City in France To Use Smart City Technology To Enhance Urban Transportation

Belfort, France, a city about 500 km southeast of Paris, is partnering with Tata Consultancy Services and Gfi Informatique to use data analytics to optimize urban bus transportation.

An aerial view of Belfort with the cathedral of Saint-Christophe in the foreground. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

An aerial view of Belfort with the cathedral of Saint-Christophe in the foreground. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The endeavor is a collaboration between the city’s Board of Public Transportation, Gfi Informatique and TCS to support Belfort’s smart city strategy, per a statement, and will deploy TCS’s “Intelligent Urban Exchange” software to help city administrators and public transportation planners make more informed decisions based on historical and real-time data. Employing these partnerships helps Belfort optimize its transportation services with existing or diminishing resources, without significantly impacting its carbon footprint.

Belfort, France, a city of 50,000 people, provided its partners with daily bus transportation information collected from its bus lines, as well as billing and ticketing data. This data was managed and analyzed using TCS’s software, supported by Gfi Informatique’s public sector domain expertise and data analytics resources.

Tata Consultancy Services is a global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization and Gfi Informatique is a vendor of value-added IT services and software.

“We were eager to participate in this experiment to make Belfort more attractive to citizens and support the economy,” said Yannick Monnier, Director of the Board of Public Transportation. “The results were very conclusive. The experiment allowed us to optimize our transportation network and realize savings,” he added.

There were three scenarios that accounted for the data to improve service on more than 100 buses traveling on the city’s five bus routes.

The first was measuring bus speeds to find places of congestion and make changes, like increasing the number of stops over certain time periods. Previously, city officials lacked the data to make informed recommendations to address this problem.

The second scenario was capturing the flow of passengers. Belfort employs a flat-rate bus ticketing system that determines the moment when passengers board buses but not when they depart. So finding flow data was a challenge but it also helpful for understanding how bus lines are actually used.

The third was finding the density and the number of passengers traveling per kilometer for any specific route. Due to the city’s ticketing system, administrators couldn’t determine how many people used which bus routes, meaning they were not able to eliminate infrequently used stops or routes.

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