Can information transform transportation network management?
The Athens Urban Transport Organization S.A. (OASA SA) is the authority responsible for planning, coordinating, and financing the public transport system in the metropolitan area of Athens. The mission of ΟASA is to enhance the competitiveness of public transport by improving its efficiency and effectiveness, as well as the level of service and network connectivity in the context of sustainable mobility. OASA with its subsidiaries OSY SA, the company responsible for operating buses and trolleybuses, and STASY SA, the operating company of metro and tram, is the largest public transport provider in Greece.
Starting in 2017, OASA introduced a smart card electronic ticketing system in the Athens public transport network, replacing the older paper tickets and cards. The Automated Fare Collection System is a significant source of real-time passenger data (e.g., ticket validations) that can be utilized to enhance the transport planning process. Big Data are also generated by the Telematics System introduced in 2016 by OASA, regarding real-time information on the geo-location of all buses and trolleybuses operated by OSY in greater Athens.
Apart from the practical everyday purposes that these types of data serve though, transportation-related and passenger-related information can also be utilized under the framework of more specific (and possibly urgent) scopes. More specifically, it can be acknowledged that the worldwide increasing number of natural disasters and human-induced emergencies along with the need for effective management of recurrent adverse circumstances call for the integration of traditional planning approaches with real-time management tactics. In such cases, transportation systems are expected to provide the necessary means for the execution of various types of operations (e.g. population evacuation, emergency logistics etc.), ensuring network connectivity and at least some level of network serviceability, with real-time information playing a pivotal role in capturing the fluctuating network conditions. In this light, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and information and communication technologies (ICT) can help with the collection and transmission of data to transportation stakeholders and travelers, enabling more informed decision-making by both sides. Of particular interest in this regard is data collection through social networks and mobile technologies, the rise of vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs) (allowing for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication and interaction) and cloud computing, the dissemination of information through advanced traveler information systems (ATIS) and variable / dynamic message signs (VMS / DMS), etc. This type of advanced data collection and exchange can decisively influence the decisions made by both the authorities and the travelers and transform the evolution of the respective operations.
In this respect, the FRONTIER project’s ANTME platform, through its library of contingency plans and capability of processing real-time information, is expected to critically contribute to the successful management of adverse events in Attica. Cooperation of key transport stakeholders in the region (AODOS, AMETRO, OASA) along with the expertise provided by the other project partners is guaranteed to ensure a technically advanced and practically applicable set of solutions that will revolutionize surface transportation systems management.
For more information about: (a) the state-of-the-practice in ITS technologies, their models and algorithms, and their application during real-time emergencies, (b) the state-of-the-art in ITS-aided emergency management, and (c) the role of information and its influence, implications, and complications during such events from a socio-behavioral perspective, the interested reader is referred to:
Iliopoulou, C., Konstantinidou, M.A., Kepaptsoglou, K.L., Stathopoulos, A. (2020). ITS Technologies for Decision Making during Evacuation Operations: A Review. Journal of Transportation Engineering, Part A: Systems, 146(4): 04020010, DOI: 10.1061/JTEPBS.0000329
You can also visit the official website of OASA SA for more information on the Athens Urban Transport Organization and its new projects.