Dubai adopts big data to monitor distancing on buses

  • August 4, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has set up a digital platform using big data to detect any lack of compliance with social distancing on public buses and take enforcement measures accordingly.
The move is part of RTA’s continued efforts to enhance the implementation of precautionary measures taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The platform is linked electronically with the control centres of the Public Transport Agency. It helps personnel take appropriate decisions whenever a breach of physical distancing instructions between passengers is detected. The platform relays details of incompliant buses including the route number, percentage of incompliance detected, date and time of the journey, driver details, and the extent and frequency of incompliance.
“The introduction of this technology is made as part of RTA’s plans to benefit from the applications of big data in improving services and operational processes of public transport means, especially under the prevailing challenges of Covid-19,” said Khaled Al Awadhi, director of transportation systems at RTA. “Thanks to this platform, RTA decided to deploy 18 buses to ease the congestion and assist with the compliance of physical distancing, which contributed effectively to reducing such violations.”
The objective of this technology is to control the spread of Covid-19 on 1615 buses covering most parts of Dubai.
“Therefore, it was vital to use advanced technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence to ensure greater compliance with physical distancing and other preventive measures,” said Al Awadhi.