The extent to which bus stations serve as both major transportation hubs and key community centers means that they are often very complex public spaces. In many parts of the world, buses are the most frequently used method of travel, and hub stations are often integrated community-centric venues that see millions of visitors every year in urban centres. Given the high volume of traffic in and around bus stations, there is great potential for indoor mapping and navigation technology to simplify and improve operations within these busy, complicated facilities.
These are just three IoT use cases that make it beneficial for bus stations to have digitized indoor maps:
The GPS navigation we have become accustomed to when navigating the outside world is not available inside because it requires a line of sight to satellites in order to work effectively. This means that until very recently, indoor navigation for underground systems and stations inside buildings has been limited to static signage. At the most basic level, indoor wayfinding technology makes it possible for people to use turn-by-turn navigation that is not typically accessible indoors because of the constraints of GPS accessibility.
In some major cities, there have been huge strides made with indoor maps and positioning technology to provide real-time wayfinding solutions. For example, the South Korean capital city of Seoul mapped their indoor and subterranean infrastructure in 2012 and has been providing mobile navigation with their Fing app since 2012. In North America, New York’s famous Penn Station also uses indoor maps and positioning beacons to provide turn-by-turn directions.
Emergency Response and Security Management
Busy urban spaces like bus stations and public transportation terminals often face higher levels of risk in emergency situations than other environments due to their complexity and the volume of people present. It can be exceedingly difficult for emergency responders to find the fastest response routes, locate people quickly, and optimize resource allocation. With the Jibestream indoor navigation and mapping platform, users can monitor, locate, and visualize incidents on a map in real-time, overcoming typical GPS constraints in large buildings and subterranean networks by leveraging blue dot technology to respond with a higher level of accuracy.
Real-time location systems with indoor maps connected with emergency response planning can help to strengthen threat prevention and empower first responders to visualize multiple response routes to urgent situations.
Predictive Analytics and Maintenance
Many public transportation agencies have already started utilizing big data and predictive analytics to keep buses moving along routes without bunching and to service fleets to prevent breakdowns. For example, the Stockholm public transportation has deployed a system called ‘the commuter prognosis’ to use big data and an algorithm to predict, and often prevent, system delays up to two hours in advance, and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System studies bus and trolley ridership patterns using a predictive analytics platform to guide business decisions.
The same principles and benefits apply to bus stations: Real-time indoor location systems help organizations understand data with spatial context by merging tabular data with maps to gather new insights about their facilities. Indoor maps and predictive analytics can help with bus boarding zone allocation, fighting station passenger congestion, optimizing building maintenance planning, providing valuable foot traffic data to retail tenants, and more. With the visual context of a map, bus stations and transit authorities can make informed decisions and improve operations throughout their buildings.
Around the world, indoor mapping and location IoT technology is helping bus stations and other major transportation hubs to manage the flow of traffic, reduce passenger stress, and maintain smooth facility operations by integrating data with indoor maps.