Chapter 5: Intelligent Transportation Systems in City Bus Services
The application of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in city bus systems helps agencies to improve services by improving the reliability and efficiency of operations. Through data analysis, agencies can provide better information to passengers, improve in-house resource productivity and take concrete decisions for overall operations and management. At present, in the Indian context, ITS includes a wide variety of technologies with applications in navigation, traffic management, parking, surveillance, etc. Over the last few years, public transport agencies have been able to implement ITS technology at varying scales.
Various ITS components are in use in the Indian market; essentially adaptations of systems deployed in the freight and logistics industries. A lack of experience and expertise among transport agencies has resulted in sub-optimal utilisation of the technology deployed, thus not achieving its full potential. This is due to several factors (Dream Team Sahara 2014) (Brihan Mumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking 2014) (Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport 2014) (Finn 2014):
- limited market share of applications for public transport
- complexity involved in urban bus operations
- budgetary limitations of operating agencies in this segment
- limited functional and technical specifications to guide the development of ITS in this field; and
- the need for knowledge and experience among agencies
Agencies implement software solutions for asset management, procurement and inventory management, human resource solutions, etc. However, these are not included as part of this chapter as these applications are not specific to operations of public transport, i.e. city bus services.
ITS can be adapted in various forms to enhance the performance and the level of transit services to passengers, thus attracting them towards public transport. At the same time, technology uses can improve operational efficiency. This chapter begins with describing six ITS components that are prevalent in city bus operations in India. Through case studies, the potential uses of these components in terms of data extraction, analysis and implementation in operational efficiency planning are discussed in detail. The latter part of the chapter focuses on the challenges of ITS implementation, the lessons learned and the way forward for ITS in the Indian context (see Figure 54).
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