Dear DOT Team and readers,
Just thought of sharing this idea with you, as I was reading through a book called "Lean Solutions" by Womack and Jones. During my last visit to US, in 2006, when I just landed up, during the initial days was commuting on the California city buses.
Many times, the buses were half-empty / were not stopping even when I used to wave my hands and while I was reflecting on some of the pointers of this book, thought would share the following pointers with you, in the hope that some of your Improvement or Kaizen champions might want to try the same out, in some form. You may take this as an idea, as my tribute to make the lives of the commuters of all Public transport vehicles way easier and for your department, to put in some thoughts on making the transport system a bit more relaxing, easy, efficient and cost-effective.
Improper utilization of the existing "big-sized" transport systems which operate on a fixed schedule, for a fixed route for a fixed transport provider.
For commuters, who are the end consumers, the pitfalls are as follows:
1. Crowded buses during the rush hours
2. Unavailability of buses during the non-office hours
3. Wait and Stranding on the road for the buses / volvos
For providers, which includes the transport operators, both government and private, the pitfalls could be
1. Plying huge buses across non-profitable routes even when there is no demand, causing losses along the routes
2. Operating margins take a hit due to the under-utilized or unitilized services provided using the standard fleet
3. Infrastructure cost for maintaining the big vehicles - overnight storage space, maintenance etc.
Suggested Solution Overview:
- Pull-based dynamic route assignment
- Efficient utilization of entire fleet in response to Customer demands
- With downsizing of commuting vehicle size, possibly an eco-friendly minimal seater fleet, the reach to the Customers could be increased to narrow streets / perhaps to a door-pickup
- Demand capture based on Customer needs - the Customer can just send a message through Cell / Web a day / at a specified time before and the "pacemaker" center-in-charge can allocate the best possible route depending on the demand patterns for the requested date and time of travel and based on other transportation preferences and reply back with a message containing the route numbers, vehicle IDs and other details. Non-stop destination travel would be the preferred solution
What can be done:
Build a message-sending command center which can talk with the Route Operators and depending on the predicted demand for that specific day based on the information received, help route exactly the required number of vehicles of the exact sizes for the exact routes for the exact times required. Based on the distance of travel, the operators can be paid using the information from this center. The Command Center's knowledge intelligence can be built in the solution.