GREEN ‘TRAVEL SMART’ INITIATIVES AIM AT REDUCING TRAFFIC AND PARKING PROBLEMS
A group of talented University of Malta ICT students have come up with an excellent way of reducing the traffic on our roads through a project that can facilitate car pooling. OUTLOOK takes a closer look.
The traffic congestion and parking problems that have plagued the University for a number of years are no secret, but a group of ICT students have put their thinking caps on and have come up with an innovative way to solve the problem.
Through the project entitled ‘PoolMe – The Green Sustainable Carpooling System’, the group has developed a tailor-made system that would facilitate car pooling to and from the University. Although the idea has already been developed beyond Maltese shores, no such system has as yet been implemented locally.
The technology-savvy students identified this shortcoming and addressed it, basing the rationale of their project on the assumption that if they could fit at least one more person, who drives a car, into another shared car trip, then the traffic congestion on Maltese roads would be reduced significantly.
The system has three entry points – a website, a mobile interface and a tablet PC interface. While the driver of the car can make use of the mobile tablet, potential passengers can make use of the PC tablet which would be situated at strategic points around the islands.
The mobile interface would track the location of the driver and broadcast it through the system, enabling potential passengers to select their required destination. Drivers and passengers alike can use the website to plan trips beforehand, instead of relying on ad hoc pooling routes.
In the meanwhile, the University, through a green travel initiative entitled ‘Travel Smart’, has itself also taken steps to address the traffic problem and the lack of parking available within its grounds. Through this initiative, the University is aiming at developing a more efficient way for students and staff to travel to and from University, whilst also reducing their reliance on privately owned cars.
As such, a ‘green travel plan committee’ has been established, which has been entrusted with the task of developing and implementing an information campaign to promote the use of public transport. The medium and long-term objectives of the initiative include investigating the potential of a dedicated University car pooling service and improving the parking scheme.
The University is currently collecting information on travel patterns – more information can be found on www.mepa.edu.mt/isd/greentravel.