Bus-stop display wins students prize

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:15pm


Waiting at the bus stop but failing to flag one down because they are all full - and fretting over wasting time - is enough to drive anyone mad.

To give commuters an easier time, three Chinese University engineering students have developed a bus-information system that will help people anticipate bus arrivals and show if there is space available.

The innovation beat entries from Macau, Hong Kong and the mainland to win second prize in the Dandelion Cross-Strait Business Plan Contest held last month at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou city. 'The advantage of our system is that we can help people manage their time better,' team member Chow Tsz-fung, 20, said yesterday.

They designed a prototype of the system, which shows information on screens meant to be installed at bus stops. They include the current position of a bus, the amount of time before it reaches the stop, and the number of passengers on board.

Still at its simulation stages, the team's design combines announcement displays and mileage trackers already used by buses, along with an infrared head-counting device.

A data transmitter would then crunch all the numbers and deliver the data to people waiting at the next bus stop.

'They can decide more quickly whether to wait for the next bus or to switch to another mode of transportation,' Chow said.

He also said that existing GPS set-ups were unreliable, as satellite signals are often deflected by the city's glass-paned skyscrapers and are blocked in tunnels.

The team views their recent award as a stepping stone in bringing their project to reality. They hope to enact the system across all 740 lines of the city's bus network.

The team hopes to secure government sponsorships for their estimated HK$2 million project.