SAN FRANCISCO and TEL AVIV, Israel, July 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Optibus, a high-tech mobility platform provider that improves mass transit service in hundreds of cities around the world, today announced the launch of a new set of multi-route planning capabilities within the Optibus cloud-native platform. The new capabilities enable transportation agencies and operators to plan multiple routes at the same time, making it easier for them to prioritize passenger needs for reliable, frequent and high-quality bus service while increasing operational efficiency and reducing costs.
"The way to increase ridership is to improve transportation in ways that directly affect existing and potential passengers. Our multi-route planning capabilities empower transit providers to do exactly that," said Optibus CEO and co-founder Amos Haggiag.
In addition to its primary competitor, the privately-owned car, buses must also face off against numerous additional mobility options, including car-hailing and ride-sharing options and micro-mobility vehicles such as electric bikes and scooters. Perhaps most insidious, though, is the feature of bus networks themselves that discourages ridership: namely, poor transit service. Fortunately, that's the element that transit providers are most capable of improving, particularly with the assistance of a mobility platform like Optibus.
With Optibus' multi-route planning, transit agencies and operators are able to rely on a high-tech, user-friendly solution to plan multiple routes at the same time. This allows transit providers to get a view of the entire transit corridor at once and coordinate trip times that would benefit passengers traveling through the corridor. Use of Optibus's multi-route planning capabilities would allow transportation agencies and operators to do the following:
• Reduce bus bunching and wait time: Who wants to wait for half an hour for a bus only to see three buses pull up at once? One way to reduce bus bunching is by adjusting headways, the time interval between buses moving in the same direction. Schedulers can use Optibus's planning and scheduling software to adjust headways on one route at a time, or they can analyze arrival and departure times for all buses traveling through the same transit corridor and adjust the headways such that passengers will regularly have a bus available across different routes.
• Coordinate transfer points: The need to transfer from one bus to another or from one mode of fixed-schedule transportation to another can be a deterrent for passengers, in part because the transfers are not always timed smoothly. If there is too much time between the first vehicle and the second, passengers can get frustrated having to wait too long. If there isn't enough time, the frustration stems from either having to rush to make the connection or missing the connection altogether. These transfer points can be difficult to plan when viewing one route at a time, but become more clear when planning multiple routes in one timetable.
• Interline bus routes: While coordinating transfer points helps passengers make smoother transfers, interlining can be used to eliminate the need for transferring altogether on certain trips. This is important because, as one Journal of Public Transportation study put it, "travelers strongly dislike transferring." Planning multiple routes in the timetable at the same time makes it easier to have buses interline, or switch from one route to another for select trips at a transfer point that both routes have in common. Optibus's multi-route planning supports scheduling interlining buses in which the bus and driver switch routes as passengers stay on board. Passengers who would ordinarily need to transfer from one bus to the other at the transfer point can stay on the bus as it switches to a different route, and arrive at their destination without needing to transfer buses.
Optibus's multi-route planning capabilities are part of an advanced planning and scheduling platform powered by a tech stack that includes powerful optimization algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed cloud computing. These can also be used to improve a bus network's appeal to riders. For instance, Optibus uses AI to evaluate historic on-time performance and then assess and predicts the likelihood that buses in any given schedule will arrive and depart on time. These pioneering, easy-to-use solutions enable transportation agencies and operators around the world to quickly and flexibly plan mass transportation on one cohesive platform, including route and timetable planning, vehicle and crew scheduling, and roster building.
"Transportation providers are now able to catch up to the tech revolution sweeping through the mobility industry by using advanced technology like machine learning and cloud computing to improve the quality of the mass transit operating in their cities," said Haggiag. "And you know what happens when people are more satisfied with the quality of public transit? They increase their transit use."
The public transit advocacy group TransitCenter found in a 2019 ridership report that the quality of transit service can either build ridership or discourage it with higher satisfaction adding up to almost one extra day a month of transit use. Use of a cutting-edge planning and scheduling platform like Optibus can not only reduce costs and increase operational efficiency for transit providers, but also improve transit quality for passengers – ultimately giving them more reason than ever to get on the bus.
Optibus's software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud-native planning and scheduling platform leverages artificial intelligence and powerful algorithms to rapidly reduce labor, fuel and vehicle costs as well as improve passenger service and grow ridership for mass transportation operators and agencies. With the most intelligent platform in the industry, Optibus ensures an improved rider experience through expertly planned and controlled core operations. Optibus has been chosen by more than 300 cities to drive some of the most complex and large-scale transportation operations worldwide, streamlining operations while reducing congestion, emissions and costs. The company has offices in San Francisco, London, Tel Aviv and Düsseldorf. For more information, please visit: