Demystifying Artificial Intelligence in public transport

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It is critically important for the public transport sector to stay on top of new trends as we strive to build, plan and operate the urban mobility systems of the future. Perhaps one of the most significant technological trends in recent years is the development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI has transformed the way we work, across all sectors, and has even begun to have an impact on our daily life. The opportunities that AI technology presents to the public transport sector are manifold: from customer service to operational excellence, AI is transforming the future of our services.

The UITP Asia-Pacific Centre for Transport Excellence, in collaboration with and co-funded by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore, has conducted a year-long study on the topic of Artificial Intelligence in Mass Public Transport. The objective of the project was to demystify AI, raise awareness in the public transport sector by landscape analysis and provide insights to organisations who may be considering AI-powered solutions.

Aside from a series of blogs written by expert consultants throughout the duration of the project, the results of this study concluded in a final report, launched at the UITP Asia-Pacific Annual Reception in Singapore (31 January 2018). The report outlines current use-cases of AI applications in public transport and what the future might hold for AI in public transport systems.

“Public transport should be more proactive to ride on AI and transform itself for the benefits of the travelling public”, Morris Cheung, Executive Director, MTR Corporation Limited (April 2018).

Public transport should be more proactive to ride on AI and transform itself for the benefits of the travelling public

Based on the online survey conducted as part of this research project, 62% of the surveyed public transport organisations are already involved in AI technologies projects and solutions.

At the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition (SITCE) held in July 2018, our member East Japan Railway Company (JR East) introduced Emiew, their customer service robot who was built to help travellers with their questions or queries in train stations.

In terms of operational excellence, industry players like NEC Hong Kong have installed a predictive bus operation system that optimises bus networks and time tables in real-time based on data such as passenger volumes and total number of daily trips per line.

In research and innovation, AI is considered an exciting development for public transport. The EU-funded project My-Trac (My TRAvel Companion) aims to develop a new transport application that will improve passenger experience by applying technologies such as AI algorithms and behavioural transport analytics. UITP is collaborating on this project together with eight other partners. 

It’s time to get informed and stay ahead of the digital curve! Discover more survey results, concrete use-cases and analyses in the full report. The report is available for free for members and available for purchase for 200 euros for non-members (a discount is available for multiple purchases). Please contact to order your copy!

Download the Executive Summary here!

For more information on the study and content of the report itself, please contact

Want to learn more about AI in public transport? Register now for our training programme on artificial intelligence in Paris, France from 3-5 July! 

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