Transport for London explores algorithm-powered buses

Written by Sam Trendall on 27 March 2018 in News
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Capital’s public transport agency seeks market feedback ahead of planned trial

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Transport for London is looking for advice from potential suppliers ahead of a possible co-funded trial of a “demand-responsive bus service” powered by algorithms and technology.

TfL has issued a request for feedback from the market with a view to ultimately launching a procurement process for trialling a public bus service that features routes and timetables that are flexible, and dictated by customer demand.

“These types of service have existed in various forms for several decades,” TfL said. “However, in recent years improvements in technology, including vastly improved routing algorithms, have opened up a number of new opportunities which could be used to enhance the availability of public transport for Londoners.”


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The potential use of a demand-responsive service could help improve the sustainability of transport in the capital in three key areas, TfL said: “helping to achieve modal shift to public transport in areas where car dependence is greatest; acting as a complement to the existing network and improving affordable access to essential services, employment, education and retail opportunities in areas with lower service coverage; and helping to promote a preference for travel by public transport and active modes amongst those moving into new residential areas”.

Anyone wishing to provide feedback is invited to do so over the next three months. TfL is ultimately hoping to work with one or more suppliers that would be willing to co-fund a trial alongside the transport agency.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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