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Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI)
News article22 May 2024Directorate-General for Digital Services3 min read

How BDTI Helps Municipalities Find Bottlenecks and Cost-saving Opportunities

Using the Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI) to collect, analyse and retrieve valuable insights from public data and overcome data challenges.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Federi on Unsplash

The BDTI aims to foster the reuse of public sector data and enable a data-informed public sector in the EU Member States. By providing a free-of-charge analytics test environment with open-source tools, the BDTI allows public administrations to prototype solutions before deploying them in the production environment on their premises. To display the potential of the platform and its possible applications, we built a “Demonstrator” use case. The demonstrator creates a scenario that follows the traditional steps of data analysis while applied to a context that can be easily adapted to different sectors and needs, supporting public administration in understanding the potential of BDTI. 

The Demonstrator use case was based on open data from the municipality of Dublin (from;; and complemented with fictional data where needed. It covers the scenario of a public administration looking to obtain insights into their public lighting spending. 

How can the BDTI help in such a context? 

The Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI) provides a ready-to-use virtual environment that helps public administrations and projects led by the public sector improve the experience of citizens, make government more efficient and boost business and the wider economy through data. 

The BDTI platform covers the three main steps of data analysis: data ingestion, visualisation and analysis, and decision-making. It can identify saving opportunities and provide tools for data-informed decision-making. 

In the Demonstrator use case, the data ingestion process consisted of collecting files and information on government spending originating from multiple sources and formats and translating them into uniform, machine-readable data to be stored. For a visual representation of the process and a more in-depth explanation of this phase, this video walks through the scenario and the main steps. 

Visualisation & analysis clusters the city’s expenses, allowing spending patterns to emerge. It also presents the opportunity to benchmark the government spending data against other municipalities using publicly available datasets. In the example use case of the municipality of Dún Laoghaire in Dublin, the analysis highlighted a higher-than-average expenditure on traffic lighting and consequent saving opportunities. Using the tools available on BDTI, all the insights originating from data analysis can be visualised through an interactive dashboard for users to consult. To further explore the visualisation and analysis step, this video describes the steps and analysis in more depth. 

The last step in the data analysis consists of elaborating on the available data to enable informed decision-making. The BDTI platform offers a wide array of tools that can be used for this purpose. In the Demonstrator use case, a machine learning algorithm was trained to analyse the week’s traffic data and predict streets and times of the day when turning off the lights would cause the least disruption. Once again, the interactive dashboard proved valuable, allowing simulations of different conditions and cases. Based on the tested scenarios, a data-informed decision can be taken, deciding which areas lighting should be turned off to save electricity. To learn more about the tools used in the decision-making step, this video walks through how the machine learning algorithm was trained and the available tools for decision-making. 

Learn how to apply for BDTI

Providing the right tools and support for you to start your data journey 

The code used to develop the Demonstrator use case has been made available for anyone to benefit from. The GitLab repository contains the complete documentation, including user guides and open data sets used. Using the scripts, it is also possible to replicate the use case or use it as a base for similar data analysis scenarios. 

Do you represent a public administration interested in developing your data use case on the Big Data Test Infrastructure? Are you part of an academic institution looking for a research use case with a potential public administration partnership in mind? Apply for a BDTI pilot project or contact the BDTI team via EC-BDTI-PILOTSatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (EC-BDTI-PILOTS[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu) to discuss your organisation’s data needs. 

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Publication date
22 May 2024
Directorate-General for Digital Services