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Saigon’s ‘smart city’ dream starts with smart transport

Saigon’s ‘smart city’ dream starts with smart transport

Tuesday, December 06, 2016, 20:25 GMT+7

Ho Chi Minh City is one step ahead of the country in terms of developing smart transport projects aimed at facilitating a smoother on-road experience for residents.

Pointing at his smartphone, the head of the public transport authority of Ho Chi Minh City said bus users could now look up information on any route at the touch of their finger using the BusMap application.

BusMap is a mobile application that offers users comprehensive information on buses in Ho Chi Minh City, from routes, stops and stations, real-time tracking, to a navigation system that helps users choose which bus to take to get from one location to another.

The application also allows bus passengers to report unsatisfactory experiences, which can be submitted directly to the public transport operation center for review.

Developed by a local undergraduate student using data provided by the city’s Department of Transport, BusMap now boasts around 26,000 daily users after just over a year since it was launched in 2015.

The application is available on all three common operating systems: Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

BusMap is one of many smart transport projects under way in Ho Chi Minh City, part of an ambitious plan to turn the southern metropolis into a smart city.

According to Le Minh Triet, acting head of the Management Center of the Saigon River Tunnel, which is also in charge of monitoring the city’s entire traffic network, 53 LED message display boards have been installed across the city, with 100 more set for future installation.

The digital boards inform commuters of traffic congestion and accidents on the roads while also suggesting alternative routes to redirect traffic away from the affected streets.

Information provided by the boards is updated in real time using footage from a network of over 300 close-circuit traffic cameras installed across the city, Triet said.

The city is also developing a smart 'traffic information system,' set to be launched in 2017, that will allow residents to track the level of congestion and flooding on each of the city’s roads via their smartphones.

In the future, the system will be connected to traffic cameras, allowing users to view live footage of city streets, Triet said.

In addition, the city is planning to invest VND250 billion (US$11 million) in installing smart traffic lights at over 300 busy intersections between 2016 and 2017, which will be controlled remotely by a central traffic control center.

In the second phase of the project, which will be completed after 2020, the control center will be able to monitor all traffic activities in the city, according to officials at the municipal Department of Transport.

Ho Chi Minh City is also looking to modernize its bus fleet by requiring over 2,700 of its buses to have security cameras installed in 2017, with electronic tickets to be introduced early the same year.

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