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Database improves taxi management
China Daily
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Database improves taxi management

Beijing has established a "vehicle warning database" that identifies dubious behavior — including taxi drivers who take passengers on unnecessarily longer routes or those who drive while fatigued — and collects data that can be used for smarter traffic management.

According to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport and the Beijing Smart Transportation Development Center on 20th of March, the system also facilitates data sharing with relevant departments for better coordinated management of the city's public transportation sector.

Beijing's taxi industry has integrated access to over 300 data resources, including basic information on taxi cruising, ride-hailing, vehicle positioning and operational data.

Through the development of a "smart brain" for the taxi industry, intelligent scheduling and monitoring have been realized over the past few years as Beijing has been leveraging technology to drive reform and development within the taxi service sector, according to the center.

"Through big data analysis and algorithms, the system can proactively identify behavior such as unauthorized driving, taking longer routes, bargaining and driving while fatigued," said Zhong Yuan, director of the engineering management department of the center. "Based on that information, a vehicle database could be formed."

The supervisory aspects of the system include the monitoring of prices, vehicles operating in key areas and driver operational safety.

Such a system is expected to bring benefits to the public in terms of transportation and travel, including during rush hour and peak seasons.

During peak travel periods, especially at night when public transportation is not operational, train stations and airports rely heavily on taxis to transport passengers. Traditionally, the dispatching of cruising taxis relied on drivers observing long queues of passengers or receiving notifications from railway and civil aviation departments about impending high passenger volumes.

This led to a gradual process of contacting management departments, taxi companies and fleets for vehicle dispatching.

"In past years, when I arrived at Beijing railway stations at night, especially Beijing West Railway Station, I would spend more than one hour waiting in a queue for a taxi," said Lu Lu, a female resident of the capital in her 30s. "Now, I can use online ride-hailing apps, but usually it still takes a lot longer to find one when it's peak time."

She said in recent months, though, the situation has improved and it has been easier to get a cab.

In order to improve dispatching efficiency, the city's transportation department piloted a program at Fengtai Railway Station last year, utilizing big data to analyze the changing trends of passenger arrivals, calculating the proportional distribution of different transportation modes during various time periods.

Meanwhile, they have constructed models to predict passenger arrivals and taxi shortages.

Simultaneously, data channels for dispatching were integrated with cruising taxi terminals and ride-hailing platforms.

This year, the city's transportation authority plans to further promote this model.

China DailyShen Yi

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