Entire city’s transport network is digitally connected with Hitachi’s new smart mobility suite

In a move that aims to change how people around the world will travel in towns and cities, Hitachi Rail has digitally connected public and private hire transport across an entire Italian city. The milestone has been achieved using technology from Hitachi’s newly-launched smart mobility suite called Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management.

The technology can be used in towns and cities across the world. In the launch programme in Genoa, Italy, Hitachi has connected 663 buses, 2500 bus stops, the metro line used by 15 million p.a., two funiculars, one historic hillside railway, 10 public lifts and two suburban bus routes that span 50km. Users also have the power – via the touch of a button on their mobile phones – to hire an electric car, pay for parking or find an e-moped.

Power to the passenger

As part of the world-first trial, Hitachi’s 360Pass smart ticketing app has eradicated the need to purchase a traditional paper ticket ever again; or to ‘touch-in’ or download multiple apps for different transport services.

The 360Pass connects Bluetooth sensors that know when a passenger with the mobile app has boarded, how far they have travelled and when they disembarked. Users can take multi-modal journeys, but the 360Pass system will ensure they only pay the best possible fare at the end of each day.

The 360Pass app offers more personalised information about public transport journeys, including the fastest and most convenient multi-modal route options and real time journey updates.

It also allows passengers to check how busy bus services are through the app, enabling them to choose less crowded services. This feature can help allay the increased anxiety about crowding post-Covid19, which a recent independent study found to be the second biggest determinant passenger satisfaction.

360Pass is being delivered in partnership with the city’s public transport operator, AMT, and the Municipality of Genoa, using the local brand name GoGoGe. The technology is part of the municipality’s drive to boost the usage of both public and private e-hire services. The innovative project aims to provide more easily identifiable solutions to the ‘last mile’ problem faced by passengers and public transport authorities around the world.

Transport authorities and operators

Genoa, home to two-thirds of a million people, faces similar transport challenges to cities around the world – congestion, emissions and delivering quality services. The ambition on behalf of the city’s leadership is to unlock a step change in the use of sustainable mass transport across the metropolitan area.

Technology offers a way to reduce the reliance on private vehicles – helping the municipality to meet its goals for congestion relief and reducing emissions – while optimising costs and the provision of transportation across the region. In cities such as Istanbul or London, drivers currently lose an average of 142 and 227 hours per year in congestion respectively, and optimising multi-modal public and hire transport can slash these wasted hours.

In addition to the 360Pass mobile app for passengers, the Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite gives operators the ability to connect, scale and optimise their city’s entire transportation network in real time.

The over 7,000 Bluetooth sensors installed in Genoa allow the creation of a “digital twin” of the region’s transport and passengers’ end-to-end multimodal journeys. This real-time electronic map of how the city is moving is a powerful tool to allow operators to optimise services, timetables and create a system that better accommodates the changing peaks and troughs in passenger demand. It can identify the issues that deter public transport usage, such as congestion, emissions, crowding or gaps in services.

In addition to smart ticketing, the suite can combine solutions to help operators control traffic flow and service patterns in real time, allow operators to react more effectively to disruption or large scale events (concerts or sporting) happening across the city. Further, by join up information about the level of emissions and congestion in different geographical area, it allows operators to make smart decision about where to target electrification of services first and prioritise locations for charging for e-bus and e-car fleets and infrastructure.

Alessandro de Grazia, group head of smart ticketing, Hitachi Rail, says “Hitachi’s Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite is a world first for smart mobility and can improve urban transport in cities around the world. For the first time, passengers can plan and access the most convenient multi-modal journey for the cheapest fare, without ever removing their phone from their pockets.

“Today, cities face the challenges of growing public transport use to reduce emissions, cut congestion and boost their recoveries. Our new solutions – proven in Genoa – provide a uniquely powerful platform for operators around the world. From Dusseldorf to Dubai, Istanbul to Toronto – we can help operations connect, scale and optimise their entire transportation network through a single platform.”

As a global leader in transport and technology, Hitachi’s vision for smart mobility is to digitise and optimise every part of the journey across different types of public transport. The new suite embodies Hitachi Rail’s holistic vision for smarter mobility, incorporating solutions across three key areas: smart ticketing, mobility management and electrified mobility solutions. While the firm is known for delivering trains and rail infrastructure around the world, including the iconic shinkansen bullet trains, the digitisation of transport systems is an important and growing area of focus.

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