Thursday, April 18, 2024

New technology will shorten bus travel times

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Buses on some routes across Auckland will get to their destination quicker thanks to new technology. Times file photo Wayne Martin

Passengers using the Eastern Busway will soon make use of new technology ensuring they get to where they’re going quicker than before.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has announced he’s delivering on a promise he made during the local election campaign to improve the reliability of the city’s public transport.

The move is expected to improve travel times for east Auckland’s bus users.

Brown says Auckland Transport (AT) is rolling out new technology giving buses priority across three key road corridors.

The announcement follows his call to use cost-effective technology to improve travel times and reduce congestion.

GPS tracking will give buses priority at key intersections to keep them to their planned timetables.

Trials at individual intersections last year showed a reduction in wait times for buses of between 10-35 per cent.

The technology has been introduced along two busy corridors and is planned to go live at locations including seven intersections along the Eastern Busway in east Auckland on May 26.

Brown says he looks forward to the improvements being rolled out across the city.

“I campaigned on a promise to fix Auckland traffic.

“Transponders on buses were one of my simple solutions and I’m pleased to see us make a start.

“It’s great to see AT using modern technology to make commonsense changes to traffic signals to fix our bus network, going to show you can make positive improvements with minimal investment.

“Reliable buses are essential to addressing the current public transport crisis, getting our city back on track, and this will have benefits for all road users.”

AT group manager digital and technology delivery, Chris Creighton, says the initiative is another step to get more people back on buses.

“We acknowledge it’s been a tough time for public transport across the region and we’re taking significant measures to fix this.

“Along with reducing the bus driver shortage, rolling out more bus lanes, and adding double-deckers on busy routes, introducing bus priority is another key step we’re taking to improve reliability for bus users.”

Creighton says the system AT has developed will allow buses to run to more reliable timetables.

“All buses in Auckland are fitted with GPS devices that transmit their location every 11 seconds.

“With this system, information such as whether the bus route is late running or not will determine if an individual bus gets priority at the upcoming intersection.”

AT says it will look to develop a programme for further locations with the aim of either improving later running buses and or speeding up the journey times for buses.

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