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RTA begins using machine learning in planning bus routes in Dubai

RTA begins using machine learning in planning bus routes in Dubai

The RTA aims to revamp 158 routes used by 2,158 buses in Dubai

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Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is now experimenting with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies including machine learning algorithms in helping plan bus routes in the emirate.

The system allows the transport authority to plan the routes on the basis of their usage by commuters every day.

By implementing this technology, the RTA aims to revamp 158 routes used by 2,158 buses in Dubai, revealed Ahmed Mahboub, executive director of Smart Services, Corporate Technology Support Services Sector at RTA.

“During a trial period, RTA experimented the use of technology on 10 routes where nol card data was employed to figure out all-day busy bus stops, stops used during peak hours, and rarely used stops,” said Mahboub.

“By using machine learning algorithms in analysing the captured data, the concerned departments can build up systems and take decisions with reference to abolishing certain stops, or proposing an express service that skips those stops.”

Mahboub said that the trial phase, which was carried out for 30 days, resulted in saving 13.3 per cent of time that would have been wasted otherwise on specific bus routes.

Buses in the emirate cover about 153 million km per annum, and hence planning the routes more efficiently could be vital to reducing overall fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions.

By automating the process, it could also save the RTA human resources spending several hours on planning these bus routes.

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