China pilots first 5G smart bus route in Guangzhou

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/22 20:18:40

5G intelligent coordination system for city BRT in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province Photo: courtesy of Guangzhou Municipal Transportation Bureau

Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, has launched the country's first pilot BRT route that fully adopts a 5G intelligent coordination system. The Guangzhou Municipal Transportation Bureau on Monday said this can effectively streamline the city's public transportation scheduling and save the route's transport capacity by up to 10 percent.

The 17.4-kilometer B27 bus route, which has been selected for the pilot project, is one of the busiest shuttle routes in Guangzhou's BRT, and has 22 electrical vehicles. 

As the bus travels through an array of popular destinations, such as Zhongshan Avenue as well as the Tianhe Central Business District (one of the top three CBDs in China), the large passenger flow makes the route a good site for testing the 5G application, the bureau revealed in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday. 

According to the official statement, without reducing the quality of services, the application of the 5G smart system could save the route's transport capacity by 10 percent, and bring about an obvious improvement of efficiency when it comes to coordinating public transport resources. 

Insiders have described the system as an "actuary" of public bus operations. 

"Previously, it would take huge amounts of human resources and more than a week to schedule a bus route, while the outcome was not always sure to be accurate," a bus scheduling employee with the Guangzhou Public Transport told the Global Times on Monday.

"With the help of the 5G intelligent system, the scheduling work can be finished in a flash," he noted. 

5G intelligent coordination system for city BRT in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province Photo: courtesy of Guangzhou Municipal Transportation Bureau

The new 5G application enables video monitoring of the inside and outside environment of the moving vehicle, as well as the buses' and drivers' performance, and issue early warnings if a dangerous situation occurs, ensuring the safety of the trip in real-time, the statement said.

Information on the B27 bus route is also transmitted to city public transportation guiding app "Xingxuntong," allowing passengers to learn the location of the closest bus and how crowded it is.

"The app displays different emojis which read 'not so crowded' or 'seat vacancy available' and so on," a Guangzhou resident surnamed Huang, who is a frequent passenger on the B27 route, told the Global Times. She also found it quite useful knowing if there were seats on the coming buses to make her trip more comfortable.

According to officials with the Guangzhou transportation regulator, the entire BRT route has been covered with 5G signals, which enables basic internet services for some 600,000 residents who take the BRT on a daily basis. 

The city will further promote such applications for more bus routes and bus stations, a publicity department employee with the Guangzhou bureau, surnamed Li, revealed to the Global Times on Monday. 

Li stressed that the system does not collect passengers' private data, and video images of them taking the bus will be strictly managed in accordance with the country's video regulations. 

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