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12 March 2024

Students tackle urban challenges at CUSP London Data Dive

The Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) London hosted students, industry partners and local authorities to explore data in transport, safety, air quality and health

CUSP Data Dive 2024

Students from five universities across three continents joined a recent CUSP London to explore data-driven solutions to urban policy planning. Working with partners Transport for London (TfL), the annual Data Dive was run by the Centre for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) London, in the Department of Informatics, King’s College London.

The students analysed data on traffic, bike use, air quality, health and road safety, working together to provide partner organisations with policy recommendations. The partners in attendance included TfL, the Department of Transport, Westminster City Council, Newham Council, London Ambulance Service, AccuCities, WSP and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain.

Every year CUSP London hosts a Data Dive, inviting students from King’s as well as universities in the UK and around the world. This year over 60 undergraduate and postgraduate students from King’s College London, UCL, the University of Glasgow, Imperial College London, NYU and NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) joined in-person and virtually.

Each year the CUSP London Data Dive participants have delivered greater depth of thinking and more impressive results. The students who volunteer their time gain practical experience both working with data science tools and real-world data and at the end in producing a clear short presentation about the work they have done. The international nature of the event always bring new and diverse perspectives to the challenges they work on.

Professor Nick Holliman - Director of CUSP London

The event began with a series of inspiring talks delivered by representatives from academic experts and external partners such as TfL, ending with a talk from Professor Nick Holliman, Director of CUSP London. The students collaborated in teams to to tackle key urban challenges of their choice – using public data. The teams worked hard over the next four days, using some data that was provided alongside being encouraged to seek out further data themselves.

On the final afternoon the students gained valuable experience presenting their solutions on the challenges around transport, air quality and health faced by urban centres such as London.

‘Best Overall’ prize was awarded to the joint King’s College London, UCL and University of Glasgow team which offered insights into air inequality within disadvantaged areas of London.

Other questions tackled by the students included:

  • Can we use traffic congestion as a means of predicting air quality?
  • What is the relationship between air quality and cycling activities in London?
  • How can we manage London’s conflicting goals of Vision Zero and cycling growth?
  • How does traffic affect health outcomes?

CUSP London is a collaboration between King’s College London and New York University. It is a multi-disciplinary research centre that brings together researchers, businesses and government agencies, to apply data science and visual analytics to challenges in and for London.

The collaboration among students, academics and industry professionals was made obvious in the quality and detail of the presentations. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a compelling demonstration of how data can shape the future of our cities.

Sandor Petrroczi - Directror, AccuCities

I had the pleasure of attending Data Dive 2024 organised by CUSP London, and it was a wonderful experience. The sessions were incredibly informative and well-structured, providing valuable insights into data analysis techniques and their real-world applications. Not only did I learn and use new skills, like GIS spatial analysis, but I also had the opportunity to connect with industry professionals and exchange ideas.

Amandeep Singh - Data Science MSc, King’s College London

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Director of CUSP London