For a shortcut through B'lore's thoroughfares

For a shortcut through B'lore's thoroughfares

Online planner

That struggle to find your way through the City growing beyond recognition may well become a lot easier if the project, developed by a professor of the Civil Engineering department of the Indian Institute of Sciences’ (IISc), works as well as its developers claim.

The sponsored project, ‘Maargamitra’ - a multi-modal public transport trip planner for Bangalore City - has been developed by Ashish Verma, a professor of the institute. The project opens for the public on Monday.

People wishing to use public transport in the City, including a combination of bus and Metro, can access the website (http://planyourtrip.civil.iisc.ernet.in) and plan their itinerary by just keying in the origin and the final destination, using an interactive interface.

Funded through various government schemes, the project uses a specialised software called transcat, obtained through a Department of Science and Technology (DST)-funded project which was completed at the institute earlier.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Verma said: “We want to scale it further and give more options in future. Right now, we have the database of only BIG-10, Volvo and Metro Reach-1 routes.

Thereby, the maps and text providing details of how to travel are limited to these routes. This is an ongoing process and we are looking at other sources for funds to achieve the same.”

The system will not only display the best path (based on minimising the combination of walking time, travel time, waiting and transfer time) on a map and in a textual description form, but will also give the approximate travel time, fare and number of transfers involved (if any).

“Other than the best path based on minimum total travel time, the trip planner also gives best path based on a unique concept of ‘generalised cost’, in which the best path is obtained based on a weighted combination of walking time, travel time, waiting time, transfer time as well as fare,” Verma said.

On testing the website to provide information for travel from Shivajinagar to Koramangala fourth block, a map, accompanied by the following information came up on the screen: Skim values - fare: Rs 21, transfers: 1 and travel time (min):
27.798506. It also said that the person would have to walk for 0.689439 km, get onto Volvo 362E at MG Road for 1 stop, pay a fare of Rs 10, get off at Mayo Hall, and then get onto G3 at MG Road (Mayo Hall) for 7 stops, pay a fare of Rs 11, get off at Koramangala fourth block (Maharaja Hotel) and walk for 0.651697 km.

“All considerations can be imitated in trip itinerary planning, by considering a generalised cost approach during shortest path analysis for finding the optimum route through a multi-modal public transport network. To keep it simple at the beginning, we have used default weightage value based on our own study. However, in the coming months, the trip planner will be updated to allow users to input the weightages,” he said.

‘Maargamitra’, he said, is an attempt to convert the academic research into something useful to the society, and also promote the use of sustainable modes like public transport in the City. He said that a presentation on this system was made to BMTC and Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) a few months ago.

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