Fully equipped Public Transport: making travel time exploitable time for leisure, work, etc.

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Fully equipped Public Transport: making travel time exploitable time for leisure, work, etc.

EE Publishers (2017), “With onboard WiFi, commute time becomes work/play time”, [Online] Available from: http://www.ee.co.za/article/onboard-wifi-commute-time-becomes-workplay-time.html

Kapustka, P. (2012), “Wi-Fi on Buses and Trains: Better Service Ahead”, [Online] Available from: http://www.pcworld.com/article/260976/wi_fi_on_buses_and_trains_better_service_ahead.html

RiteAngle (2014), “Does bus wifi ease the morning commute?” [Online] Available from: http://www.riteangle.com/does-bus-wifi-ease-the-morning-commute/

UK Department for Culture, Media & Sport (2015), “News story: Millions of commuters now using Government’s free Wi-Fi on public transport”, [Online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-of-commuters-now-using-governments-free-wi-fi-on-public-transport

MagicBus (2017) https://www.magicbus.io/

Taylor, R. (2013), “Mass Transit Mobile WiFi & the Public Sector: Successful Implementation by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority”, [Online] Available from: http://vtaorgcontent.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/Site_Content/WiFi%20Case%20Study.pdf

Installing solid Internet services into moving vehicles is not, by any means, an elementary task. Technically, such connectivity is achieved via a cellular connection to a mobile router. The use of the newly introduced by cellular carriers "4G" wireless networks can support wireless bandwidth services that are much faster (even ten times faster) than previous networks. This will mean that transit operators can take advantage of a lot more mobile bandwidth both to improve services and to reduce costs.

Two main challenges that the responsible stakeholders should take into account before implementing such schemes are the cost to install and operate the WiFi service and the reliability of WiFi connection. In addition to that, it is generally easier to connect buses than trains, due to the fact that buses travel more slowly and are more likely to be in areas (city streets and urban highways), where cell coverage is satisfied.

A strong incentive for commuting by Public Transport is that it frees up time. For an increasing number of passengers, the time spending on the bus/train etc. is an opportunity to interact with a mobile device (laptop/smartphone) and take advantage of this time to work or use social media, communicate with others, get informed, relax etc.

Having free access to high-speed data, without usage limits, gives passengers more ways to be productive or entertain themselves while commuting, and that can provide significant motivation to use Public Transport instead of their personal vehicles. The journey to work for millions of commuters across the UK has been improved in 2015, as free Wi-Fi service has been installed on buses and trams in the context of a governments’ initiative for cities called “SuperConnected”. Hundreds of buses, trams and trains in nine cities across the UK have been equipped with free public Wi-Fi. In the first year of operation, more than three million users were making regular use of the service and the scheme keeps growing in popularity. In San Francisco area, USA, a new crowd – sourced commuter shuttle called “MagicBus” has made its appearance recently. MagicBus picks citizens up near their location of residence and drops them off at work. During the trip, they can surf the web or work using free on – board WiFi. WiFi access can be key factor in attracting more commuters off the roads over time. Moreover, installing WiFi can be an efficient long-term strategy for transit agencies, as upcoming generations are expected to use it more intensively than current generations. In a sense, WiFi holds the future of Public Transportation ridership.

Infrastructure and vehicle
General concept
  • Large urban area
  • Metropolitan areas

  • Bus
  • Metro/Light rail
  • Train

  • Attracting more customers
  • Increase customer satisfaction

  • Better experience
  • Improve comfort

  • Urban sprawl
  • Urbanization

Transit providers can benefit from the use of new business models, which involve advertisers paying to broadcast marketing messages to the users of the transit network using the wireless service. This has already been the case in some in some New York City subway stations (via a sponsorship from Google offers). Transit WiFi technology can deliver seamless advertisements at the beginning of each Internet session, bringing additional revenue for the transit agency.

Medium (4 to 8 months)
Medium (KEuro)
Medium (between 5 and 50 KEuro)
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