GETTING SMART WITH PUBIC TRANSPORT - THE HINDU

Cities around the world are putting their money,energy, and technological talent into developing algorithms that give reliable information on public transport. It is time for India to catch up

India’s urban mobility options have a notorious blind spot: reliable information. Cities are a maze to navigate, especially if you use public transport. But what if a traveller could see on her mobile phone when the next bus on a given route will arrive? Would it change her preference for the mode of travel? In other words, would she be ready to leave her car behind? The evidence from several global cities shows that such a shift is possible. Smart mobility is what people want.

The switch is also inevitable, as urbanisation puts pressure on governments to reduce congestion and pollution while improving mobility. India has also committed in its climate change pledge to the United Nations to make a ‘clean’ transition and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Need for real-time information

Technology will make that possible. Research on commuter behaviour shows that the era of networks and information is pushing smart mobility. Global cities are putting their money, energy and technological talent into the quest to develop the best computer algorithms that will give transport an edge.

Travellers today are customers who want reliability, simplicity and legibility. Cities don’t just manage trains and buses, they manage people’s time..............................

............................Equally, there is recurring need for standardisation of onboard IT architecture. The International Association of Public Transport (better known as UITP), together with Founding Members, have set up an ITxPT Association to support the deployment of “plug & play” open IT architecture. Guidelines and specifications proposed by ITxPT Association are the outcomes of European Bus System of the Future and related projects coordinated by UITP.

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G. ANANTHAKRISHNAN (ananthakrishnan.g@thehindu.co.in)