Exploring the potential of using real-time traveler data in public transport disturbance management

Åse Jevinger and Jan Persson, Public Transport August 2019

New and emerging technologies, such as connected sensors, smartphones and smart cards, offer new possibilities to collect rich real-time information about travelers. Moreover, smartphones also enable travelers to actively share information, for instance, about their intended travel plans. This type of information can be used to improve public transport disturbance management. In this paper, the potential gain of collecting different types of information about travelers is explored to support action decisions made by public transport actors, during unplanned disturbances. Based on interviews and workshops, the paper provides a mapping between different information types and possible action decisions that can be supported. Furthermore, based on a literature review focused on current and potential technical solutions, a guidance to which solutions support which type of action decisions, is also provided. Amongst others, the results show that automated fare collection, which is one of the most commonly implemented systems providing real-time information about the traveler, can support a large number of action decisions relevant in unplanned disturbance scenarios. The technical solution providing the most extensive information, and thereby providing the best support for the action decisions, involves smartphone apps delivering user-generated information. The drawback with this solution is that it might violate privacy, and that it typically relies on the travelers providing relevant information voluntarily.

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