An application to beat the traffic

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Application uses data from taxis to provide real time traffic information

Toyota Tsusho Electronics (Thailand) has turned taxis into traffic information collectors to offer real time traffic information through the “TSquare Traffic and Taxi” application, which is available on both iPhone and Android smart phones.

About 10,000 taxis already have embedded the “TSquare” set-top box.

Toyota Tsusho Electronics (Thailand)’s general manager of Content and Electrics Vehicle Department Itti Rittaporn said that 10,000 vehicles now can cover 25,000 routes in Bangkok. It plans to embed 30,000 vehicles by next year, that is about half of the total taxis in Bangkok will become vehicles that collect real time information about traffic for people.

The other more than 20,000 vehicles and taxi owners have to invest on their own. GPS in a taxi will help add premium to the service. It benefits both passengers and taxi drivers and owners, said Itti.

“We started to install the set-top box GPS in 10,000 taxis from across five cooperatives by the end of last year until July this year. The company is subsidising 10,000 set-top boxes in the first pilot taxis because we want the raw data from the road from taxis to develop real time traffic information,” said Itti.

The set-top box, equipped with GPS and a mobile phone SIM, will collect information from each taxi – position, speed of vehicle, and direction of driving – every 3 to 5 seconds. The information, as raw data, will be calculated and turned into high-quality traffic information.

“Normally, raw data from the road is collected every 30 seconds but our system collects raw data every 3 to 5 second to help us to have real time information and helps develop high quality traffic information,” said Itti.

He added that raw data will be compressed by software and then sent back to the company’s server. It helps the system collect raw data with most frequency.

These 10,000 taxis, in Bangkok and nearby provinces, provide 50 to 60 million positions per day and that is the big data. It has been collecting information from taxis since early this year. Until now there are about 1,300 million records in the server, which can be utilised by software developers to further develop applications related to traffic information.

“To download the app, users have to pay Bt10 per week, Bt30 per month, and Bt240 per year. It is very cheap. We hope users will benefit from the high quality of real time traffic information we offer that can help them save time and money from being stuck in a traffic jam. For developers, if they use our traffic information to further develop apps or services, we will share revenue once they monetise that product and service,” said Itti.

TSquare Traffic and Taxi app is available for both iOS and Android and it is free of charge until the end of this year.

“Apart from providing the TSquare Traffic and Taxi app, the company also provides traffic information for Toyota Smart G-book and Longdo Traffic,” said Itti.

Suvarnabhumi Taxi Co-Op’s adviser Hudsadin Eamsherangkul said that 2,500 taxis of the co-op have been embedded TSquare set-top boxes. They are very beneficial. The taxi drivers are more safe as the co-op can track them real time and they will be always in front of their eyes.

He said they plan to install TSquare set-top boxes in the rest of the 1,000 taxis next year. The cost of a TSquare set-top box is about Bt4,000 each.

“Toyota Tsusho Electronics (Thailand) provides SIM card free of charge for all the 3,500 taxis for three years,” said Hudsadin.

Asina Pornwasin
The Nation December 4, 2012 12:00 am

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