RideSpace: The Predictive Modelling Technology for Victoria’s Commuters
As Melbourne navigates a safe return to life after COVID, we’re starting to see more hints of normality everyday.
We’re making our way back into the office, going to the gym, and even getting on the beers. With this comes concerns about getting from A to B and complying with physical distancing in the process.
To help give commuters peace of mind, a free, mobile-responsive minisite known as RideSpace has been fast-tracked and made available to the Victorian public.
What is RideSpace?
RideSpace is a tool based on predictive modelling technology, developed by Myki ticketing system operator NTT Data and Telstra Purple. Following four months of extensive trials and testing, the tool (launched on January 31st) provides real-time information for passengers on Victoria’s metropolitan trains. The technology leverages predictive data modelling and machine learning, collecting occupancy data using passenger counting sensors.
In an aim to support social distancing and relieve crowd anxiety, RideSpace lets commuters know how busy trains, stations and platforms will be, before they even leave the house. The idea behind it is that passengers can make informed decisions to travel more safely using public transport.
Getting Melbourne back on track
At the height of the second lockdown, Victoria’s use of public transport dropped to 9% of normal levels. To get the city back on track, the government is understood to have developed a COVID-19 rescue package, which includes a payment of $56 million to Metro.
The RideSpace tool is just one part of a two-pronged approach to encourage people in Melbourne to return to public transport, and to give them the confidence that they will be able to dodge any overcrowding on their journey. The other layer to the strategy is a 30% discount for off-peak travel for three months.
How train riders can use RideSpace
Melburnians can instantly jump onto the RideSpace online tool to access real-time passenger volume on trains, stations and platforms around the city, and use this information to safely plan their journey.
The 3 key RideSpace features highlighted by Public Transport Victoria are:
- Real-time capacity. Check whether your train, station or platform is currently labelled as Very Quiet, Quiet, Busy or Very Busy.
- Real-time travel information. Keep an eye on arrival and departure times and stay aware of any delays, to avoid waiting around on platforms.
- Real-time capacity updates. Riders have the option to let RideSpace know how busy or quiet a service was, to improve the accuracy of data.
What about third-party apps?
As of yet, the technology is not available for integration with third-party journey planning apps. However, it’s expected that capacity data will be made available to outside apps at some point, in order to help passengers make informed choices about travelling safely. The government hasn’t yet given any hints about when this will happen.
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