State of the world
Today we live in a digital world. The public transportation might seem old in some countries, but the best in class companies use state of the art technology:
- smart card travel passes
- electronic validators
- passenger count systems
- in bus display of the next station
- in bus local maps
Smart card travel passes
These are the most widely used ticketing system in modern bus companies. No paper is wasted. No fraud is possible (yet). The ecological impact is yet to be discovered. Most passes are made out of plastic for the card, which is not environment friendly. The electronic chip itself is another story. Today, computers cannot be recycled in a sustainable way. The rare metals in the electronic chips are near impossible to recycle. While the oyster cards seem the right choice, when the whole value chain is analyzed, some underrated factors gain much more importance than the initial assumption. So far, the trend is to go for smart cards.
In a modern bus, they allow the passengers to swipe their electronic passes with a natural gesture or so it seems. The fluorescent colored boxes vary in size, shape and color. While they seem different, the same components find themselves inside the boxes:
- low power small range antennae
- NFC readers
- smart card readers
The issue here is not the technology itself, but the long term impact it has on the human body. In the vast majority of the cases, the physical range of the radio waves emitted by the antenna is not at all specified. The driver sits for several hours a day near one or more such boxes. What better way to study the impact of the validators on people ?
In some cases, the smart card is validated from 10 cm. This is not the usual 2-4 cm range used in labs. While it is better to make the system accommodate all the smart passes, including the ones that are several years old, the health of the people is still at risk.
Passenger count systems
They are mounted above the doors and count people optically. Some buses use pressure sensors on chairs. In some cases, they come as standard equipment of the bus, they contribute to the final cost of the bus, yet they are not used by transportation companies. There are many excuses not to use such a smart system. Still, what better way to know the number of passengers. What better way to count the number of people who pay or who don’t pay for their ride.
In-bus display of the next station
More and more buses have such displays. They come handy when the bus is overcrowded, especially for tourists or people traveling for the first time in that city area. In many cases, the system uses both the local language and the English. Pretty useful.
In-bus local map for the current stop
These rarely used equipment has a yet-to-be-proven value. Mounted behind the driver or highly above, thy give information relative to the next stop.