Pantonium Intelligent On-Demand Transit

Since September 2018, Pantonium has provided newly developed technology to enable an intelligent on-demand bus service in Belleville, Ontario. The technology deployed to Belleville is currently an alpha version. Several new features and capabilities are slated to be added to the system based on feedback of the initial pilot as well as Belleville’s future goals for public transit expansion – specifically to a whole new area of Belleville municipality called Ward 2, which has never has access to public transit before. Finally, a third overall objective of this project is to   deploy this technology to another municipal public transit agency that is similar to Belleville. This second site deployment will happen in Woodstock, Ontario. In parallel with the project in Belleville. This will be a test of the scalability and applicability of this software to other geographic areas.

In summary this project will:

  1. Generate original research and validate data generated by Pantonium’s On-Demand Transit (ODT) Software;
  2. Further innovate and iterate on the technology platform to make a commercializable product;
  3. Expand the project in Belleville to new service areas and deploy the technology to a new municipality.

These are the queries that are planned to be addressed by this proposed project for 2019:

  • How has the initial intelligent on-demand transit pilot impacted transit in Belleville?
  • What was the baseline efficiency of the transit service before the on-demand pilot?
  • Will native applications (iOs and Android) improve the service adoption rate and user experience?
  • What other features added to the software help improve the service?
  • How can the on-demand service be scaled to cover more of Belleville Transit’s area of responsibility?
  • Has on-demand transit allowed users to better achieve their daily demand for activity participation (e.g., has the system allowed new trips to be made that were previously not conducted due to poor transit supply?)
  • What is the nature of the activities that are being conducted using the new technology? Do these differ to the activities conducted by traditional transit users? How does this vary spatially (i.e., in areas with and without existing transit supply) and by different social strata?
  • Can Pantonium quantify the social return on Belleville’s investment in the new technology?
  • What would be the potential social return on investment in other jurisdictions in Canada (or abroad?)
  • What has been the impact on greenhouse gas emissions? Has the availability of on-demand transit reduced the number of car-based trips?

Pantonium wants this project to combine the expertise of university researchers, transit operators and technology developers to validate and expand upon the current Belleville project to assist Pantonium commercialize and scale up its on-demand transit system.

The study would begin by researching and understanding the historical transit framework  and ridership travel patterns for the region. Then there would be a report made on the current deployment of Pantonium’s software, which is a limited scale pilot. This will include rider and driver feedback on the whole user experience from both their perspectives, along with feedback from the transit agency’s management, city council and also the perspective of Pantonium’s support and project management team.

Overall the goal is to help Belleville determine the best way to utilize this system over a longer time frame and at a greater scale. This will aid Pantonium to build a commercialized and tested product.

Objectives:

  • Scaling an intelligent on-demand bus service for public transit from its current limited pilot stage.
  • Decreasing overall transit costs by reducing the number of empty buses operating.
  • Developing and deploying a native application for iOS and Android phones to compliment current web application and handle payments.
  • Functional improvements based on lessons learned and feedback from the Pilot phase.
  • Developing analytics to measure the impact of on-demand transit on public transit operations.

Deliverables:

  • Native mobile application for riders, allowing payments and improved user interface, access to real-time information, and a smoother trip booking process.
  • Upgraded mobile application for drivers to increase ease of use, remove unnecessary features and notifications.
  • Reporting features for administrative users to allow data and statistical to be generated on operations.
  • Multiple service area management features for administrative application.

This project falls directly under CUTRIC’s Theme #3: Big Data for mobility analytics and Mobility as a Service applications, as the technology specifically involves the optimization of public requested trips (through web, mobile, phone) into dynamic vehicle routes and schedules based on the analysis of data in real-time. The project could also be defined   as Theme #2: Smart vehicles and smart infrastructure technologies for autonomous and connected vehicles on roads and on rail (Intelligent Transportation Systems), as the whole technology platform being deployed is an “Intelligent Transportation System,” and the concept of EverRun, which is an autonomously functioning control system for public transit, is defined as “Intelligent Infrastructure.”

Project Partners:

Industry

Pantonium Belleville Transit

Academic

University of Toronto Ryerson University