What we really wish real-time passenger information did

28 Sep 2015

The real-time passenger information (RTPI) concept is one that is fundamental to the development of smart cities by having digital signs, or mobile apps, which can tell us exactly when the next bus, tram or train is due through data analytics and sensors.

Since its introduction, no longer do you have to get your head around confusing timetables that require more math knowledge than you would have used since you left school.

But where does it go from here? How do we make it more accurate and less likely to go down, which seems to be a recurring issue for some nameless public transportation services?

Well, looking at one possibility (that will never happen) the ever-entertaining guys over at XKCD suggest a new RTPI format that has a rather interesting paranormal slant: ghost planners.

Rather than a service calculating what would be the shortest and quickest route for us to take by harvesting traffic data as well as geographic data, their idea proposes sending a ghost of yourself to see how you’d actually manage on that route.

While a good idea, the XKCD team look at the grim dystopian possibilities of how creating a ghost can have some dire consequences on your life.

XKCD cartoon

Cartoon via XKCD

Woman waiting for a bus image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic