Hitachi connects city’s entire transport network

  • August 1, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Hitachi Rail has launched a smart mobility suite that can connect a city’s entire transport network.

It includes a mobile app that allows passengers access to every mode of public transport in a city hands-free, using Bluetooth sensors to connect buses, trains and even funiculars. The 360Pass app gives users the ability to hire e-vehicles, pay for parking and identify e-mopeds.

The cheapest possible fare is automatically calculated at the end of each day based on the passenger’s actual usage, without needing to purchase a ticket.

For transport authorities, the smart mobility software empowers operators with a digital twin of the entire transportation network, giving real-time visibility of passenger and multi-modal transport flows around any city.

Hitachi’s Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite includes technology for passengers and transport operators alike, connecting smart ticketing, traffic flow management and e-charging through a common analytics platform.

The technology can be used in towns and cities across the world. In the launch programme – in Genoa, Italy – Hitachi has connected 663 buses, 2500 bus stops, the metro line used by 15 million people per year, two funiculars, one historic hillside railway, ten public lifts and two suburban bus routes that span 50km. Users also have the power – via the touch of a button on their mobile phones – to hire an electric car, pay for parking or find an e-moped.

The 360Pass smart ticketing app has eradicated the need to purchase a traditional paper ticket again; or to touch-in or download multiple apps for different transport services.

The 360Pass connects Bluetooth sensors that know when a passenger with the mobile app has boarded, how far they have travelled and when they disembarked. Users can take multi-modal journeys, but the 360Pass system will ensure they only pay the best possible fare at the end of each day.

The app offers more personalised information about public transport journeys, including the fastest and most convenient multi-modal route options and real-time journey updates.

It also lets passengers check how busy bus services are through the app, enabling them to choose less crowded services. This feature can help allay the increased anxiety about crowding post-Covid19, which a recent independent study found to be the second biggest determinant of passenger satisfaction.

The app is being delivered in partnership with the city’s public transport operator, AMT, and the municipality of Genoa, using the local brand name GoGoGe. The technology is part of the municipality’s drive to boost the usage of both public and private e-hire services. The project aims to provide more easily identifiable technology to the last-kilometre problem faced by passengers and public transport authorities around the world.

Genoa, home to two-thirds of a million people, faces similar transport difficulties to cities around the world – congestion, emissions and delivering quality services. The ambition on behalf of the city’s leadership is to unlock a step change in the use of sustainable mass transport across the metropolitan area.

Technology offers a way to reduce the reliance on private vehicles, helping the municipality meet its goals for congestion relief and reducing emissions, while optimising costs and the provision of transportation across the region. In cities such as Istanbul or London, drivers lose an average of 142 and 227 hours per year in congestion, respectively; optimising multi-modal public and hire transport can slash these wasted hours.

In addition to the 360Pass app, the suite gives operators the ability to connect, scale and optimise their city’s entire transportation network in real time.

The more than 7000 Bluetooth sensors installed in Genoa allow the creation of a digital twin of the region’s transport and passengers’ end-to-end multimodal journeys. This real-time electronic map of how the city is moving allows operators to optimise services and timetables, and create a system that accommodates the changing peaks and troughs in passenger demand. It can identify the issues that deter public transport usage, such as congestion, emissions, crowding or gaps in services.

In addition to smart ticketing, the suite can help operators control traffic flow and service patterns in real time, so operators can react more effectively to disruption or large-scale events happening across the city. Further, by joining up information about the level of emissions and congestion in different geographical areas, it allows operators to make smart decision about where to target electrification of services first and prioritise locations for charging for e-bus and e-car fleets and infrastructure.

“Hitachi’s Lumada Intelligent Mobility Management suite is a world first for smart mobility and can improve urban transport in cities around the world,” said Alessandro de Grazia, group head of smart ticketing at Hitachi Rail. “For the first time, passengers can plan and access the most convenient multi-modal journey for the cheapest fare, without ever removing their phone from their pockets. Today, cities face the challenges of growing public transport use to reduce emissions, cut congestion and boost their recoveries. From Dusseldorf to Dubai, Istanbul to Toronto, we can help operations connect, scale and optimise their entire transportation network through a single platform.”

Marco Beltrami, president of AMT, added: “GoGoGe, the name we chose in Genoa for Hitachi’s 360Pass app, offers a unique travel experience to our customers with the game-changing hands-free technology. We can follow our customers throughout their journey, across all transport systems, getting a clear picture of their end-to-end journey. Deploying Hitachi’s technology is a great opportunity for both AMT and the city of Genoa to be a leader in smart mobility and test innovative technologies that will make a big difference to travel in cities around the world.”

And Matteo Campora, councillor for mobility in Genoa, said: “The GoGoGe project is a flagship initiative that aims to encourage the transition towards a multimodal mobility that can reduce the travel carbon footprint, while leveraging the users’ needs. It also provides a public-private integrated mobility system that interconnects car-sharing, e-bikes and parking. That’s mobility-as-a-service, born thanks to the synergy of Genoa City Hall, AMT and Hitachi Rail.”

The 360Pass app is available for iOS and Android smart phones. It will be rolled out on a city-by-city basis in partnership with local transportation authorities and operators.

The Bluetooth sensor are easy to install and powered by batteries that last for around five years. The installation and set-up light infrastructure in Genoa took less than six months to be fully operationally ready.