Addressing Urbanization Pressure: Smart Bus In Ahmedabad, India

- Oct 19, 2018-

A smart city corresponds to a management system.
We can see that the population pressure faced by Indian cities is not smaller than that of Chinese cities. For the transformation of the ground transportation system, some cities in India may be more active than China.
In India, the number of people living in cities is less than one-third of the total population. However, these people contribute more than 58% of GDP to the country; 90% of the national tax is also from urban areas of India. It is estimated that in the next 20 years, the proportion of urban population in India will rise to about 40%, and the contribution to national GDP will also increase to nearly 70%. By 2050, India will overtake China and become the world's most populous country. By 2030, India will have 68 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, 13 cities with more than 4 million inhabitants, and six large cities with more than 10 million inhabitants. This unprecedented urbanization process will likely bring disaster to municipal infrastructure.
Today, India is facing challenges in urban facility planning in response to growing public demand for better water, public safety, transportation, and electricity. In Indian cities, the gap between the rich and the poor seems to be widening. This phenomenon is threatening the maintenance of social cohesion and may hinder the further development of the city.
City leaders must address these challenges and focus first on high impact areas. In all stages of urban development, how to solve the transportation problem is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges facing municipal infrastructure construction, because it affects the life of all walks of life and will bring huge benefits to the city. In addition, it is necessary to use the network and flexible technology to understand and plan the overall situation, and make timely and rapid adjustments to the construction of municipal infrastructure. This is a region that is far removed from the “smart city” in terms of concept and technology. No small challenge.
traffic congestion
India's transportation sector is large and diverse, accounting for 4.8% of GDP. The highway bears 90% of the country's passenger traffic and 65% of the freight volume. Despite this, it is still "supply" much less than "seeking". In the past 10 years, private transportation has increased by 10%; at the same time, vehicles parked on the roadside, street vendors, and people on the sidewalk have gradually encroached on roads and junctions. According to data provided by the police, nearly one-third of the city's five major cities are occupied by illegal parking. Urban roads and streets cover only 16% of the total development area (28% in the US). In terms of efficiency alone, the “crowding cost” including carbon emissions, accidents, fuel consumption, pressure and lost working hours is enormous.
To this end, the government has taken some measures, such as expanding the city's public transport system, subway lines and monorail elevated railways. In December 2005, a large-scale modern city plan, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM), was officially released with a budget of $20 billion. Significant results. A total of 15,260 buses have been added nationwide. In Pune alone (western Indian cities), the increase in the number of buses reduced road vehicles by 23%.
"People's Road" ("Janmarg" BRT system)
A successful example of the JnNURM program is the fast-bus system (BRT) “Janmarg” (Indian, meaning “the road of the people”) of Ahmedabad (the seventh largest city in India). With more than 5.5 million people, Ahmedabad is one of India's few little-known but fast-growing cities. In October 2009, the municipal company's subsidiary began operations. The commuter transportation route was very limited, but after the Janmarg system appeared, the bus route increased from 12 kilometers to 45 kilometers.
The system is equipped with a number of innovative technologies that allow it to be adjusted in real time, depending on the requirements, in actual use. All buses are equipped with an automatic vehicle positioning and tracking system to provide real-time feedback to the Transportation Management Center to estimate the arrival time of the vehicle. In addition, the vehicle dispatch distribution system can help managers to dispatch vehicles, optimize routes, and achieve effective terminal management. The lead manager can also use the system to track passenger information and discover trends in the number of vehicles used to increase or decrease the number of buses that are placed on the line and to add new lines. They can also post announcements in the entire network bus system.
In all aspects of transportation, the application range of digital instrumentation, intelligentization and integration technology is expanding rapidly. Many variables can be dynamically adjusted at any time by embedding sensors, cameras and dynamic signage in existing hardware infrastructure. A flexible toll collection design is used to charge higher tolls during peak hours; conversely, during non-traffic periods, lower fees are charged accordingly. This measure encourages citizens to plan their travel time reasonably, effectively alleviate road congestion and shorten the time spent on commuting. On the other hand, through the integrated toll management system, passengers can buy a ticket or a smart card, and they can travel unimpeded in the national intermodal transportation system – no matter whether it is by tram, bus, train or taxi. Spend extra time waiting in line. At the same time, each passenger's purchase information is fed back into the relevant central system, where managers can monitor traffic patterns and predict future trends.
The success of Ahmedabad’s Janmarg BRT system is encouraging. The number of users of urban public transportation systems has increased from 18,000 person-times/day to nearly 130,000 person-times/day. Nearly half of the passengers used to travel by car, motorcycle or electric tricycle. The speed of the bus has increased from the original average peak speed of 17-18 km/h to 24.12 km/h, the air pollution index has decreased (some buses operate with natural gas), and the traffic accident rate has also decreased.
Material excitation and cross-leverage (CROSS-LEVERAGE)
Auto Watchdog's People counter system is already a mature model, with public transport accounting for only 22% of urban traffic, far below the 50% requirement of the global basic service standard (New York) and 82% required by the first-class standard (Paris, Library) Ritiba). From the results of the Auto Watchdog's program (and other similar efforts to expand urban infrastructure in the country), the potential of smart technology is enormous. Not only does it improve individual mobility, but it also has a number of beneficial effects of reducing congestion: reducing carbon emissions, reducing gasoline use, increasing productivity, increasing economic opportunities, and reducing accident rates.
To meet the growing demand for roads and railways, you can't just open the line. Cities need to face a challenge: to build smarter, safer, more efficient and more flexible transportation networks with the power of new technologies. The government can learn from the Ahmedabad programme and seek ways to encourage similar investments. For example, the introduction of performance appraisal incentives to replace capital expenditures has prompted city managers to find ways to improve the efficiency of the entire city, rather than just spending time on making the simplest choices.
In addition, the government should find ways to cross-utilize these smart technologies more effectively. The traffic camera, Passenger counter system, tracking system and command center should also be used to enhance other functions of the city: such as accident monitoring and emergency response, monitoring suspicious activity information and sharing with law enforcement agencies, water infrastructure construction and disaster management (release flood warnings, check pipeline integrity), etc.
Transportation is just one of the challenges that India faces in the next 30 years of explosive growth in the city, but it is indeed a crucial one. Emerging smart technologies will play an increasingly important role in the future. They can help Indian cities in transition to adjust and adapt in time to make urban systems safer, more efficient and more responsive.