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The bus data revolution: The game-changer

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Opinion
The bus data revolution: The game-changer

As the world begins to open up again, we are beginning to see just how fundamentally our travel behavior has changed.

In the first part of a series on the bus data revolution (read part 2 here), we explain why data could be the game-changer that transforms the economics of the bus sector.

Our lives have changed. The way we work has changed. Where we shop has changed. How we spend our time off has changed. And that means that urban mobility patterns have changed too... perhaps forever.
 
Covid put rocket boosters on a series of pre-existing trends, such as the rise of flexible working, the growth of online retail and the resurgence of private car usage. Opinions over the extent and permanency of these trends may differ, but ignoring them is not a viable option.

No business survives without evolving its products to meet the market’s changing needs – and the mobility market is changing fast! The challenge for transit providers is to adapt to these changing mobility patterns. 

No business survives without evolving its products to meet the market’s changing needs – and the mobility market is changing fast!

To respond to this challenge, bus operators will need to combine their knowledge about their businesses and the communities they serve with the hard data now available to them. This data can come from a variety of sources and operators already have many at their fingertips – for example, GPS information, scheduling files and ticket machine data. 

Here at CitySwift, we believe that when combined with big data sources from the wider world, these datasets have the power to transform the economics of the bus sector and help operators attract a new generation of bus passengers.

These datasets have the power to transform the economics of the bus sector and help operators attract a new generation of bus passengers.

Data is the key to delivering frequent, fast, reliable bus services that meet the needs of the modern bus user and offer an attractive and affordable alternative to the private car. It will enable operators to offer quicker, guaranteed journey times; and optimize frequency by intelligently matching vehicle supply with passenger demand.

Data also allows bus operators to make informed decisions about their networks – and to be able to make those decisions quickly and react to sudden, unexpected events like, at its most extreme, the Covid pandemic. 

In that sort of situation, being data-ready is vitally important. If your data is ready to be analyzed - in other words, if it’s clean and consistent - it means you can extract usable insights astonishingly quickly.

You can also trust that those outputs will be entirely accurate and quickly able to assist in those all so important business decision-making processes that will elevate service quality and operational performance to a new level. 

Meanwhile, it’s imperative now more than ever to get people back on the bus. 

We all witnessed how cities and urban areas around the world looked and felt different during lockdown – and experienced the difference in air quality and noise levels when pre-pandemic traffic volumes evaporated almost overnight. As society returns to normal, public transit must play its part in creating a cleaner and greener future for societies across the globe.

As society returns to normal, public transit must play its part in creating a cleaner and greener future for societies across the globe.

That process will require us to work collaboratively to make buses as attractive as possible in a new era of post-Covid mobility. How do we do that? By ensuring networks and schedules are as efficient, robust and passenger-focused as possible.

Buses need to become the go-to choice for urban mobility. And that can be achieved by using the very latest industry-specific technology.

How CitySwift can help

The CitySwift suite of products, powered by our unique bus data engine, helps bus operators make real-time decisions based on accurate information and predictions. We take in data from a wide variety of sources and apply machine learning models to help unleash its full potential. 

But first, we apply a variety of bespoke techniques to ensure it is clean, concise, accurate and ready to assist in boosting operations and service quality to a new level. 

By augmenting and seamlessly integrating with the bus technology systems operators already have in place, our data engine can enable a deeper understanding of network performance and help deliver improved network planning with significantly reduced timescales.

Making the right decisions in a timely manner is what separates successful businesses from the unsuccessful ones – and data is the tool that will enable successful bus operators to make those decisions. It’s time to get data-ready.

Read part 2 of our Bus Data Revolution series here.

Learn more about CitySwift’s specialist bus data engine, request a demo or contact us to discover how CitySwift can help you make the most of your data.

Data-Led Optimization of the Bus Sector