Exo improves its data modeling with Korem’s strategic advice


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The client

Exo, the second-largest public transit operator in Quebec, is responsible for the commuter rail network, the metropolitan bus network and paratransit services.

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The challenge

To find an alternative to costly traffic data, one that provided better analysis over a wider range.

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The result

Exo can now perform traffic analyses quickly and more accurately.

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The client

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Exo is a public transit authority that operates regular bus and paratransit services on the north and south shores of the island, and the rail network in the metropolitan region of Montreal. In addition to rail lines, the exo network has 241 bus lines and 63 taxibus lines. Exo handled 43.5 million trips in 2019, 700,000 of which were on its paratransit network.

The Challenge

Traffic analyses limited by the data

An indispensable tool for its Research, Data Analysis and Modeling department, the traffic data exo uses is the starting point for its strategic projects, technical orientations and operational initiatives in its network.

Exo has been obtaining traffic data through Korem for a number of years. In 2018, the publisher of this data made major changes to its rate structure. As soon as the new structure was published, Korem estimated the financial impact for its clients, including exo, and advised accordingly. Korem’s proactive approach cushioned the blow and gave them the opportunity to reassess their renewal budget and explore alternative solutions within Korem’s diversified portfolio of data. For exo, the data publisher’s modified rate structure would have meant a significant increase in annual usage costs.

“We received an email from the data publisher informing us of the changes, but we didn’t know what it all meant. A week later, Korem contacted us to explain what the changes would mean in monetary and contractual terms, according to our data usage. It’s important to have an expert like Korem that will inform us of the impacts these kinds of changes have on organizations,” said François Turcotte-Goulet, Geomatics Analyst at exo.

Although it was pricing changes that prompted exo’s evaluation of other data products, exo also wanted to be able to better optimize its use of data for the benefit of its service on the road network.

So far, exo did not have access to historical data, which means that it had to specify the road segments it wished to study, query the publisher’s database on a regular basis and then wait for the data to accumulate before being able to analyze it. With one-off analyses like these, it was impossible to obtain an overview of the traffic and it was not possible to obtain information by sector.

With the goal of improving the experience of public transit users in mind, it was essential that exo have data that would give it a better picture of congestion, so that it could properly evaluate travel times on its bus and paratransit routes.

The solution

An easy choice with Korem’s expert advice and portfolio

Thanks to their in-depth knowledge of existing traffic data and of their clients’ situations, the experts at Korem immediately proposed an alternative that corresponded to exo’s needs while accelerating its response time to requests. After demonstrating the alternative data, exo was able to validate that the recommended solution met their needs by gaining access to the data in order to perform tests. The data from HERE Technologies and their product, Traffic Analytics, was chosen. With it, exo was able to boost its analysis of performance and reduce its costs.

As it only needed some of the HERE traffic data, Korem also performed a spatial extraction of the desired region. This “turnkey data” service helps reduce file size, reducing downloading and processing time, and readies data for faster analysis.

And, from a legal point of view, the Korem team ensured that the terms and conditions allowed every use case scenario exo might require.

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The results

Fast and accurate planning and decision-making

With historical data from HERE, exo is able to perform advanced analyses in just a few minutes. Now more efficient, its Research, Data Analysis and Modeling department is increasingly asked for analyses to support decision-making in project. The analysis possibilities are now greater, more precise and will allow exo to optimize its bus and paratransit routes to improve services to its clients.