Study analyzes ways of modernizing public transport in São José dos Campos
Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Center of Politics and Economics of the Public Sector (FGV Cepesp) has formed a partnership with the municipal government of São José dos Campos to develop an innovative urban public transport system in the municipality in early 2019. The main innovations proposed include separating public transportation operational procurement from the technology necessary to manage services. At the moment, the bus concession model in Brazilian cities is characterized by a single bidding procedure, in which the winning bidder is responsible for both bus operations and the technology behind service management.
Another significant change in the new system will be the inclusion of a “bus on demand” service, which will use big data and machine learning tools to offer a customized and flexible service that meets users’ needs in some regions of the city. Some Brazilian cities have already implemented this service in central areas, but the innovation in São José dos Campos’ case is that buses on demand will serve outlying parts of the city as well.
In the specific case of São José dos Campos, the proposal is to build a new governance system that separates the provision of technology from services. Through the use of data shared by the city, the goal is to create a system that will provide flexible routes, frequencies and stops that allow the public transport network to adapt to the demands of passengers and offer more personalized and flexible services according to users’ needs.
The next step in the project will be migration to the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) integrated model, which will compile all transport modes on a single platform from an operational and fare perspective. Any operator in the São José dos Campos transportation area will directly or indirectly be able to join the platform, including transport network companies, taxis, street parking operators, mapping and route applications, and shared bikes and scooters.
Joining the platform will not be mandatory, but the idea is to provide incentives for participation that will allow the system to move all citizens around the city. Although this idea is already on the agenda of several cities, so far none of them has been able to implement such a flexible model.
FGV Cepesp’s researchers will use a combination of field experiments and machine learning to come up with discounted fare options from a social perspective, rewarding active transport and making motorists compensate society for their costs. The objective is to encourage sharing across transport modes, thereby ensuring equal and sustainable mobility in São José dos Campos in the medium term.