Driving the Bernia Express, Sept 2004

Andrew Nash
Vienna Transport Strategies
Vienna, Austria

Where's the steering wheel?

Bus Meister

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Improving public transport using social networking and information technology.

Bus Meister uses an on-line game, social networking and a wiki to teach people how to improve public transport. By involving people in the improvement process we hope to stimulate creative thinking and generate the political support needed to implement good ideas.

The Bus Meister on line game demonstrates how public transport priority measures can improve bus and tram service. The game's foundation is a crowd sourced database documenting best practices in public transport operations. Finally, Bus Meister's social networking features provide a forum for discussion and help generate political support for public transport improvements.

Bus Meister focuses on public transport priority. Public transport priority measures are improvements designed to make public transport more attractive by speeding-up buses and trams. In contrast to large infrastructure projects like new metros or subways, they are generally inexpensive and can be implemented quickly.

Bus Meister's approach, providing an integrated set of internet applications designed to encourage active participation by urban residents in planning and supporting public transport, could also be extended to other urban infrastructure. The Bus Meister model, a combination of using a game to teach residents about a complex subject, providing detailed information in a best practices wiki, and using social networking to encourage implementation of the best ideas would be an excellent method for engaging residents in the process of improving cities.

In October 2010, the City of Vienna awarded Bus Meister 3rd Prize in its Die Stadt 2020 Research Program. Vienna is providing funding assistance for initial project development through ZIT The Technology Agency of the City of Vienna. The project team: Andrew Nash, Platogo and Snizek + Partner Verkehrsplannungs GmbH will introduce a beta version of the game in early 2011.

More about Bus Meister.