Traffic jam in Bangkok is a nightmare. Moreover, hailing a taxi in the hot and humid weather of this popular Asian tourist destination is an unpleasant experience. But this will be a thing of the past when taxis go high tech in the country. Research by members of the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thon Buri combines the three technologies of base-map software, GPS and Geographic Information System (GIS). and GSM or CDMA mobile networks to enable customers to get the nearest available taxis faster and more conveniently.

How does the system work? Taxis will be installed with a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver and a terminal equipped with a GSM or CDMA Sim. This will enable taxi cooperatives to know the exact location of each cab and its availability to take passengers. In the HQ, staff monitor the taxis using a base-map software as well as the existing radio system. Passengers requiring a taxi can either call from a taxi kiosk at convenient public places or send an SMS and receive an immediate answer from a taxi-calling number. Once the various systems can be coordinated, other information such as weather, vehicle speed and traffic flow could be included to analyze and transmit vital information to the drivers and passengers. Besides increasing the efficiency of the taxi service, this new system could also enhance security as all taxis could be tracked in real time and emergencies could be handled with better control and immediacy. In the long term, this could be extended to buses and private vehicles and may greatly improve traffic conditions in the city, as well as reduce pollution.

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