Smart buses – Public transport transformed
Established as the most used mode of transport across the board in the UK, bus travel is one area that’s crying out for modernisation. Having made little technological advancement since conception in the 19th century, and in a world where consumers are more demanding than ever before as most things just the touch of a button away, it’s fair to say that buses have some catching up to do in order to remain the top choice for city dwellers.
Whilst transport companies such as Uber and Lyft are already revamping private taxi services there has been little work to develop public services which could offer a cheaper and more sustainable way to get around, until now.
UK based start-up Citymapper are looking to transform the way we travel, as well as already making it simpler to navigate existing systems including train, bus, tube, and tram in key cities around the world. Their founder and CEO Azmat Yusuf emphasised the lagging progress in the sector, “All these other things are getting smarter and better, but why aren’t buses?”
Last month Citymapper took a significant step by launching their very own free bus system in London which was trialled over a two day period, conducting journeys on one key route.
The ‘CMX1’ route based around the river Thames in Central London stops at current bus stops and is connected to the Citymapper app whose main usage is to help commuters and tourists navigate public city travel routes in a simplified way, allowing users to find the simplest and quickest route to their destination.
The 30 seater buses nicknamed “Sprinters” will be trackable in real time on the app, and will be kitted out with on board screens to show passengers where they are, current travel updates, USB chargers and more. The buses, smaller than the traditional model are quicker and more agile, allowing for speedier journeys.
Citymapper highlight the importance of bringing the bus service up-to-date in order to “solve urgent problems of congestion and infrastructure”. Citymapper have benefited hugely by using their own data to analyse new routes that may work better than those already in use, and can use real-time traffic updates to make alterations to routes, improving overall efficiency.
Citymapper also boast a wealth of behavioural data gathered by analysing how commuters move around the city, which will give them an edge in understanding the needs that are required.
Across the pond San Francisco based app Chariot is also utilising new technology to rejuvenate the way shared travel works in our inner cities. The app uses GPS location services to help users find the location of nearby Chariot bus routes, and gives them their very own temporary ‘pop up’ bus stop, and with real time updates of where the nearest Chariot is users can easily reach their destination.
With Citymapper looking to roll out their concept, (along with other companies considering the positive change that can be made in improving public travel services) we can hope that soon we will all be able to access reliable, cheap, and eco-friendly services in our cities in the form of the smart bus. Watch this space.