Freight Flow Hackathon team generates ideas for Statistics Canada

Five seated at boardroom table, projection screen.

Freight Flow Hackathon, October 31, 2018. (L-R Sina Bahrami, Tufayel Chowdhury, Bo Wang, Matthew Roorda, Lawrence McKeown. UTTRI team member not pictured: Glareh Amirjamshidi).

A UTTRI team of five – Sina Bahrami, Tufayel Chowdhury, Bo Wang, Glareh Amirjamshidi, and supervisor Professor Matthew Roorda – took part in the “Freight Flows Hackathon” organized by the Transportation Statistics Program of Statistics Canada. Lawrence McKeown, Chief of Research and Analysis, Environment, Energy and Transportation Statistics, attended the session on October 31 in the ITS Lab. UTTRI connected with four other teams, organizers and judges by webinar.

Of the five teams taking part in the hackathon, three internal Ottawa-based teams and two external teams were chosen. University of Toronto (UTTRI) and University of Windsor (Cross Border Institute) were selected to be the external teams.

The goal of the event was to generate ideas about how to increase the “reach” of the data by framing it in ways that the general public can understand.

The UTTRI team came up with a Freight Quiz, data visualizations and a number of other ways to make “storytelling with data” easier to understand, more interesting, and more fun for non-specialists.

“This hackathon marks the first time that Statistics Canada has made microdata available in a non-secure environment, while maintaining confidentiality,” said Mr. McKeown. “It’s part of our effort to modernize with innovations to make Statistics Canada microdata more easily accessible to a wider audience.”

Judges from the Statistics Canada Innovation Centre will decide which ideas generated during the hackathon are developed.