Countdown for more efficient BRTs
The success of any Bus Rapid Transit system vitally depends on real-time arrival information at the stops. Without this, waiting passengers cannot be sure they will reach their destinations on time, and they often choose paratransit modes like taxis and rickshaws instead, defeating the BRT’s fundamental objective of sustainable urban mobility.
Gorba AG, a leading global manufacturer of mobile and stationary passenger information systems for the public transportation sector, has the answer in its iqube system, an inexpensive turnkey solution for BRT agencies and city bus undertakings that has the potential to make a big impact on the overall efficiency of BRT projects.
The iqube was added to Gorba’s portfolio of on- and in-vehicle displays, control units, and announcement systems only last September following its merger with Precimation AG, a manufacturer of stationary displays, onboard computers, and control centres.
In contrast to existing real-time passenger information (RTPI) systems, it consists of a network of intelligent bus stop displays that autonomously detect buses, transmit their positions, and precisely display their estimated arrival/departure time. The network is based on standard wireless mobile communication systems.
Till recently, the sophisticated CAD/AVL (computer-aided dispatch/automatic vehicle location) technologies on which existing individualised RTPI systems are based have actually proved to be an inhibitor to the widespread adoption of such systems even in the advanced markets of Western Europe.
By contrast the iqube system, introduced in 2000, was designed to run free from CAD/AVL and developed from markedly cheaper standardised components. Today, over 30 iqube systems are in operation in nine countries across Europe.
Signalling its aggressiveness of purpose in the Indian BRT market, Gorba entered into a 51:49 joint venture in December 2008 with Vadodara-based Integra Hindustan Control (IHC) Ltd, its licensee of only eight months till then. A manufacturer of railway signalling equipment, IHC was originally set up as a joint venture between Integra Signals, Switzerland, and ABB but is now majority-owned by Integra Holding.
Gorba Integra Systems Pvt Ltd displayed the iqube at the Busworld exhibition in Mumbai, where it attracted considerable interest, according to CEO Shashank Mehta, who says he has subsequently held discussions with a few agencies involved in BRT system implementation and a number of state transport corporations in the two weeks following the exhibition.
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