Information Technology in easing Ho Chi Minh City’s Congestion

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IT for social benefits

In 20th century, the era of industrialization, many cities had faced urbanization, congestion, emigrant, pollution and other issues.

However, at the moment, it is no longer 20th century anymore. We are in 21th century when mobile IT via Internet has progressed rapidly.

To avoid the above catastrophe, what can IT do?

Rebuilding low-speed public transportation by using BRT

TransJakarta bus on the dedicated bus lane(share from Wikipedia)

BRT, Bus Rapid Transit, is the system of bus which have dedicated lanes. We can learn from TransJarkarta in Jakarta, Indonesia since there are similar with HCMC in climate and life’s style.

With a scale of 12 lines, total length is approximately 200km, specialized platforms and continuously operation, TransJakarta is the longest BRT system. When using it, you can have a feeling of using subway rather than bus. It also the same feeling whether using it in HCMC or Osaka since BRT and subway are similar.

There are a plan to establish BRT in Hanoi with the project name “Improving Public Transportation in Hanoi”. This project is aided by Japan’s ODA and World Bank. If this project has good performance in Hanoi, other plan will be achieved in HCMC.

Improving Public Transportation in Hanoi Project

BRT is public facility and IT does not play important road in it. However, the ticket will be smart card and it maybe be kept confidentially. I think IT can change our society in better way rather than settling small piece of problem.

Reconstructing Bus route bases on bus transfer:

At the moment, in HCMC, there are one-men buses and ticket-seller buses. We aim to set up a system in which there is only driver. For example, ticket price is 5000VND, if we transfer to other bus, total cost is 10000VND. As the result, the cost has doubled and we should establish longer route in order not to transfer. HCMC is also in the same circumstance, it must have more route to reduce traffic density and avoid congestion.

By integrating GPS and using BRT’s buses or stations, we can reconstruct the infrastructure of bus route.

Coordination of bus and bike by using smart card.

Bike is now an essential part in life in HCMC, so this habit can not be changed easily. Therefore, I really want to use it in efficient way. For instance, in Bangkok, bike and bus usually gather in city’s stations which is specialized for people who have luggage or do not want to walk in short distance. In HCMC, there are also a lot of taxis and motorcycle taxis but it not too attractive with passengers. This circumstance is as same as Bangkok before transport renovation.

In the first step, we must know about the pick-up and discharge information. As the bus discharges customers, bike must be ready. Then, we must know which is the shortest way to destination. In term of technique, smartphone is used. Nowaday, smartphone is rather popular and almost people have it. Hence, information about traffic jam and traffic situation can be easily provided via smartphone.

Using taxes from car for supporting students

According to Nikkei Shimpun, JICA has tested the IC Card in Hanoi from June. Initially, periodically IC Card was introduced to customers. With the support from Japan’s ODA and Vietnam Government, the aim is to issue 200 thousands IC Card.

On the other hand, in HCMC, students appropriated a large proportion among the bike’s users. For instance, driver license is not required for electrical bike or under 50cc bike, so even students can drive a bike by themselves. Can the new generation be changed into using public transportation?

With my experience, I think that the reason of using bike is that it shows personality and style of the user rather than its convenience. In different word, it become the culture. In order to change it, we must have an effect on the young people.

As mention above, the smart card is the Felica in Japan. I am very happy about it not only because I am Japanese but also it can be used as electronic money with high effective even out of the government offices. The felica is just like the student’s wallet. For example, depend on the traffic, we can set up “point back” mechanism and we can use it for specific purpose such as buying book or stationery.

As far as we talk about the policy, we should come back to the method to clear the street and as the result, the benefited one is drivers. The tax from car and gasoline will be the main capital of “point back” mechanism.

Social impact assessment- the experiment from small companies.

Many Japanese have the preconception that smartphone and mobile phone is more popular in Japan. With the developing countries like Vietnam, everything is just beginning. However, they misunderstood. The fact that these things have been disseminated for a long time in Vietnam. There are also many variants depend on the regime and culture (for example, people can buy SIM easily) but it not too different.

an employer using tablet at China town

an employer using tablet at China town

The concept of “before” or “after” is meaningless.

There are more companies use smartphone or tablet, 3G or wifi in Vietnam than Japan. When working for Vietnamese company,I think you should take advantage of IT to boost your working performance.

At present, IT has faced with many issues which had never occurred in the past and it make impact on society. Any coin has two side, for instance, building dams by using ODA can destroy environment and encumber small companies and other social impacts.

I think that IT still does not think about it. However, in lieu of thinking how to speed up or how to improve IT’s products, IT also can not ignore social issues. The early has ended, IT must be changing constantly for the sake of society.

So, what should it do?

I really want to do small experiment.

The first step is that we should think about the idea, the size and the restorability of product. Then, from the assessment, we change it to meet the social requirements. it can be done in dams or industrial zones.

At present, it is a new thinking way and it become more and more popular in IT industry.


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