A memorandum of cooperation was recently signed between Zenmov Inc and five bus operating companies for the Pilot Project Bus Passenger Information System to provide real-time information on the availability of buses in the Brunei-Muara District.
The pilot project sees collaboration between the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan, through the Smart City supported by the Japan ASEAN Mutual Partnership (Smart JAMP) programme under the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN).
The project is part of governmental efforts to improve the quality of the public bus transportation system, in line with the initiatives and action plans of the MTIC 2025 Strategic Plan and the ministry’s vision towards becoming a ‘Connected Smart Nation.’
It is also part of the Smart City Project (SmartJAMP) promoted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan to support smart city development in ASEAN cities.
President and CEO of Zenmov Inc Sumio Tanaka in his virtual remarks during the signing shared that the main objective of this year’s project is to conduct a pilot project utilising SMOC which is the operation management system for buses.
“By using the system, we will obtain operation data and feedbacks from users to gain a deeper and more practical understanding of the needs in Brunei, which will be useful for a full-scale introduction of a digitalised bus operation system in the future,” he said.
Tanaka was in Brunei several weeks ago to ensure that the pilot project will be implemented smoothly. “We visited over 800 bus stops in Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) to obtain accurate location data and we named all bus stops. We carefully conducted the mapping process of official bus routes approved by the Land Transport Department (JPD), together with the drivers of each bus company to reflect the data on our system,” he said.
“We waited for the drivers to finish their work and fetch them, visited each company, and educated each driver. We got stranded at the bus station in BSB and re-educated drivers who did not understand. We checked the detailed route from morning till late at night to ensure there were no mistakes. We managed to complete all the work. This is the first phase, and we will continue to contribute to the development of a unique bus operation management system suitable for Brunei based on information obtained through the pilot project.”
“We are looking at improving convenience for passengers and contribute to increasing revenues for bus operators. In addition to the use of the system by the locals, we will also make the system more useful for tourists and broaden the base of users,” he added.
Information on the background of the project notes that the Sultanate is a car-oriented society, and the use of buses, the only form of public transportation, has not been popularised locally. There are concerns about traffic congestion due to the increase in the number of cars in the future. There is also a need for public transportation due to the recent shift to two-generation families.
From the perspective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the national vision for sustainable economic growth (Brunei Vision 2035), the project aims to establish a “public transportation management system” to break away from a transportation system dependent on private vehicles through the efficient operation of buses.
As a method, the digitalisation of public transportation buses will be promoted to realise the introduction of highly convenient bus services through operational management and visualisation of current bus locations and arrival times.
To improve public bus services under the pilot project, an application (trial version app) will be introduced for smartphones; visualisation of bus operation management (introduction of large monitors showing information of bus locations); and establishing names of about 800 bus stops throughout BSB. Also mentioned is to identify further specific needs and issues for full-scale implementation.
The pilot project contents include testing the operation of the following information technology (IT) systems to gather specific needs and issues for the future: visualisation of bus location and arrival time, provision of the smartphone application for passengers; installing large-screen monitors at MTIC and JPD to display bus operation status; visualisation of transportation demand and generation of optimum schedules by monitoring the number of boardings and adjustment of vehicle intervals.