The Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore has awarded
contracts worth $466,194.50 to two companies for the first phase of its trial
of on-demand, dynamically-routed public bus services.
LTA called a tender in August 2017 to seek proposals from
the industry to trial public bus services based on real-time commuter demand
and along dynamic routes, instead of plying on the basis of pre-determined and
fixed timetables and routes. Such customised bus services enable more direct
journeys for commuters, while optimising resources.
Ten proposals were received from both local and overseas
tenderers. Following a thorough evaluation process, American company, Via Transportation Inc. (Via) and local startup,
Ministry of Movement Pte Ltd (SWAT) were assessed
to have a strong understanding of the tender requirements.
These two companies also submitted comprehensive bids that
were high-quality and good value-for-money. Via and SWAT were therefore awarded
contracts for the first phase of the trial.
Both Via and SWAT have proven track records in developing on-demand
ride-sharing applications and operating real-time, dynamically-routed bus
services. Via is currently operating on-demand bus services in major
metropolitan cities, such as Chicago and New York. SWAT, which commenced
operations in Singapore in August 2016, is a taxi ridesharing service using
a real-time, data-powered approach.
The press release mentions that globally, on-demand bus
services have been implemented in major cities such as Helsinki in Finland,
Chicago, Minnesota, New York and Washington D.C. in the United States, and most
During the first phase of the trial, both Via and SWAT will develop a dynamic
matching and routing algorithm which will enable buses to be deployed according
to real-time commuter demand, as well as pick-up and drop-off points.
They will also conduct simulations to demonstrate and refine
the service standard and resource requirements to enable LTA to determine the
operational trial parameters, such as the trial area(s).
In the second phase, to be awarded in third quarter of 2018, the successful
tenderer(s) will work with LTA and public bus operators to test and calibrate
the software and hardware solutions before carrying out the operational trial
from the fourth quarter of 2018.
In the lead-up to the operational trial, LTA will work with
the bus operators and communities in the trial area(s) to familiarise residents
and commuters on the use of such bus services. During the operational hours of
on-demand bus services, LTA will continue to run selected low-demand feeder
and/or trunk bus services providing similar connections at a reduced frequency,
so that commuters who prefer the regular buses still have access to public bus
services. More details of the operational trial will be announced closer to the
This is part of Singapore’s continued Smart
Nation efforts to develop Smart Urban Mobility solutions that leverage
data and digital technologies to enhance the public transport commute.
Recently, LTA released
the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the land transport industry. The ITM
calls for the development of autonomous buses and dynamically-routed, on-demand
shuttles to enhance public transport by providing more responsive, efficient
and convenient transport modes for commuters. The Ministry of Transport (MOT)
and LTA announced in
November last year that autonomous scheduled buses and autonomous on-demand shuttles
will serve commuters in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District
(JID) in Singapore from 2022.