Intelligent Transport System: Improving urban public transport in Mysore

  • Category
    Good Governance
  • Published
    16th Jul, 2020

In its effort to support the overall public transport system, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) introduced the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to deliver high-quality services and make the system more passenger-friendly through the appropriate use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Objectives

  • It was conceptualized to manage the entire public transport system in the city to make it safe, more efficient, and environment friendly.
  • By introducing real-time data and facilitating commuters with accurate information the project aims to reduce the commuter’s dependence on personal automobiles.
  • The initiative also promotes state-wide use of sustainable urban public transport by monitoring accidents and traffic congestion through the effective diversion of traffic in case of emergency.

Key Stakeholders

  • The major stakeholders are Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP); Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC); Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD); Global Environment Facility (GEF); the World Bank; United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC); IBI Group and CMC Limited.

Implementation Strategy & Components of Mysore ITS

  • It includes core systems like the Vehicle Tracking System, Real-Time Passenger Information System, and Central Control Station and technologies including Global Positioning System (GPS), Electronic Display Systems, and other ICT tools. A digital display unit is used for displaying details of arrival and departure of buses, in both Kannada and English.
  • Location information is updated by the Vehicle Mounted Unit (VMU) to the central server via General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). In this manner, the ITS has provided a sustainable solution to the problem of traffic congestion.
  • Based on the information collected through the VMU, bus stop information on current and forthcoming arrivals is displayed as well as announced inside buses.
  • For better operationalization and monitoring of the bus transport system, it is supported by a two-way communication voice facility for the driver and the Central Control Station to contact each other in case of emergencies or accidents.
  • In the end, daily reports about the number of bus stop skipped, delays in the arrival of buses, performance of the drivers, etc are generated through this system.

Impact of the Project

  • Greater safety, convenience, and commuter satisfaction:
    • It has resulted in safer travel, lesser traffic congestion, and delays leading to greater commuter satisfaction.
    • The display of ETA and ETD helps commuters to calculate the total time that will be taken to travel to any destination and accordingly help them plan their journey.
  • Positive environmental impact:
    • As the initiative does not demand any widening of roads, construction work, or cutting of trees, it has not inconvenienced residents of the city, and not harmed the environment in terms of air/water/noise pollution or vegetation or land degradation.
    • It has resulted in a favourable impact on the city’s environment by way of ensuring an efficient flow of traffic and reducing pollution.
  • Increased use of public transport, lesser traffic, and pollution:
    • It has led to increased use of public transport as it has become more convenient and reliable.
    • The reduction in the use of personal vehicles has also contributed to reduced traffic and pollution.

Key Challenges

  • The integration of VMU and the weak connectivity of GPRS posed a challenge to the technical team at KSRTC during the implementation of the ITS initiative in Mysore.
  • Since the system works to provide time-bound and real-time delivery of services, it faces challenges in the prediction of the expected time of arrival for all the bus stops with accuracy.
  • As it was not previously implemented anywhere else in the country there was a lack of in-house domain knowledge and the consequent dependence on consultants in addition to multi-level monitoring and coordination posed its own set of challenges.
  • Due to the funding from various sources, it has brought along its share of complexities in the system.
  • Another major obstacle was related to the taking of the drivers into confidence as most of them feel this system puts them under scrutiny.
  • The large scale of operations and consolidation of information networks was also found to be challenging. The other key challenge was to address the customer service through this unique technology.
  • Post-deployment, KSRTC faces the challenge to ensure security and maintenance of in-bus equipment and display boards and ensure uninterrupted power supply at bus shelters, which are not owned by KSRTC.

Conclusion

The Mysore-ITS initiative envisions building citizen-centric urban transport solutions instead of focusing on improving the conditions for private vehicles. Real-time information is the most important application of its implementation in Mysore. A well designed and planned ITS system in buses will make a significant improvement in the urban transport scenario in Indian cities, especially as it puts the needs of the majority who use public transport at the forefront.

Overview of Indian Urban Transport

  • By 2031, some 600 million people are expected to live in India’s cities. However, only about 20 Indian cities with populations over 500,000 have any kind of organized public transport systems.
  • In fact, the share of public transport in large Indian cities actually declined from some 70% in 1994 to almost 40% in 2007.
  • India’s public transport systems are largely run by public sector monopolies. They typically suffer from poor service, inefficient operations, and deteriorating finances, resulting in dramatically declining mode shares. On the other hand, private transportation is often very expensive, extracting a huge cost from the urban population, especially from the very poor.
  • To redress this imbalance, India’s National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) emphasizes the development of public transport systems and plans to increase their share to at least 50 percent of all motorized trips.

Other Initiatives:

Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)

  • Based on the concept of redesigning the city’s infrastructure and making the existing transport system accessible, efficient, and environment friendly, Ahmedabad’s BRTS has deployed the intelligent transport system since 2009.
  • Officially known as ‘Janmarg’, aims to dedicate separate lanes to buses, pedestrians, and non-motorized vehicles.
  • Features: Automatic Vehicle Tracking System; Electronic Fare Collection and Real-time Passenger Information System
  • Challenges: Narrow carriageway, high instances of encroachment, and requirement of additional land acquisition for construction of corridors, stations, etc.
  • This project has been awarded as the Best Sustainable Transport Award, 2010, and was adjudged the Best Mass Rapid Transit System by the Government of India, 2009.
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