Belo Horizonte is one of the largest cities in Brazil. The city has a population of over 2 million people, making it one of the largest metropolitan agglomeration in the country.The city’s bus transportation system is managed by BHTrans, an organization that has been established in 1991.Now the organization is turning to mobile ticketing and iBeacons to improve the efficiency of its bus services.
Use of Buses
Bus travel is one of the most common forms of travel in the city of Belo Horizonte. Currently, the electronic ticketing system in the buses is an entry only system. The customer is charged a fixed rate when boarding the bus. Therefore, customers are not required to validate their tickets when leaving the bus. This is a common system used worldwide. However, this system does not allow to have an insightful analysis of factors such as vehicle occupancy levels and congestion.
Due to this reason, BHTrans lacked a visibility of congestion levels. The company did have the needed data to manage the capacity on its network. Consequently, some buses were running overly congested services. This in its turn, leads to poor customer service. On the other hand, the transport company also had buses that went under-utilised.
If a passenger has a negative experience traveling by bus, they will opt to take personal transport instead. This was also affecting the BHTrans reputation.Future Cities Catapult, a government supported center for the advancement of smart cities has recently launched a project to improve the smart city strategy and develop urban mobility.
Use of iBeacons in Buses
This had led to mobile ticket provider Corethree proposing a solution to BHTrans involving the use of iBeacons and mobile technology. This was aimed to capture data around congestion. The data is then sent back to update an established operation center in overcrowded areas. With the collected data, the company is able to see which areas suffer from congestion. Moreover, the company is able to see which areas repeatedly suffer from congestion and can adjust accordingly. Due to this information, BHTrans has the ability to adjust the number of buses on the route and fix the issue.
The app also allows users to contact BHTrans directly and alert them about possible network problems. This includes faults with bus stops, praise customer service levels and makes recommendations for improvements.By combining the data collected with iBeacons, the company can improve its strategic business decisions. Improving scheduling and providing passengers with informative and tailored updates.
The push notifications provided by the app, are aimed to seek to influence of a passenger travels. The system can capture the change in the behaviour of the passenger and reward them with tailored incentive collaborations with nearby retailers.
The use of iBeacons in the bus transport in Belo Horizonte provides better customer service and technological development in this sector. In the future, this system could even be used to provide on-demand buses. For example, if a group of people has a request for a bus at specific times and locations. BHTrans can then release an additional bus for the passengers.