Dubai’s RTA uses AI to map bus routes according to usage

Posted: 7 September 2020 |

In a bid to improve passenger experience and cut down on unnecessary emissions, the machine learning algorithms map routes depending on peak time usage and bus stop popularity.

bus in Dubai

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the start of an artificial intelligence (AI) trial on its buses. The pilot is to use machine learning algorithms to plan bus routes dependant on their degree of use throughout the day, as part of the authority’s endeavour to employ technologies to save time and effort and improve the customer experience in transportation.

Ahmed Mahboub, Executive Director of Smart Services at the Corporate Technical Support Services Sector at the authority, said: “The employment of artificial intelligence techniques represented by machine learning algorithms in bus route planning aims to re-plan the routes for all the 150 routes within Dubai. This will see the tech rolled out across 2,158 buses, and it has been tested as a trial phase on 10 routes using the ‘Nol’ card.

“When determining bus stops with heavy traffic throughout the day, and stops used only during peak hours, the concerned departments can then make decisions related to not stopping in certain situations, or suggesting fast lanes that bypass these situations while being able to take into account the needs of passengers.”

Mahboub pointed out that the pilot phase, which was implemented based on the Nol card data, resulted in a 30-day reduction in the wasted time for bus traffic by 13.3 per cent through the routes subject to the test, explaining that the annual average bus traffic is estimated at 153 million kilometres. He said that this means these technologies also contribute to reducing the amount of fuel consumed and thus reducing carbon emissions.