information and new data to effectively manage their resources and services more efficiently, doing so for the benefit of citizens. Quebec is already positioning itself as a pioneer in mobility and smart cities, namely through an innovative project in the field of public transport systems: Tangente IA. A project which the Quebec government committed, in October 2020, to provide $5.6 million in support.
Tangente IA connects solar-powered IoT devices to bus stops, gathering important data such as passenger numbers, waiting time, air pollution and the level of noise, among other factors. The solution provides real-time information to passengers regarding upcoming departures and other travel alternatives at every stop, not just at major junctions.
This first project of its kind in North America is being conducted by BusPas with the collaboration of several researchers from Quebec universities, including McGill, Concordia, Polytechnique Montreal, HEC Montreal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). A successful industry-academic collaboration that lays a considerable foundation for the development of smart city connectivity with real-world pilot projects carried out in the near future.
Connecting Laval through its public transport
Discussions are underway to establish a partnership with the City of Laval and the Société de transport de Laval for a future pilot project at certain bus stops.
Through such pilot projects, BusPas will attempt to understand and provide solutions to different obstacles that transport agencies encounter. By perfectly understanding the diverse aspects linked to traffic flows, logistics and others factors that public transit faces on a city scale, BusPas will facilitate the deployment of its solution to other cities in North America and beyond.
Smart cities during a pandemic
Tangente IA’s technology can provide essential data for public transport during this pandemic. Indeed, the solution allows agencies to not only be able to detect traffic jams, major bus stops and the routes most frequented (and if these shift during a pandemic); but also, will provide information about bus capacity, making it possible to better control the commuter traffic on board.
The sensors put in place will therefore allow public transport systems to adapt to the situation during this period of pandemic, as well as readjusting to the post-pandemic recovery. The work will be greatly facilitated thanks to the data transmitted in real time by the sensors, effectively limiting trial and error. This will completely transform the customer experience of public transport.
Connecting entire cities via public transport
The first step instigated by Tangente IA sensors aims to connect thousands of IoT devices located at every point in the city into a preliminary and foundational network for any smart city. What was initially a dedicated network for the public transport system can then be reshaped to meet the different data needs of the city, thanks to an application programming interface embedded in each of the sensors and a business intelligence platform. For example, measuring ambient temperature and CO2 levels in the air allows for accurate mapping of heat islands and major pollution points.
As cities continue to implement smart initiatives, intelligent transportation is providing tangible and effective solutions to common mobility problems. These solutions will evolve based on the ability to capture and exploit the flow of data. ‘By taking all these great technologies that have become accessible and reliable and introducing them in very strategic places, Tangente IA is helping to improve the citizen experience and influence the way transportation companies operate around the world,’ Greg Vitetzakis, vice president of technology for BusPas.
Tangente IA will comply with regulatory requirements on the respect of user data: data encryption, data storage for minimal periods and data anonymization.