Bus bunching prevention technology successfully trialled in Washington DC

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A new system designed to prevent bus bunching has been trialled in Washington DC, USA.

The system from EastBanc Technologies uses smartphones installed on buses which transmit a positioning signal every three seconds from every bus through EastBanc’s TransitIQ system. The tracking began in spring this year.

By reliably tracking bus positions every three seconds, TransitIQ allows dispatchers to alert bus drivers in real time if they need to speed up or slow down to avoid bus bunching. Peter Shashkin, a technical partner at Eastbenc, said that the firm’s initial focus was on better data which is ‘essential for public transportation networks to build trust with their customers through better reliability, which in turn saves money and creates revenue for the services.’

Peter said the data also allows for a more holistic study of problem points. By using EastBanc’s data-reporting solution, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) was able to understand how it could modify routes to help buses maintain 10-minute intervals. For Union Station, DDOT found that by adding a bus to the line three stops closer to Union Station, the buses were able to make it through traffic and continue to hit the 10-minute mark every time for the rest of their routes.

The EastBanc’s solution is designed to be quite low-tech. The devices used are smartphones, and the data is stored in a cloud and publicly available.

Peter said: “The system is easy, reliable and cheap.

“Cloud technology is now mainstream. We just need to take advantage of it.”