Canada’s Edmonton International Airport (EIA), NTT and the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN), with support from the Invest Alberta Corporation (IAC), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop smart transportation projects.
The MoU includes plans to deploy a pilot to deliver a digital on-demand bus service in and around EIA’s Airport City. The parties say the pilot will leverage a data-driven approach to improve the commuter experience and generate behavior insights that will be used to inform future solutions.
“Thanks to our collaboration with NTT and JOIN, we will be able to deliver smart transportation services and solutions related to on-demand service and Mobility as a Service (MaaS),” said Tom Ruth, president and CEO of Edmonton International Airport. “Enhancing passenger experience and improving social, environmental and economic impacts are some of EIA’s strategic initiatives that we believe will be accelerated by this partnership with NTT and JOIN.”
Leveraging NTT Smart Solutions, the initial phase of the pilot will focus on on-demand ride-hailing, flexible bus routing, scheduling and occupancy. EIA hopes that passengers will benefit from improved booking options via a mobile app and web portal. The service will allow for a near door-to-door service, with bus routes and schedules adjusting in real time to best suit commuter convenience.
Rideshare drivers will access a dedicated driver application providing route guidance between virtual stops and enabling them to manage trips. Occupancy information will be calculated for administrators to manage the operation in real time, and predicted occupancy will provide insights into the number of riders expected at select virtual stops in the future.
The on-demand bus solution will be managed by a centralized Smart Transit Central System that will allocate a shuttle to pick up passengers from their requested locations and take them to their destinations via the best route calculated in real time.
“We are very excited about this partnership with EIA and are honored to see NTT Smart Solutions supporting their strategic objectives,” said Akira Shimada, SVP at NTT. “By creating a Smart Transit System, we are also laying the foundation for other innovative services, such as on-demand autonomous shuttle solutions, that EIA and NTT will explore as part of our continuous investment in innovation and sustainability.”
If the rollout of the initial pilot on five buses is successful, EIA says it will consider expanding the service to other bus lines and service areas, with the possibility of including customized functionalities and additional data sources, such as flight schedules.