IISc develops trip planner to ease commuter woes
Hyderabad: While Google Maps can help you find the shortest possible route to a particular destination, a new trip planner for Bengaluru helps you find the public transport that will ferry you in the shortest possible time and charge you the minimum possible fare for a destination.
The Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) transportation lab has developed a web portal, named Maargamitra, which will help commuters to figure out which public transport will take the least possible time and fare on a particular route.
“People do use services like Google transit, but our database is much more exhaustive with a generalized cost method to give best path, for and without luggage, for, say, senior citizens and considers various other such factors,” said Ashish Verma, who set up the transportation lab and is an assistant professor at the Department of Civil Engineering and Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Planning at IISc.
“The algorithm is designed to choose an optimized route having the least amount of generalized cost or travel time,” said Verma.
Maargamitra went online in 2013, but the project was shelved due to paucity of funds and in view of the advent of new metro lines and changes in bus routes in Bengaluru. “With the help of financial aid from existing students and other resources of our own, we have revived the project and it will be online again with all the improvisations in 6-12 months,” Verma said.
Maargamitra has been developed based on several studies done by scientists at the transportation lab on the travel decisions of commuters, like choosing the mode and route. The scientists also studied the physiological and psychological profiles of drivers to map risk-seeking behaviour and accident history.
The lab has also developed various models to analyze factors influencing travel behaviour and decision-making along with traffic prediction tools like pedestrian thoroughfare and hawker movement.
“The models we develop essentially aim to understand the choice behaviour of commuters which can lead to better policy and infrastructure planning. For instance, an alteration of the parking policy in a congestion zone or an increase in the fares in government buses, or introduction of congestion charging in central area,” says Verma.
For Bengaluru, the institute has used data from case studies, surveys, the Bangalore Development Authority and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, and the Directorate of Urban Land Transport, Bengaluru.
With an aim to address the micro-level issues of traffic, the lab is working on projects to develop models on traffic flow and driving behaviour.
“The implementation remains a convoluted path depending on the functioning of many civic bodies, but on our part, we not only leverage scientific analysis to solve India-specific transport problems, but also regularly communicate the results so that they are made available for future use,” Verma said.