Saturday, November 18, 2017

New algorithm to show the next bus stop

I am developing a mobile app. It allows me to pick my bus service, e.g. 163 toward Toa Payoh and to pick the alighting point, e.g. stop 38, Opposite Thomson Plaza.

The app tells me which stop I am at now, e,g. Stop 23 ST Electronics. It updates the Stop No as the bus approachs each stop. When it reaches my destination, an alarm will sound.

I have also found an algorithm to tell me the next bus stop when I pass 10 meters from the current bus stop.

My method has the advantage of telling the commuter the number of stops before arriving at the destination.

It will be useful for a commuter who is visiting an unfamiliar place, or when he cannot see the landmarks at night, or on rainy day, or in a crowded bus.

The alarm is also useful as some commuters are too engrossed with their mobile device that they overlook to get off the bus at the destination.

The current algorithm used in the fare meter will only show the next bus stop when it approaches that bus stop. This change usually comes too late.

Some buses already have a digital display showing the next stop. However, it uses the same algorithm as the fare meter and the change of the next stop usually comes rather late.

Furthermore, this display shows only the description of the bus stop but not the sequence number. It is not as useful as the display on my mobile app, which shows both the sequence number and the description of the bus stop.

I am using GPS to detect the next bus stop. Someone said that it will drain my battery. I do not think it is a problem. I have been keeping my GPS "on" all the time anyway.

Another person told me that the bus does not use GPS to find the next bus stop. It uses a beacon at each bus stop that can be received by the bus to identify that stop. I wonder if that is a fact or just a speculation.

Anyway, when my mobile app is ready, I will be able to test the proof of concept.

Tan Kin Lian

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