Can Public Transport Be On Demand?
Imagine booking a self-driving vehicle on your smartphone. In just a few taps, you’ve arranged to be picked up at your doorstep and driven to the train station or bus stop you indicated. Sounds appealing?
A real-time, demand-driven intelligent transport system like this could be our reality in the not-so-distant future. Such a system has several attractive benefits:
- Optimises our land use while reducing the reliance on our workforce
- Offers commuters more options and accessibility for first- and last-mile connectivity
- Brings greater mobility to the elderly and other commuters who may have difficulties taking present-day public transport
Read on to see how we’re testing on-demand solutions to meet our public transport needs.
On-demand Shuttle Trials
Autonomous shuttles at Sentosa
In June 2018, MOT and ST Engineering started on-road testing of autonomous shuttles along a 1km road at Tanjong Beach, Sentosa. In 2019, this was extended to cover a 5km route. The trial allowed visitors to book these autonomous shuttles as and when they require them, using their smartphones.
Data collected from this trial was used to test how technology can be harnessed to strengthen intra-town connectivity and improve mobility for elderly and disabled commuters.
On-demand public buses
In December 2018, LTA conducted a 6-month on-demand public bus service trial to explore using dynamic routing and matching algorithms to optimise bus services. During the trial, commuters could request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within a defined area using a mobile app. This offered them seamless, convenient journeys during timings with low or unpredictable ridership.
Curious to know how the trial went? Click on the link to find out more about the trial outcome.