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SMRT installs recorders in its buses for a safer ride

Zafirah Salim | Aug. 4, 2014
This new device helps monitor drivers’ speeding behaviour, and alert them should they break any safe driving practices.

Local public transport operator, SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT), has partnered NEC Asia Pacific to provide recorders in its buses to track if its drivers are speeding or driving recklessly.

According to a The Straits Times (ST) report dated August 4, 2014, SMRT tested the telematics technology early this year, and began installing devices on its fleet of 1,200 buses in May.

These recording devices track driving behaviour in real-time and alert drivers when they have exceeded the 60 kilometres per hour (km/h) speed limit, accelerated or stopped too abruptly and changed lanes or taken a turn too sharply. Drivers who are consistently flagged will be called up and possibly sent for defensive driving sessions.

The move to install such telematics devices is part of a broader plan to improve driver behaviour and to ensure a smoother and safer ride for commuters, said Tan Kian Heong, Vice President of SMRT Buses.

In addition, SMRT is also using big data analytics to study driving behaviour and routes to identify areas for improvement. It will be installing new panels on the 12 buses that ply Bukit Batok service 189 by this month. These panels will be placed near the front door, displaying the estimated time of arrival for the next bus, as well as its crowdedness.

Together with NEC, SMRT is also using the telematics data gathered to develop a system to improve its bus operations. This "service control management system" aims to provide service controllers with solutions to ensure buses run regularly.

In the same ST report, Tan explained that this new system allows service controllers in SMRT's bus operations control centre in Woodlands to know the exact location of each bus and the distance between them.

SMRT chief bus service controller, Teo Teck Chai, said that the old bus tracking system is not as accurate or timely as the new one as it updates the position of a bus only after five minutes, compared to about 30 seconds for the new one.

Currently, SMRT's ration of service controllers to buses is one controller to about 100 buses. Tan said that the company will find a way to integrate its new service control system with a common bus fleet management system that the Land Transport Authority of Singapore will introduce by 2017.


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