Fujitsu launches field trial of congestion-mitigation project


10 November 2015
Fujitsu launches field trial of congestion-mitigation project

Fujitsu Laboratories, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, has commenced a field trial that aims to reduce congestion around major events, stadiums, and shopping centres.

The Singapore field trial, which started on 1 November, uses a smartphone application that based on the expected congestion when people return home from major events, proposes behaviour or how to spend time best suited to the user, and then verifies the results.

According to Fujitsu, these suggestions for behaviour are generated by Zinrai, Fujitsu's human-centric AI (artificial intelligence) technology.

The company said this technology utilises the machine-learning and prediction/optimisation capabilities of Zinrai which works to fine-tune the details of suggestions with the goal of mitigating congestion, by shifting times of peak traffic and modes of transportation.

Fujitsu Laboratories is testing whether it is possible to encourage people to modify their preferred departure time or mode of transit by offering discount fares or incentives to visit neighbouring shops and restaurants.

According to Fujitsu, the behavioral-guidance model that it has developed, calculates people's receptivity to behaviour-modifying suggestions that include incentives, based on satisfaction levels and behavioural-guidance factors.

Satisfaction level, the company said, is calculated based on the level of congestion that a person can tolerate when using transit; how much a person can delay (or advance) departure in order to avoid congestion; and how much a person is willing to pay.

Because a person's level of satisfaction upon receiving an incentive is likely to vary according to their mood, the participant's actual behaviour, such as whether the offered coupon was used or not, needs to be monitored following a suggestion, the company said.   

As a preliminary test of high-receptivity behaviours, Fujitsu Laboratories recent survey of 500 people at sporting events in a Singapore sports complex revealed that if accurately notified of congestion forecasts, 51 per cent of people would rather spend more time at a shopping centre than return home immediately. A further 73 per cent say they will choose to stay at a shopping centre if given a coupon worth S$5, and 91 per cent will choose to stay at a shopping centre if given a coupon worth S$10. 

Based on the survey results, the company ran a simulation, using approximations of actual facilities and nearby transportation. A notable finding of the analysis is that assuming 10,000 people use a facility, of which roughly 40 per cent would modify their behaviour when offered a coupon, congestion would be reduced by 30 per cent, and that 40 per cent of the people would be guided to a shopping centre. 

Fujitsu Laboratories plans to continue with field trials through 31 December 2017 at a number of facilities in Singapore, in order to test the effectiveness and raise the performance of this system.

The company also added that it will continue to advance the R&D of this technology, using the test results and changing the technology in response to obtained results, and aims to have a commercial implementation by March 2016.