Black Box For Bus

According to a project that is being developed by the Ho Chi Minh City Transport and Urban Public Works Service, every bus in Ho Chi Minh City will be equipped with a black box like the one on an air plane with some what different functions.

An Innovational Project

Developing transportation system by bus is an urgent requirement of people in Ho Chi Minh City to meet with the public needs, avoid traffic jams and environmental pollution, and also ensure traffic. However, certain matters in the operation and management of the bus network remain insufficient, which badly affected the city people’s daily lives.

At present, the Public Passenger Transportation Centre is managing eighty nine bus routes with about 15,000 trips per day in all over the city. Therefore, with that high transporting frequency, how could the centre prevent bus drivers from ignoring bus stops on their routes, stopping at unauthorized bus stops, or traveling on the wrong routes?

So far, the centre authority has had to use 200 agents to work as supervisors at the terminal stations, even though they have already known that the provisional solution could not stop those intentional acts by certain bus drivers.

That is the reason why a system of managing bus operation equipment was studied and invested by the Department of Transport and Urban Public Works. Thus, the “Inner City Public Transportation Facilities” came into being.

The general purpose of the project is to propose a solution for an effective investment of a bus management device system at the Public Transportation. This GIS and GPS add-in technology – based systems will be used to supervise routes of a bus. But due to a restricted fund, the investment of the project was divided into three stages in which the first one will focus on the investment in basic management devices. Fifteen black boxes will be given a trial run on some buses which run on different routes.

Buses will be equipped with black boxes

Bus Black Box: Who Will Get Benefit?

According to the researcher team, by using the GPS add-in technology, the black box set up on a bus can help supervise closely many aspects of a bus route.

For example, it can show whether a driver does not stop at a bus stop on his/her routes or not, the time that a bus spends on each route compared with the time on the graph, the running speed of a bus, through which, the centre can warn a driver immediately if he/she is driving over the limited speed, so possible accidents could be prevented.

Besides, the black box can show how many times a driver has braked suddenly (or how many times passengers lost their footing when the driver braked suddenly) or let supervisors know if a driver turns off the air condition (some drivers don’t turn on the air condition intentionally for fuel saving).

On the other hand, using equipped buses with black boxes, passengers will feel secure about the time and won’t be afraid of missing their bus. And especially, drivers will not dare drive too fast, thus, minimizing risks of accidents to passengers, and people on the streets.

As the cost of a black box is relatively high, it is difficult for bus owners who do not belong to the city - invested bus group to equip one. According to Dr. Le Van Trung, lecturer at the in Ho Chi Minh City Polytechnic University, member of the project team, the cost of a black box is about US$1,200. And in order to connect with the Center, the cost is US$5,000 per black box.

Therefore, a compromising solution is that the State budget will be used to buy the black boxes, which are to be for hire at an expected fee of VND300,000/bus/month.

The Transport and Urban Public Works Service is waiting for the approval of the City Authority this project.

By Trung Khanh – Quoc Trong - Translated by Hoang Uy

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