In Teresina, a town in Brazil at the forefront of new technologies, SYSTRA will take its first steps in the blockchain field. Our French and Brazilian colleagues involved in this ambitious project explain what it’s all about.
"This is the first time that the French Development Agency (AFD), which is financing the project, has promoted a technological innovation proposal like blockchain, says Hubert Metgé, SYSTRA's Digital Transport Planning officer. The idea is to use this method to secure, with maximum transparency, the collection of the Teresina bus network's tariff revenues."
This Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network was restructured in 2018, creating a lot of frustration among drivers as well as passengers. In fact, the modification of the routes created significant offload need at terminals.
In the context of the programme Euroclima+ to optimise the operation, SEMPLAN, the municipal authority, decided to set up a mobility observatory (Observatório da Mobilidade) responsible for improving the passenger experience and collecting subscriptions efficiently.
Teresina, fertile ground for new technologies
The Teresina network is already one of the most advanced in the world for new technologies and uses, for example, a facial recognition ticketing system. More broadly, the whole region lives at a digital pace: "For 13 months, SYSTRA's teams in Paris and Brazil will work with Fortaleza University an entity of which works in open innovation," adds Sabina Kauark, projet manager.
"We are going to organise design thinking workshops in order to understand the expectations of all the actors," comments Mariana Moura, SYSTRA Brazil project manager, in charge of coordination in Teresina.
Paulo Eutsáquio Torres de Carvalho confirms: "By meeting and interviewing everyone we can come up with the best solutions. We will prepare a future digital application that centralises itineraries and subscriptions and propose two or three concepts which could be developed with blockchain, but nothing is fixed yet. I thank Louis-Marie Borione for carrying out a thorough review of blockchain's use in the world of transport."
When transport expertise and innovation move forward together
"Other aspects apart from innovation will have to be taken into consideration," adds Guillaume Gach, Blockchain/Open innovation project director. "We must improve interconnections, carry out tactical urban planning and envisage infrastructures that can withstand heatwaves, all while guaranteeing the safety of women who use the network. Blockchain will perhaps be only part of the answer to all these issues, among other more 'transport' type solutions."
"We would not have won this project without our transport expertise," states Hubert. "Our knowledge of local regulations and our presence in the country counted as much as the range of Qeto's know-how, the Group's software development studio. To sum up, this project is a great example of international, multi-sectoral and multi-talented teamwork!" he concludes.
Blockchain? What on earth is that?
Blockchain is a technology designed to store and transmit information in a secure way thanks to cryptography. Each piece of information sent to the database is grouped at regular intervals in blocks, thus forming a chain of blocks. This chain is therefore a distributed database protected against falsifications thanks to storage nodes, as it is secured from departure to recording of the piece of data.