Preliminary tests are being conducted for Buzz, a free mobile application that plans routes to travel in Santiago, Chile through the combination of different modes of sustainable transportation, such as bicycles and transit. The mobile initiative –which has the support of the Innova Corfo and the Fund for Promotion of Scientific and Technological Development (FONDEF – for its initials in Spanish) of Conicyt, also informs users how much time is left before buses pass through each stop. In addition, the app estimates the amount of passengers in each bus, allowing users to decide if they should wait for a bus with fewer passengers, especially in hours of increased traffic.
“It is common to see empty buses traveling behind jam-packed ones, both serving the same route, because of system regularity problems. As this increases waiting times, users became anxious and jump up to the first bus that arrives, without considering that often the following one comes with fewer people, “points Pedro Lizana, who along with Gabriel Vidal is part of the engineering team from Pontificia Universidad Católica that performs the testing of the application. For the workgroup, one of the challenges of this project is to reverse this situation delivering real-time information on the arrival time of each bus accompanied with an estimate of the level of occupancy of the routes. This will allow users to make better decisions.
In the case of bicycles, the app gives information on bike paths, workshops and stores for cyclists. In addition, it also reports in-time information of the location of public parking bike, quantity and availability of these.
BRTCoE director, Juan Carlos Muñoz, highlighted the contribution of this initiative by combining real-time and historical information on the different ways to travel in Santiago, which could help reduce car use. “The app is designed to help people who are willing to travel around the city without a car, because it gather tools that are important for daily trips and also for sporadic ones. For example, it lets you know how much longer until a bus arrives. Also it help you decide if you should let a bus go to take an emptier one and gives users multimodal options for planning a trip,” our director stated. Juan Carlos Muñoz added that the increasing use of bicycles in Santiago and the success of public bikes, makes essential to promote combined trips between bicycles and public transport. In this sense, he said, the mobile app is a great news for users.
During testing phase, Buzz will be available only for Android and initially displays the estimated load level for only some bus routes. However, the information of the arrival times at the stops will be available for the entire system. Passengers will also be allowed to assess the quality of service and leave a record if the driver respected the use of the stops or if a bus appearing on the system is not operating but travelling to a new destination. Through the mobile app, users can also view the stops, metro stations and charging points in general.
More information: www.buzzapp.cl