LTA counting on young people for ideas on Smart Bus

To enhance bus commutes, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) launched USB charging ports on new buses in September last year, and is currently piloting new concepts, such as information display panels and a third bus door.

The authority is now on the lookout for ideas on how technology can be further incorporated into public buses in the future - from on-board Wi-Fi to touchscreen displays to cardless fare gates.

And it is counting on young people to give proposals on such a Smart Bus, in the second edition of its LTA Engineering Challenge, a contest launched today to garner ideas on the future of land transport.

The earlier challenge, launched in 2015, saw participants coming up with solutions on future mobility.

One of the winning ideas was a sharing programme for electric scooters by a start-up called Telepod, which subsequently attracted funding from investors. Telepod now has 150 e-scooters, with 35 dockless stations across Singapore.

LTA's chief innovation and technology officer Lam Wee Shann said: "Encouraged by the responses received in 2015, we have launched a second edition of the challenge and look forward to working with the younger generation to develop new and innovative ideas for the buses of tomorrow."

Mr Lam added: "We want to inspire our youth to imagine and aspire to be part of creating the transport system of tomorrow."

The Smart Bus Challenge is open to students of post-secondary institutions, such as universities, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education and junior colleges.

Participants will team up in groups of two to 10, and submit proposals based on two focus areas: commuter experience and interactivity, along with safety.

Teams stand to win up to $5,000 in cash, and may have the opportunity to work with industry partners to implement their concepts in a real bus, said the LTA.

This bus is expected to be showcased at the Singapore edition of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in 2019 - a platform for governments, companies and research institutions to share the latest products, services and trends.

Mr Louis Goh, Telepod's chief operating officer, said taking part in the first engineering challenge helped gather feedback and support from the authority and the public. This helped the company improve on its prototype and turn it into a real product, he said. His team was also awarded $3,000.

Adrian Lim

• The closing date for submissions for LTA's second engineering challenge is April 30 next year. Participants can visit www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltaweb/en/industry-matters/Smart-Bus-Challenge.html

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2017, with the headline 'LTA counting on young people for ideas on Smart Bus'. Print Edition | Subscribe