19 Jul 2018

Tracsis transport surveys are GDPR compliant

GDPR is improving our transport data collection

At Tracsis, data collection and the information generated after detailed analysis is the value we add to clients and end users. Even data that is still gathered using direct manual observation or face–to-face interviews uses a machine interface at some stage to convert the data into a digital format. Most of our work utilises sophisticated digital technology to collect data such as ANPR and video analytics coupled with clever analytics software to produce detailed reports for transport providers, authorities or consultants. 

Technology makes it possible

Tracsis investment in these new technologies has resulted in the more accurate, cost effective and faster delivery of projects. Data can be collected for any mode of transport including cycling and walking, at any time of day and in any weather condition. We are already making use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to allow the machines to ‘learn on the job’ and improve their effectiveness and efficiency. All this means that data management is at the core of everything we do.

People make it happen

GDPR is not only the responsibility of the data controller who can be either our company or our client but also the data processor, which can include our people out in the field and analysts and project managers back at base. GDPR has meant that we reviewed all our processes to ensure we were compliant well ahead the deadline of 25 May 2018. With potential fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, not to mention the reputational impact on our business, we can’t afford to get this wrong.

Our investment has included new data protection senior management roles at our head office in Wetherby and the next largest office in London and staff training in all areas of the business.  The process for delivering ongoing adherence to the regulations is continuous. For a transport data collection company this means embedding the regulations into our culture, not just our processes. 

Process and tools

Tracsis has adopted an effective tool recommended by the Information Commissioner’s Office to use as part of the process in the form of Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs). These help us identify the most effective way to comply with their data protection obligations and meet individuals’ expectations of privacy. As transport data collection tends to be project-based, the key to success is to complete a PIA early in the life of the project. 

Organisations that are commissioning transport data collection projects should ensure that the data processor (the contractor) is carrying out a risk assessment and has privacy solutions in place before any data is collected. At Tracsis these processes and checks are embedded in our business.

Summary

The effectiveness of our transport networks relies on good planning based on analysis from accurate data about how people move around our roads, railways and pedestrian areas. The whole transport industry needs to understand the principles and how it effects what they do each day. Tracsis has made substantial investments in people training, processes and systems, but by engaging early we have probably saved considerable amounts of time and money for our business and our clients.

Paul Jackson

Tracsis Traffic and Data Services Division