Connected Mobility in the Public Transport Sector
Throughout history, humans have developed a wide variety of methods to communicate with each other. Today, technological advances allow us to stay connected with nearly everyone and everything around us. Some examples are the increasing prevalence of 5G networks, which offer faster and more reliable internet connections, and the internet of things (IoT). In the transportation industry, this increased connectivity has the potential to greatly improve the customer experience. For example, real-time tracking of public transportation vehicles can be made available to passengers, allowing them to better plan their trips and reduce wait times. Additionally, companies in the transportation industry can use these technologies to improve their operations and increase efficiency, ultimately leading to cost savings and improved service for customers. Connectivity also enables new forms of payment, route optimization, and predictive maintenance, all of which contribute to a better service to public transportation in cities. Mercedes-Benz Buses addresses connectivity from two different angles: Telematics and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
A telematics solution is a technology that connects to a vehicle's engine and collects information about its performance and usage. This information is then transmitted to a control center where it can be accessed and analyzed remotely. This allows administrators to monitor and measure the performance of their fleet against key performance indicators (KPIs), such as fuel consumption targets. For example, if a fuel consumption target is set, the telematics solution will be able to detect and alert the control center if the vehicle is not meeting that target. The fleet administrator can later address this topic and provide training to the operator. Additionally, a telematics solution can detect and measure other driving behaviors, such as aggressive turns or hard braking, and immediately alert the control center if necessary. Finally, the administrator can create geofences and alerts that warn if a bus leaves or enters the marked area. By investing in this type of technology, companies can ensure that their drivers are operating within established guidelines, which can help to improve the safety of passengers and reduce costs associated with fuel consumption.
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)
An Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is a powerful technology that complements the capabilities of a telematics solution and offers numerous benefits for cities, the environment, transportation companies, and passengers.
When implemented in a city, ITS technology can greatly improve the public transportation system, making it more efficient, reliable, and sustainable. Cities that require the use of ITS by public transportation companies are likely to see an increase in the number of people using public transportation and a decrease in pollution. It is a wonderful solution for all major cities.
For transportation companies, ITS technology can provide a number of advantages, such as digitalized and frequently updated route planning, real-time fleet management, and automatic feedback to drivers through a small screen installed on the bus. This enables companies to match bus supply with passenger demand more effectively, resulting in cost savings and increased profitability. Today, diesel represents the highest cost of the Total Ownership Cost (TCO) and ensuring each bus runs efficiently is crucial. Moreover, alerts can be managed from the monitoring center, ensuring decisions are taken there with a view of the whole fleet. This allows for a safer operation and avoids having phone calls between drivers and the administrator. Additionally, ITS technology has the capacity to include ticketing as part of the solution, which can help to prevent fraud and provide more flexibility for passengers.
Passengers also stand to benefit from ITS technology. With real-time information available, they can access information about bus locations and arrival times, allowing them to plan their schedules more effectively and reducing uncertainty about bus availability. Overall, ITS technology has the potential to significantly improve the customer experience and make public transportation a more attractive option for passengers.
As we can see, the advancement of connected mobility has already made it possible to introduce new interactions and features that were once thought to be impossible. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In the future, connectivity will play an even more critical role in the public transportation industry. For example, autonomous buses will be able to communicate with one another and with the city's infrastructure. This will allow them to coordinate their movements and optimize their routes in real-time, resulting in a more efficient and reliable service for passengers. Additionally, traffic lights will be able to communicate with buses, providing them with information like when to accelerate or brake as they approach intersections, based on the distance and remaining "green" time. Furthermore, buses will be able to send information to workshops about any potential damage to parts, allowing for predictive maintenance and ensuring that spare parts are available when needed. All these connectivity features will greatly improve the overall transportation experience.
As you can see, we are fortunate to live in an era of transport transformation, and to have the chance to design and shape the future of mobility.