WRI India and Toyota Mobility Foundation have partnered with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Mumbai Metro One Private Limited and Maharashtra State Innovation Society for the launch of STAMP 2019 in Mumbai. This is the fourth edition of the program after successful pilots in Bangalore in 2017 and in Hyderabad and Kochi in 2018. This year, the program will turn its attention towards enhancing the operational efficiency and commuter experience in the Mumbai Metro by looking at stations, the approaches and the connections with other mass transit networks, with a focus on innovative data and technology-enabled strategies and mechanisms for crowd management, station area optimisation and last-mile solutions.
While infrastructural and operational measures are largely effective at crowd management, they can prove to be difficult or expensive to deploy in already existing transit stations. However, recent advances and innovations in AI, sensor technologies, IoT, automation, real-time systems, and video analytics have opened up new avenues for dynamic crowd management measures and feeder service models that also help create more interactive and tailored transit experiences for commuters. Effective people flow management coupled with information and availability of last-mile connectivity options, into and out of the metro station, can also enhance the commuter experience. These measures not only have the potential to improve the efficiency and service levels of station areas, but also enhance the daily comfort and convenience of transit commuters.
The deployment of innovative, data-based solutions will help increase ridership, improve access to metro stations, enhance customer experience and help metro infrastructure to optimise operations and station utilisation. Additionally, empowered by information of travel patterns of commuters and by re-routing of passengers to disseminate from the preferred exits using digital signages, electric last-mile solutions can be deployed to provide seamless connectivity. Learnings from the pilots would be documented and used to work with MMRDA and MMOPL to develop strategies in planning last-mile solutions, mode integration and people management for existing and upcoming metro projects in Mumbai.
Mumbai is India’s most densely populated city; also a city highly dependent on public transport. This has traditionally been its suburban rail network (operated by Central and Western Railways), with BEST, the city’s bus operator, serving as a feeder to the rail network as well as enabling low-cost trips outside the ambit of the railway system. The Mumbai Metro – which has recently completed five years of operations – is one of the few metro rail systems in India where ridership has exceeded projections. With over 160 kilometres of Metro Rail network due for operationalization in Mumbai over the next five years, the city’s public transport commuting patterns are expected to change considerably.
The main advantage of a metro system is reliability – trains are frequent, train journey durations remain constant across the day, and platform information about upcoming trains makes the wait far less uncertain. However, commuter experience of using the metro is not defined purely through the train journey. Aspects of the station experience – smoothness of navigation, and the ease of obtaining different modes of transport for onward journeys also define how convenient commuters perceive the metro. This in turn influences their likelihood of actually using it.
The expansion of Mumbai’s metro network presents an exciting opportunity to create a transport network that is integrated, seamless, comfortable and convenient. This can play a major role in the city’s continued growth. The Station Access and Mobility Plan (STAMP)’s Mumbai Challenge aims to enable such a network by supporting tech and data-based solutions that improve transfers, access and egress at metro stations in Mumbai. Entrepreneurs, professionals, organisations, civic groups and students interested in developing methods that can help solve the following challenges are strongly invited to apply:
Challenge Area 1: Faster Platform to Platform Transfers
Currently, a major portion of the metro’s commuters transfer between the metro and the suburban railway system. Improving the efficiency of this transfer (disembarking from a metro train to boarding a suburban train, and vice-versa) is a major aspect of improving commuter experience. Two observed barriers to enabling greater efficiency in transfers are:
- Large commuter volumes at stations: As mentioned earlier, Mumbai is a city that depends on public transport. During peak hours, metro stations, especially those which serve as interchanges to the suburban rail, handle extremely high volumes of commuters. Even the slightest inefficiency in commuter management at such heavy levels of utilisation can significantly lengthen commuter wait times. Issues such as conflict points, where different lines of commuters intersect each other, exacerbate these inefficiencies, making the transfer experience stressful for commuters.
- Uneven utilisation of infrastructure at stations: High (and often unidirectional) commuter flow through stations requires strategic use of infrastructure to maximise commuter throughput. This throughput and efficiency can be enhanced if infrastructure (such as ticket counters and AFC gates, among others) are utilised evenly across stations, rather than certain areas being overused and other areas operating under capacity. In many cases this can be due to a lack of commuter awareness on the most efficient routes through the station.
Challenge Area 2: Optimised Passenger Dispersion outside Stations
Access and egress from stations are an important aspect of the commuting experience by the metro, and the method of operation of connecting modes to/from metro stations impacts not just metro commuters but also users of approach roads. Ad-hoc parking and waiting, unreliable frequencies, a lack of information on when (and where) the next mode will arrive or depart can all lengthen commuter (and road user) journey times, also adding an element of uncertainty to commuters regarding wait times and wait location for onward journeys.
Challenge Area 3: Improved First and Last-Mile Connectivity to Stations
Metro rail systems cannot, by definition, provide door-to-door connectivity. This makes the role of feeder (first and last-mile modes) to the metro extremely important – and addressing gaps in feeder modes is a major aspect of the Metro Rail Policy 2017. Another focus area for the government is its Electric Vehicle (EV) Policy which aims to transition to electric vehicles over the coming decade. Can deficiencies in several existing feeder modes (high cost, infrequent operations, lack of safety) be overcome through the provision of newer, electric feeder modes?
STAMP 2019 Challenge is looking for a wide range of innovative solutions which can enhance accessibility to the metro rail which address at least one of the following issues faced by Mumbai Metro:
Issues with increased transfer times using technology and data-based solutions
First and last mile-connectivity through electric solutions
Solutions invited for the STAMP Challenge could (but are not limited to) include the following:
Use of AI and ML to analyse and improve crowd management at stations and/or ascertain the most efficient docking patterns outside stations
Provision of real-time information on optimal access/egress flows and wait times for commuters at stations and/or the location and availability of connecting modes;
Simplification of the ticketing process for multimodal journeys involving the metro;
Deployment of electric feeder modes serving major first and last-mile routes around metro stations.
The STAMP Challenge offers participants the chance to engage with WRI India’s domain experts and a global network of mentors drawn from our partner organisations. Shortlisted candidates will attend an intensive bootcamp tailored to support the legal, technical, and business development of mobility solutions.
Finalists will receive support in the following three areas:
Enterprise: Business development and strategy, business plan reviews, pilot design, legal compliance planning, government engagement tools and other technical support.
Exposure: Access to a wide network of experts, advisors, governments and local authority representatives, investors, potential partners, etc.
Financial: Research grants to be awarded for further development of business idea, product or service.
The challenge invites entrepreneurs, citizens’ groups, professionals and students
Applicants need to fulfil the following criteria:
Be registered as a legal entity in India or has an Indian partner
Operate in an Indian city
Be in proof-of-concept or pilot stage (mature enterprises in post-pilot or scale-up stages are also welcome to apply)
Abide by the Terms and Conditions of the Challenge
Be available to implement and operate their solution on-the-ground
Experts and Mentors
Mrs. K. Vijaya Lakshmi
Sanjay Kumar Singh
Launch of the Innovation Challenge: 31st July
Registrations for the Challenge: 31st July to 31st August
Selection period: 1st to 15th September
Finalists selection: Mid September
Deployment of selected solution: 1st week of November