4 Nov

Teralytics Spotlight

At a Glance:
Teralytics is a Switzerland-based company that works to understand human mobility patterns in order to unlock new solutions in urban planning, transportation and travel. As cities become increasingly digitized, understanding the way humans move in and out of cities is paramount in making the best solution-based decisions for the future.

In Depth:
Anyone who has entered a large city is familiar with mobility problems that may arise throughout the day. Some trains may be delayed, some trains may be completely halted. How are cities expected to respond in times of unfavorable travel conditions? Teralytics has the answer.

In 2012, Teralytics was started by three data scientists, Georg Polzer, Luciano Franceschina, and Donald Kossmann, who championed the necessity of data solutions in increasingly digital cities. New technologies for autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, and transportation networks are becoming increasingly possible and are sure to impact the way humans move within and between cities. For an urban center to excel in these changing times, it is critical for city agencies and transportation providers to understand the implications of these technologies and how their effects manifest in our societies, for better or worse.

Teralytics uses anonymized data collected from cell-towers that includes geographic locations, demographics and movement habits along with data science and machine learning algorithms to develop advanced insights for urban planning, transportation and travel. Despite the detailed sources of these data, Teralytics affirms they comply with the strictest data regulations in the world to protect anonymity of populations whose data they are using.

While Teralytics stays true to it’s founding visions, it has been able to expand it’s scope of solutions and insights. For instance, Teralytics has generated insights on the spread of disease by analyzing data to understand how a specific virus travels and in what ways that may be prevented. Additionally, they are pairing their own insights and models with those of climate specialists to better understand pollution and air quality in relation to different modes of transport.

We asked CEO Alastair MacLeod what the most important thing that Teralytics is doing for the field of geography, he replied that Teralytics “takes geography into the present. It makes geography real-time rather than retrospective. If you want to understand people migrations, land use, transportation use, changes in those patterns- you don’t have to take out an old study from a book to find out what was happening in 1973. You can look at what’s happening this afternoon.” Teralytics is changing the way we understand and analyze geographic relationships and is sure to pave the way for major transportation improvements within and outside of cities.


Written by Grace Muset