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GoAscendal and Optibus are combining combines public transport expertise and data collection technology with AI transportation planning products, enabling an integrated offer to plan and optimise services.
Optibus, a Tel Aviv-based mobility start-up, has joined forces with global mobility advisory company, GoAscendal, to develop tech-driven transport networks in emerging markets.
The GoAscendal-Optibus partnership combines public transport expertise and data collection technology with artificial intelligence (AI) transportation planning products, enabling an integrated offer to plan and optimise services.
The partnership expands Optibus’ cloud-native AI mass transit platform to GoAscendal transport consulting projects worldwide, focusing on quickly urbanising regions including sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and India.
It is forecast that more than four fifths (83 per cent) of the world’s 1.56 billion new urban residents by 2040 will live in these regions, where transport authorities and operators often lack critical technology or expertise to plan and operate public transport, according to the partners.
“By bringing the best AI and planning products into more informal economies, and complementing them with world-class planning expertise, we can support efficient mobility systems from the beginning of their development,” said Justin Coetzee, CEO of GoAscendal.
“We are excited to partner with Optibus to make technology accessible to public and private operators, helping cities leapfrog into the future.”
Backed by Optibus’ platform, GoAscendal said its clients will be able harness the potential of their own data to solve local challenges, such as transportation funding or service efficiency, and develop greener, more equitable transportation systems.
The partnership launches in South Africa, where scheduling processes for the country’s 19,000 formal buses have not kept pace with technological advancements, and where 200,000 unregulated, individually operated minibus taxis account for about 70 per cent of daily transport trips, yet lack a central organising body.
GoAscendal first used the Optibus platform to enhance operations of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Jammie shuttle, which runs across five campuses, 18 hours a day.
“By bringing the best AI and planning products into more informal economies, and complementing them with world-class planning expertise, we can support efficient mobility systems from the beginning of their development”
Using Optibus’ planning and scheduling module, the UCT Jammie operations team was able to replan and restructure operations almost in real-time, responding to rapidly changing travel habits as a result of changing opening plans and occupancy plans during the pandemic.
“Optibus’ partnership with GoAscendal is an exciting opportunity to bring technology to historically underserved regions, and to enable sustainable development and freedom of movement in rapidly urbanising areas,” added Amos Haggiag, CEO and co-founder of Optibus.
The partnership builds on GoAscendal’s consulting experience on mobility projects in 33 countries and throughout emerging markets, including India’s largest clean bus deployment, big data collection and observation in Buenos Aires, and bus management in Chile and Mexico.
The project marks Optibus’ entry into the African transport market, raising its transit platform usage to 23 countries on six continents.