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Dubai’s RTA applies AI, machine learning to plan better bus routes

Published: Updated:

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has begun experimenting on the use of Artificial Intelligence technologies and machine learning algorithms in plotting bus routes in Dubai, according to officials.

The new step is part of the RTA’s plans to apply technology in saving the time and effort of all parties and improving the experience of public transport users.

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"The use of AI such as machine learning algorithms, in planning the routes of public buses aims to revamp the planning of 150 routes used by 2,158 buses all over Dubai. During a trial period, the RTA experimented on 10 routes where nol card data was employed to figure out all-day busy bus stops, stops used during peak hours, and rarely used stops," said Ahmed Mahboub, Executive Director of Smart Services, Corporate Technology Support Services Sector at RTA.

"By using machine learning algorithms in analysing the captured data, the concerned departments can build up systems and take decisions with reference to abolishing certain stops, or proposing an express service that skips those stops, while ensuring customer needs are always addressed. Such a process will contribute to improving this vital service," he added in the report carried by the Emirates News Agency.

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The trial phase, which was carried out for 30 days, resulted in saving the time that would be wasted on bus routes by 13.3 percent, according to RTA

As buses cover nearly 153 million kilometers per annum, the technology is set to bring about considerable savings in fuel consumption and the reduction of carbon emissions.