Improving Transit Efficiency The German Way

Traffic is a nightmare in Cali, Colombia, the Latin American country's third-largest city. But a massive redesign is taking place, with German transit efficiency guiding the way.
January 30, 2009, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"Cali has around 2.5 million inhabitants, making it Colombia's third biggest city. And it is a city on the verge of transportation collapse. The city's traffic resembles barely controlled chaos and the mass transit system just makes things worse. The buses stop abruptly any time passengers on the side of the road stick out their arms. The vehicles, most of which have seen better days, often break down and are then repaired in the middle of the street, infuriating other drivers. The air is usually thick with exhaust."

"Now an ambitious new project aims to wake the city up from its traffic nightmare. And German engineers like Ernst Denert are playing a crucial role in the effort. Denert, along with his software firm IVU Traffic Technologies, is completely rebuilding Cali's public transport system. The Berlin-based company has taken on the task of setting up a punctual transport system in one of the most chaotic cities in Latin America."

"Germany, of course, is famous for its punctuality, with buses and trains -- at least in the popular imagination -- arriving exactly when they are supposed to. Once completed, the IVU system hopes to do the same for Cali's fleet of a thousand buses. The IVU software in the control center and on the buses will allow for smooth communication between the control centers, the buses and their drivers."

"One new detail at the bus stops could well cause a minor sensation: Bus departure times are to be on display. Passengers will also be able to check out information about routes and connections on the Internet."

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Published on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 in Der Spiegel
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