Cisco investigates the next generation of public transport

Cisco is to investigate the next generation of public transport through a newly-announced initiative called CitySPIRE.

This 18-month research and development project led by the Cisco Innovation team, and funded by Innovate UK, has the express purpose of demonstrating the potential of demand-responsive transport.

Announcing the project in a blog post, Nick Chrissos, Business Development Manager for UK&I Collaboration Sales said that, along with a consortium of partners including Transport for Greater Manchester, Location Sciences, Movement StrategiesPurple, and Simply Connect, Cisco will be testing the value and viability of data-responsive mobility services.

“That is,” he explained, “services that are based on real-time data that’s aggregated and analysed in order to provide an updated picture of where people want to go and when.”

The project is based in Manchester – home to the brand new innovation centre, Mi-IDEA.


What does this look like in reality?

Chrissos continued: “We’ll be developing, operating and evaluating a number of use cases across the project.

“Firstly, we want to demonstrate the ability to predict and respond to demand with an appropriate supply of vehicles. That is, knowing when (and where) a bus is needed, and when (and where) something smaller might suffice.

“With this, we’ll improve accessibility, passenger experience, sustainability, and footfall to popular destinations – all the while reducing congestion, and the road accidents that typically follow.”


Data focus

The post goes on to say that Cisco will also be able to use the data being gathered and aggregated to better understand the profile of transport users: where they’re going, where they want to, how they want to get there, what they want to do when they arrive.

“With this kind of information, providing a better, more personalised service becomes an obvious next step,” Chrissos explained.

“In the long term, our findings will inform how to improve transport infrastructure to more closely match people’s actual needs, and to make it more sustainable too.

“A key challenge in all of this is that it requires data owners to share their data. Our cities are troves of the stuff, but much of it exists in siloes.

“Part of our mission with CitySPIRE is to prove the value of data-sharing ecosystems: showing it to be not only a sustainable approach, but one that offers benefits to both commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people using their services.”

More information on the project can be found in this video:

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