BEST (Best Estimate of Sydney Traffic)

BEST (Best Estimate of Sydney Traffic) is a visualisation tool that shows changes in the speed of traffic through key areas of Sydney, as the volume of traffic through those areas varies.  

Our analysis of the problem
We used the NSW Roads Traffic Volume Counts API to confirm our hypothesis that the number of vehicles driving in Sydney has been increasing in recent years. We then investigated population and employment trends and found several sources projecting increases in Sydney’s population and the number of people working in the Sydney CBD. This told us it was necessary to understand the implications of changing on-road vehicle numbers on overall congestion. Throughout our analysis, we used the ratio of average vehicle travel speed to the legal speed limit as a proxy for congestion.

What we built
We built BEST, a data model that visualises congestion in Sydney. In this model, the user – transport and infrastructure planners and policy makers – can see how different levels of change in traffic (measured as % increase in vehicles) would affect Sydney’s morning peak hour traffic. This information is visualised on a map of Sydney, with each circle representing an area of Sydney, and the colour representing the level of congestion. Red represents high congestion and green represents low congestion.

Why would someone want to use this?
Interventions to reduce traffic volume may focus on increasing the number or size of roads, or decreasing the number of cars on the road. This then affects the speed at which traffic moves. Our tool visualises the interaction between traffic volume and traffic speed. This will help Transport for NSW better understand areas affected by road congestion. It will allow policymakers to understand the implications of proposed interventions by determining if the speed of traffic would be affected, and if so, by how much.

Our next steps
Our model serves as a proof of concept of a visual model for representing roads in Sydney. We originally hoped to model at the level of individual intersections, but this was not possible with the available data. With further support and collaboration, we can build a more granular and accurate model that will allow us to identify roads most at risk of overcrowding and congestion, and allow government to proactively plan infrastructure and educate the public.


Bounty: Plausible Futures
Our project imagines what the future looks like if we invest more in public transport and encourage different models of work to minimise traffic congestion.

Future of work hack
Our project imagines how changing models of work might minimise traffic congestion.

Innovation using NSW data
Our project creates value for NSW citizens because it can enable improvements to transport.

Most innovative use of HERE mapping capabilities
Our project used HERE data to convert zipcodes to latitudes and longitudes, allowing us to visualise the data in tableau.

Open Data & Congestion Insights
The tool that we’ve developed - BEST - is a predictive model that visualises the level of congestion in Sydney based on projected changes in car volume. It shows the change in the speed of traffic through Key areas of Sydney as the volume of traffic changes.

Places Hack
Our project can help cultivate a more productive Sydney by predicting what congestion will look like in the future, thereby informing intervention measures.

Safety Hack
Our project can help create a more safe Sydney by informing decisions to minimise congestion - reducing the number of cars and potential for accidents on roads.

Team name
The Best Team
State, Territory or Country
Event location
Datasets used
Dataset Name
NSW Roads Traffic Volume Counts API
Dataset Name
Roads Realtime (TTDS)
Dataset Name
ABS:Data by Region
Dataset Name
Transport NSW: Performance and Analytics
Dataset Name
Transport for NSW: Opal Tap On and Tap Off data
Video URL (YouTube/Vimeo)