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Using intelligent platforms to transform Public Transport in rapidly growing cities

Government authorities and transport operators must harness the power of technology to build effective, intelligent public transport networks.


Public transport operators and government authorities in emerging ASEAN countries face many challenges in providing public transport services for commuters. These include improving the transport infrastructure and reliability of services, while boosting commuter satisfaction.

Creating an effective public transport network does not always require adding more trains or buses, or building new infrastructure. So how can they overcome the challenges and deliver high-quality public transport services?

The answer lies in considering how technology can be used to effectively balance supply and demand using existing resources, in an environment where commuters’ needs and transport conditions can change by the minute.

This requires intelligent platforms that make the appropriate connections between traffic conditions, consumer preferences and fleet capacity, and deliver customized options to commuters’ smartphones and other mobile devices.

There are a number of solutions in the market, including location-based, real-time systems that integrate commuters, transport operators and authorities. But few cities are identical in their needs, and authorities or operators cannot simply implement off-the-shelf solutions.

Instead, intelligent platforms must be customized to the needs of each individual city, and have the functionality and flexibility needed to transform public transport networks.


An Accenture research has identified major public transport challenges in four major ASEAN cities— Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore. Common issues include low levels of public funding, infrastructure bottlenecks, and a lack of technical, operational and finance experience.

For instance, despite cutting-edge technology and infrastructure, overall satisfaction with public transport in Singapore has decreased since 2009, with waiting time being commuters’ biggest grouse.

Commuters in Kuala Lumpur have expressed frustration at the lack of integration between different transport modes. For commuters in Bangkok and Jakarta, it is the lack of frequent services that make them less likely to use public transport.

In ASEAN, transport operators have greater scope of introducing systems that can integrate commuter preferences with information systems on buses and trains, e-ticketing, road sensors, and traffic and weather data. These systems can help operators better address the needs of commuters.

Key Findings

Rapidly growing cities should consider intelligent platforms that harness cutting-edge technology to match supply and demand for public transport systems better address consumers’ needs, and enable collaboration between operators and third-party service providers. These systems have the capacity to transform cities and unlock mobility.

True mobility for transport networks: Real-time, intelligent platforms can change the experience of commuters, transport operators and authorities. These platforms deliver sophisticated predictions to help all parties better manage journeys by:

  • Giving commuters the latest and personalized travel recommendations.

  • Providing operators greater flexibility to respond to real-time and forecast changes in commuter demand.

  • Helping authorities use the information collected by the platforms to understand how the transport network functions as a whole, identify where improvements should be made to make commuters’ journeys better, and undertake evidence-based, long-term transport planning.

Facilitating collaborations with service providers: In current public transport systems, commuters, operators and service providers (such as retailers and public agencies) are all distinct groups. But intelligent public transport systems can link these three parties and offer excellent opportunities to commuters and service providers.

For example, by using intelligent, real-time systems, retailers could offer discounts or public authorities (such as the police or health departments) could provide commuters location-based updates on major events on their mobile devices along their travel routes.

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