, Brazil.

"Considering the applied nature of this work, it is very rewarding to see we can collaborate with Facens and produce something of immediate value in a matter of a few months."

A new partnership between Florida Polytechnic University and the prestigious Centro Universitário Facens in Brazil is off to a strong start with the completion of a project that promises to improve traffic congestion in the bustling Brazilian city of Sorocaba.

Diego de Paula ’21, who recently his completed his master’s degree in computer science on Florida Poly’s data science track, worked throughout the spring semester to provide data visualization of 49 traffic sensors in the Brazilian city. The sensors are typically used for traffic enforcement of speeders and red-light runners, but they also capture a great deal of additional information.

“They have this data in the database, and we thought we could use it to help the traffic managers take action regarding the traffic situation,” de Paula said. “I provided data visualizations that showed the intensity of the traffic flow.”

These visualizations allow the user to easily see the traffic at any point during a given day, which allows traffic managers to improve congestion issues and more effectively manage slowdowns due to vehicle crashes and other incidents. Grupo Splice, a traffic control solutions provider in Brazil, is working with de Paula on integrating this new information into existing response systems.

“With this, they have more tools to visualize the traffic, and based on the visualizations they can take more accurate actions to provide better traffic flow in Sorocaba,” de Paula said.

Prior to this effort, the traffic managers only had access to data from three sensors.

“Considering the applied nature of this work, it is very rewarding to see we can collaborate with Facens and produce something of immediate value in a matter of a few months,” said Dr. Reinaldo Sanchez-Arias, an assistant professor of data science and business analytics at Florida Poly and de Paula’s graduate advisor.

As an international student from Brazil, the project was perfect for de Paula, who completed his studies remotely in his home country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He worked with an interdisciplinary team that included individuals from both Facens and Grupo Splice.

“For the last four months, I have been working alongside Dr. Sanchez-Arias, and I’m thrilled to witness firsthand the quality of education at Florida Polytechnic University by advising and mentoring Diego through his applied project with one of the leading smart mobility groups in Brazil,” said Dr. Regiane Relva Romano, professor and head of Smart Cities at Facens and former advisor to Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication. “We will certainly continue our mutual efforts to building a solid collaboration between our organizations in order to shape the future together.”

Romano was also an advising member of de Paula’s graduate project committee, along with Dr. Shahram Taj, chair of the Department of Data Science and Business Analytics at Florida Poly.

Mustapha Achoubane, associate director of international relations at Florida Poly, is eager to see the collaboration evolve. The University and Facens are looking for additional opportunities for graduate students to complete projects as part of the partnership, which began in late 2020.

“When we bring bright minds together, great things occur,” Achoubane said. “I’m delighted to witness an applied pilot project solution, developed by one of our Florida Poly graduate students, improve the smart mobility system and ultimately improve the quality of life for citizens.”

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