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Some nice articles on innovation in transport

Following are a couple of articles on innovation as applied to transport. Uber is often seen merely as a transport option much like the taxi but there’s more than meets the eye in terms of its operations never mind its surge pricing schemes. It has succeeded in much part because it is an innovative company with innovative people. They were not afraid to take on the challenges against what the establishment had regarded as an upstart in a sector that was seen as having fewer opportunities for thinking out of the box.

Today is my first day at Uber [by Chris Messina in Medium, January 5, 2016]

Today is my last day at Uber [by Chris Messina in Medium, January 7, 2017]


Challenges for Uber, and ridesharing in general

Uber was in a crises of sorts after several leading to its controversial head stepping down a few days ago. Several articles came out including one from Wired that provided some details to some of the significant stumbling blocks or obstacles Uber had to go through the past years (even recent months). There’s an even better article by one of Uber’s co-founders, which I found and regard as “even better” because it appears to be a self assessment, a reflection of how the company should move forward.

Following are the two articles, one from Wired and another from Uber (via Medium):

These are important to us who are doing studies on ridesharing/ridesourcing. I believe Uber and its kind including Grab has revolutionized transport and contributed in significantly improving mobility among a lot of people who have been marginalized by what we have termed as conventional transport. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities, for example, who have had difficulties getting rides can (if they can afford it) get Uber or Grab vehicles to take them where they need to be. There are indeed issues but as the article by Camp states, these can be resolved or addressed to improve the services provided by ridesharing/ridesourcing companies.

ITS Forum 2017 at DLSU

We are holding a forum on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) today at the De La Salle University (DLSU) along Taft Avenue, Manila. Following is the banner and the program as of February 16:

its-forum-2017-bannerfinal_program_its_asof_feb16In the workshops scheduled in the afternoon, the plan is to review the DOST roadmap and the ITS Master Plan. The DOST roadmap is basically on the research and development agenda of the agency. In the past, this has been associated mainly with the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) program of which several major universities are a part of including UP Diliman, DLSU, Ateneo and Mapua Institute of Technology. Eventually, ITS became the theme for other R&D including those that were packaged as ITS but not necessarily falls under the category (i.e., projects like the AGT, hybrid bus and bike share are more sustainable transport than ITS).

The ITS Master Plan is actually something developed under a project implemented through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) more than 6 years ago and originally only for Metro Manila. This plan is being eyed as the foundation for a bigger one that hopefully would apply to the rest of the country.

Grab vs Uber: the ridesharing services battle for supremacy?

I have made it a custom to share articles here on my blog. One reason for me to do this is so I have an archive of sorts for articles that caught my attention that I have either read or not that I want to get back to. Here is another article on ridesharing, this time from a popular magazine:

Grab vs Uber: Who’s getting the riders and making money?

This is relevant material for ongoing studies we are doing about ridesharing. I am also writing a couple of papers on this topic that we intend to present and publish next year.

NAIA airport buses

Among the things I liked when traveling to countries like the US, Japan, Singapore and Thailand is that I have many options to travel between their airports and the city. In Narita, for example, I had the option to take a bus (Airport Limousine Bus, etc.) or train (JR Narita Express, JR Yokosuka-Sobu Line Airport Narita, Keisei Skyliner, etc.) to and from the airport to Tokyo, Yokohama or Saitama where I’ve stayed before. Now, I am glad that there already an airport express bus serving the international airport in Manila.

UBE Express is a recently introduced airport bus service for people traveling to and from the passenger terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Here are a couple of images describing the service that was shared by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) FB page:



Their Facebook page states that they still charge a promotional fare of 150 Pesos (about 3 US Dollars) for a trip for this Christmas season. More information are available from their FB page and interested people can send them a message using this medium. It seems they reply immediately to comments and queries so that’s good for those who have questions about the service. Here are a couple more images from their FB page:



Skylab – motorcycle taxi

We are currently doing research on motorcycles and a major part of the research is on motorcycle taxis. Motorcycle taxis are popular in many areas in the Philippines despite national and local government agencies have not sanctioned or legalized their operations. There are two popular versions of the motorcycle taxis – the habal-habal and the Skylab. Both are basically motorcycles with some add-ons to increase passenger capacity or to be able to carry more goods or cargo.

The habal-habal is carries all passengers or cargo on the motorcycle with some variants having a plank for extension to the back or a customized seat over the gas tank that is usually for children. The Skylab owes its name from the US satellite that fell to the earth in the 1970s. The shape of the satellite inspired innovative extensions along each side of the motorcycle. This enabled riders to take in triple the number of passengers they could with the habal-habal set-up.  Both have variants with roofs.

The following video shows a Skylab in Surigao Del Sur care of a very good friend, Dr. Alex Ladaga of Surigao Del Sur State University, whom we are collaborating with in this research:

More on these motorcycle taxis soon!

TSSP 2016 Conference: Tentative Program

I am sharing below the tentative program for the 23rd Annual Conference of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP):

TSSP 2016 Tentative Program

Soon, I will post on the list of papers to be presented for the Technical Sessions to be held in the afternoon part of the one-day conference.