GPS experts take their systems to Philippines

AutoAlert Ltd, headed by director Richard Harris has won a contract with the Phillipines government
AutoAlert Ltd, headed by director Richard Harris has won a contract with the Phillipines government

A CRANFIELD business has won its share of a consortium contract with the government of the Philippines.

GPS vehicle tracking systems specialist AutoAlert Ltd put forward a tender to develop a system to improve taxi (jeepney) scheduling and monitoring in the Island of Cebu,

The company, based at the Cubic centre, at Cranfield University, has been given the go-ahead by the World Bank and Philippine government.

The contract is valued at about $150,000, split between the three companies in the consortium. There are also three follow up projects.

AutoAlert, director Richard Harris, said: “AutoAlert will be working on the mobile phone side of operations, collecting location data from jeepney drivers.”

AutoAlert specialises in developing systems which help business improve performance using modern location-based technology.

The project objective is to establish a proof-of-concept for the use of emerging ICT applications, such as crowd-sourcing, open-mapping, alternative uses for mobile phones.

This can be used to collect traffic and transit data, plan and manage local transport services for taxi and public transit companies.

It can also provide a platform for public participation in the transport system and network development.

The Philippines has 89 million people and is the fastest urbanizing country in East Asia, which has significant implications for transport planning and management, economic, safety and environmental factors. The quality of the roads is also poor resulting in higher transport costs, accident rates and fuel inefficiency.

Mr Harris added: “The information technology tools needed to ensure accurate, consistently updated data for road asset and transport system management are simply not there at present.

“This lack of objective data means city planners cannot implement efficient data-driven policy and investment planning.”

Jeepneys provide an essential service and are the backbone of the public transport network in the Philippines, often comprising more than half of the traffic. Their behaviour significantly impacts the capacity and safety of roads.