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PI: Eran Ben-Elia

Funder: ERA-NET Transport III Flagship Call “Future Traveling”

Is it possible to imagine a future urban transit system that is better fit to the needs and spatial distribution of travelers? Today many cities provide travelers with mostly accurate route and timetable information including real-time next bus arrival time. The problem is that this information is only useful so long as the transit services are regarded by travelers as relevant. In most cases transit networks were designed long ago while demand has been constantly changing resulting in spatial mismatch between transit supply and demand.

Our goal is to make the transit system more flexible and accommodating to spatial changes in demand. We accomplish this with two algorithms. First, using the mobile phone data and GPS records we monitor the movements of people and try to create meaningful clusters of passenger flows that can rideshare. Next, we allow the transit system to adapt by changing routes, vehicles and even timetables to accommodate these flows of passengers. Where flows are strong transit services are intensified and where flows are small, smaller vehicles and even demand-responsive taxis substitute regular bus service. We expect that in the near future this approach could be implemented for changing existing bus services in urban areas using information and communication technologies. The project is a joint-venture of several European partners and led by Tel Aviv University.